Dr. Sharp: Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist group practice owner, and private practice coach.
Today, we are talking all about where to find your next testing psychologist, or maybe your first testing psychologist.
So, this episode is for those of you who have maybe had a psychometrist, maybe just want to take the leap into hiring a licensed psychologist, but we’re really going to focus on psychologists, in particular.
I did an episode a few weeks ago on where to find your next psychometrist. And there is some overlap here in these episodes, but I think there are some ins and outs, some nuances that are specific to hiring a psychologist that I’ll dive into a little bit more deeply here during the episode that it really sets itself apart from just finding a psychometrist.
Before we get to the episode, those of you who’ve been listening over the past few weeks know that the advanced practice mastermind group is starting soon, 2 to 3 weeks out. We have four of 6 spots filled. I still have not pushed this out to my email list or the Facebook group, the podcast only at this point.
So, if you are interested in joining a mastermind group that has accountability, and something that will help keep you on track and keep you accountable for implementing those dreams or strategies that you’ve wanted to do, but haven’t been able to do in your practice, this is a great place for you. So, there’ll be 6 psychologists, myself as a facilitator, and we’re just talking all about those issues that advanced practice owners feel. So, it’s a lot about delegation, time management, hiring, getting your finances really dialed in, and just leveling up your practice.
If that sounds interesting to you, feel free to check out more information at thetestingpsychologist.com/advanced. There will be a link in the show notes and you can book a pre-group call to see if it’s a good fit. We’d love to have you.
All right, let’s jump to the episode on where to find your next testing psychologist.
Okay, y’all, let’s dive into this whole concept of finding and hiring another testing psychologist in your testing practice.
Like I mentioned in the introduction, there are some similarities around or with hiring a psychometrist, but bringing on another psychologist has several layers I think that are quite different that we need to consider. The most obvious being that even if you have a W2 psychologist, which would allow you quite a bit “control” over what that person is doing, this is not a supervisory situation. So you don’t have that extra layer of control that you would have over a psychometrist, both logistically and emotionally.
A lot of us, when we bring on another psychologist, I think are a lot more hesitant to tell that individual exactly what to do and mold their clinical practice and behavior which is very rightful. What am I trying to say, y’all? Rightfully so we don’t control their behavior because the whole point of bringing on another psychologist is to let go of some of that responsibility and be able to trust someone to work independently and do their job well.
Let’s dive into it. A few things that I’m going to talk about today are just how do you know when it’s time to hire another psychologist. How to decide between a psychologist or a psychometrist. Where do you find that person?
Do you choose W2 or Independent Contractor? And then two things just with interviewing and actually hiring another psychologist.
So, let’s start from the beginning. How do you know when it’s time? Well, if you are beyond that initial stage of practice when you are trying to answer the question, how do I get referrals and you have made the switch to what do I do with all these referrals, that is a good soft sign that you are ready to hire another psychologist.
The other component of that is deciding whether you want a psychometrist or a psychologist. A psychometrist would help you solve that problem of dealing with referrals. As we talked about in the psychometrist episode, a psychometrist will free up some time for you and allow you to see more folks, or just take more time off in your practice, which is great. For me, the tipping point on bringing on another psychologist is that you, like I said, we really want to handoff some of the major clinical responsibilities in your practice and not just supervise someone doing testing, but truly handoff the testing and have a fully licensed person operating on their own, bringing in and seeing their own referrals so that you can do the same.
So, for me, that distinguishing factor is really the level of involvement. Ideally, over time, you will not have involved in that psychologist’s work really at all, whereas with a psychometrist, you always have to maintain some level of supervision and monitoring of what that person is doing. A psychologist also lets you be out of the office. You don’t have to be a touchpoint like you do for a psychometrist for billing purposes. So there’s just a level of independence for you and for the psychologist if you choose to bring that person on.
Getting back to the, how do you know when? Again, the soft sign is, if you’re worried about what to do with all your referrals. If you want to get really numbers-based, which I would always advise, you can check out what is your capacity for evaluations. That might be one evaluation week. It might be two, it might be three, and really start to track your referrals and get a sense of how many referrals are coming in each month. When you hit the point, and this is just a ballpark, something to go off of, when you hit the point when you are bringing in twice as many referrals as you need to be full for about six months, I think that’s a really safe time to bring on another psychologist.
