5 chiropractic interview questions: What every DC needs to ask during their next job interview

Job interviews are an odd interaction that can be extremely stressful. You have two people coming together trying to quickly decide through a series of chiropractic interview questions if they should work together, spending five days a week with each other, after only a couple of brief meetings.

When you introduce another unique variable, the quirky nature of practicing chiropractic, you step into a hiring environment unlike any other industry. Interviews are a bit like trying to decide on marriage after a few rounds of speed dating. Perhaps this is not the best approach to deciding on a long-term relationship ¾ but it’s the way the world works today.

Chiropractic interview questions

So, the question then becomes, what are the five best questions you can ask during the interview process to help you assess if this practice is the best fit for you and your goals?

Traditionally the power in chiropractic has favored the clinic owner. After all, they have the job opening and money available to hire someone.

However, this dynamic has dramatically shifted since 2020.

Today in chiropractic, in our practice, we are averaging one available associate chiropractor for every four job openings. That means an associate doc typically has several jobs to choose from. This competition means that a clinic owner is now being evaluated with chiropractic interview questions in a much deeper way by candidates who have quite a few fantastic options available to them.

Evaluating a clinic owner on the health of their business, the training program they have in place, their operating systems, job expectations, benefits they offer, and of course salary, will tell you as an applicant how well-run this business is.

Do not hesitate to respectfully interview the owner about all of these specific details regarding their business operations. It is reasonable and expected for a clinic owner to be open to discussing with you what their office’s monthly collections average is and how much their overhead is (the cost of running the business each month.) Making sure that profit each month is solid will help you assess if you are joining a profitable practice with momentum.

You should never hesitate to dive deep into their business operations during the process with your own chiropractic interview questions.

No. 2 — How long have you been looking for an associate doctor?

This is a lot like selling a house. When a home is for sale in a hot market, and you have several people making offers in a short amount of time for the house being sold, then the homeowner has the luxury of choosing from several options.

However, if a home has been on the market for six months and no one has made an offer, and the potential home buyer knows this, it can provide some insight the potential buyer can use to their advantage. Knowing if a clinic owner has been looking for an associate for a couple of weeks versus several months gives you immediate insight into your negotiating power.

The best way to approach the topic of negotiating a salary is to simply ask, “Is this salary negotiable?” After understanding how long they have been conducting their job search, asking this question will give you immediate inside information on your negotiating power.

No. 3 — How did you determine the salary you are offering?

Since the pandemic, we are seeing a dramatic jump in associate salaries because there are so few associates available in today’s market.

Due to the lack of supply in available associate doctors, an owner today simply has to pay more to attract a talented associate doctor because of all the clinic options available for doctors today.

Asking “why is the salary this amount?” will give you instant insight into the owner’s mindset and what their expectations are. A great rule of thumb for you to use is that an associate chiropractor should reasonably expect to take home a salary between 20-30% of the income that their work helps generate for the business they are working in.

Therefore, understand how much the office will charge for the services you will be providing to patients, along with the weekly volume of patients you will be taking care of. This will help you to do some investigative math to see if the office’s revenue numbers add up and if they are paying you fairly for the services you will provide.

Please remember that there are many other overhead expenses to keep a business open besides just your salary. A salary that is 20% of the income you generate for the practice may initially sound a little low, but keep in mind that there are many other expenses involved. These include rent, paying the other staff members, advertising, equipment leases and business loans, just to name a few of the most significant expenses. And, any successful business needs to generate a healthy profit, or else there’s no incentive for the owner to continue operating.

No. 4 — What are your long-term plans for your practice?

There are many reasons that a clinic may need to hire an associate doctor. The more clearly you can understand why the business is hiring and what is expected of you in the role, the easier it is for you to assess if this opportunity matches your long-term personal goals.

“Why are you hiring now?” This is an insightful question for you to seek the answer to during the interview process. Is the doctor planning on expanding in the future? Do they want more time off, so they hire someone to help them out? Are they planning on retiring or selling the practice? If so, when?

This knowledge can help you determine which job opportunity matches your own long-term goals.

No. 5 — How long has each of your current employees been working with you?

This question reveals a lot. Generally speaking, if people are happy with their job and are compensated fairly, they tend to stay in a position for a long time.

If you find the employee turnover in a clinic happens frequently, and the average length of time that each employee has been with the company is months, not years, this may give you some insight into potential managerial problems brewing.

As with anything, there can be many different circumstances. Therefore, be sure to ask direct, exploring questions if you find that many of the employees in the office are newer and have not been there very long. Do not hesitate to find out why.

We find many chiropractic associate candidates are hesitant to ask these kinds of deep exploratory questions in their interviews. This should help give you the confidence and insight to dig deeper into the jobs you are considering.

Be fully engaged with your own chiropractic interview questions

One final bonus from asking these five chiropractic interview questions is that nothing wows an owner more than a fully engaged applicant. It is impressive when someone cares enough to have researched the business and is interested in helping the business grow and succeed. Nobody wants to hire someone simply interested in collecting a paycheck.

These questions will help communicate your level of interest and understanding of the chiropractic business and set you far ahead of the rest of the pack.

ALLEN MINER, DC, is a 2003 Parker College of Chiropractic graduate who has been practicing in Albuquerque, N.M., since 2003. In 2016 he co-founded Chiro Matchmakers, which has placed thousands of DCs around the world. He is the co-author of “The Chiropractic Code,” published in 2014. For more information, go to chiromatchmakers.com.

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