So, let’s say you need, we’ll keep it simple, you just need eight referrals a month to keep yourself full. If you go six months of getting 16 inbound calls that are converting to testing cases, then I think that’s a really safe time to bring on another psychologist because, over time, you’re just going to get booked out further and further and it’s nice to cut down that wait time, and that’ll give you some comfort.
A lot of people, when they decide to bring on a psychologist, their first concern is always, can I support this person, and will this person be able to make a living? So, when you track your numbers for six months, that should give you some comfort that you can do that successfully. If you want to be extra careful, you can track for a year and make sure that you capture all the seasons of the year. So, dips and slowdowns and upticks, and it all kind of averages out.
If you are not tracking your referrals, I’m just putting in a plug for doing that, I will do an episode sometime in the future on creating a referral tracker and what you should be tracking, and how to do that efficiently. For now, you can use a simple spreadsheet or Google form to track your inbound referrals. So, if you’re not doing that great reason to do that.
Once you decide that you have enough referrals, again, it’s a choice between psychologists and psychometrists. I think we have covered that if you are looking for someone who can really operate independently, who you can trust, and who will not require involvement from you, that is a good sign that you want to go with a psychologist.
That will also contribute to, or it’s related to how much collaboration you want your practice. So, if you’re looking to have another person you can talk with, or case consult with, psychologists are obviously going to be an advantage over psychometrists.
Another piece of this that you want to think about is your overall business plan. So, thinking about your vision for the business and where you want to be in one year, at most three years. Where do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as a practice of psychometrists where it’s you supervising those folks or do you want a true group practice where you have independent clinicians doing their own thing? So these are all factors to consider when you choose whether to bring on a psychologist or a psychometrist.
Geography may play a role in that too and just the availability of those folks. Speaking availability, once you make that choice, where do you actually find another psychologist? This is the problem I think that a lot of folks run into. I have linked an article that I wrote for TherapyNotes a few months ago, called 10 places to look when hiring your next testing psychologist or psychometrist.
So I’m going to run through some of those pieces. This is where you’ll see some overlap with the psychometrist episode. Some of these locations are quite familiar, but I think some are specific to psychologists as well. So where do you find that person?
My go-to is always friends of friends. Check with all of your psychologist colleagues and acquaintances, all your professional networks, because that eliminates such a huge factor in the hiring process, such a huge unknown factor, which is who is this person and what does it work look like? If you tap into your own network first, then you just cut through that whole vetting process for the most part assuming these are people you trust and you can jump straight to finding good candidates. That’s what I would do first is check within your network, let them know that you are hiring, and just see if anyone knows anyone or may even be interested in themselves in coming on board as a psychologist.
One step removed the option for that approach is to go to LinkedIn. So, if you are active on LinkedIn and maintain a good referral network and good connection network, you can also go there. So you can sort on LinkedIn by neuropsychologist or school psychologist or whatever it might be, and really tap into that network. And you can shoot out an automated message that just says, Hey, we have some friends in common, just letting you know that I am hiring a psychologist for my practice and would love to talk with you if you’re interested. LinkedIn is I think an underutilized platform for finding folks.
While we’re talking about LinkedIn, I will say that you can also pay for their premium features to actually post jobs to a bigger network. And that’s okay too. That can also work. They’re putting a lot of money and resources into building out that service. So I think that’s a great option as well.
I’ve had really, really good luck finding psychologists on Indeed as well. I know this may vary depending on geography, but a couple of things that I found really help find people on Indeed.
One is that you have to sponsor the post. Indeed has a free version, which is fine, but I’ve had the most success with sponsoring the post, which basically just means, you pay a certain amount each month to make sure that that post gets in front of more people. It’s not expensive. I found that, at least for the positions I’ve tried to hire in this area, I could spend $100 a month and get a solid number of applicants.
The cool thing about Indeed is that you can, it has a little tool when you’re posting a job that you can adjust the amount of sponsorship and it will automatically tell you how many applicants you’re likely to get at that level of sponsorship. So for me, I found that $100 got me very nearly as many applicants as $200. The return on investment for $100 was much better than $200. Indeed has worked really well for me.
Related to that, ZipRecruiter is a good one as well. I haven’t used it as much, but I like that it has salary data built-in so it can tell you if the amount you’re offering is low or not. So indeed and ZipRecruiter are great options too.
I’m going to put in a plug for The Testing Psychologist Community on Facebook. We’ve seen a lot of job postings there across the board and quite a bit of success with folks connecting with one another in that community. So, if you’re not a member of The Testing Psychologist Community, I will make sure and link that in the show notes as well. And it is again free and you can get in front of at this point, almost 7,000 testing psychologists. So that’s a great option as well.
Sticking with that theme, any of the neuropsychology listservs or school psychology listservs, or other specialty Facebook pages are great places to look for a testing psychologist as well. So that would be like the […] listserv. There are plenty of listservs from AACN, Division 40 of APA, and, of course, any of the specialty groups like forensic and so forth. All of these places, just make sure you check the rules for job postings in any of these locations. But the idea is that you again, get in front of a lot of folks who are specifically looking for jobs.
I’ve seen success with, if you’re open to an early career psychologist, there is an early career listserv, or I think it’s a Yahoo group as well. So there are plenty of options regarding listservs.
Now, we’re kind of getting down to the I guess less likely places where you might find a psychologist at this point. And that’s okay. What I found is that you have to do, I’m generally not a fan of the spray and pray approach to marketing or advertising, but in this case, I think posting your job in as many places as possible is a good thing. It’s going to increase your reach and increase the likelihood that you get in front of the folks who might want to work for you.
These last few are some options that are maybe lesser-known but could be very successful in your area depending on the characteristics of the psychologist there. So you can always go to your State Psychological Association or even a Local Psychological Association. Similarly, a lot of localities have mental health Facebook groups that you could post to. So you could post your job in that local Facebook group.
Let’s see. You can also tap into, if you’re, again, interested in an early career person, you can tap into the APEC postdoc directory, or you can search and see if there are any postdoc sites there in your area who might be willing to, or not willing to, but who would have psychologists or soon to be psychologists coming out of postdoc who might be looking for jobs. So these are options as well.
So, that’s just a summary of where you might look to find your next psychologist. And it can take time. In all of the cases where I’ve hired psychologists, it’s been multiple months, for sure. So, try to anticipate that and really look ahead to your hiring process.
Now, once you posted your job, and let’s say you’ve got some candidates, which reminds me actually another cool thing about Indeed and some of those hiring sites is that you can set required questions for people to answer, and it helps to weed out individuals who don’t meet your requirements.
So what we do when we post to a hiring site like that is actually, I put the job description on there and I also put required questions, like, do you have a Ph.D. or a PsyD? And are you licensed? But I also put in the job description for that person to go to our practice-specific application. So this does a couple of things. Our practice-specific application is a Google form that is linked from our website that gives us more detailed information about the individual before we even meet them. We tailored that to really match your practice values. So you get more information about that person, but the other component is that you get a sense of whether they pay attention to detail and whether they’re actually reading the job description on Indeed or wherever you’ve posted it. I post that right at the top of the job description, but you might be shocked how many folks just don’t read it, and don’t go to that link.
All right. So moving on, do you bring on this person as an Independent Contractor or a W2? Now I could do a whole episode or series of episodes on ICs versus W2’s, but what it really gets down to is how much control are you going to have over this individual’s work? And the vast majority of cases, you’re going to lean toward a W2 model.
People don’t like to do that because it’s more expensive for the business. When you have W2 employees, you as the business owner are responsible for employment taxes and payroll taxes. So, people try to shy away from that, but there’ve been more and more cases over the past few years of folks, business owners, getting in trouble for classifying people as ICs when they really are treated like W2’s.
And what that means again, is that you just have a fair amount of control over their work. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether someone is an IC or a W2, but, and it is certainly state-dependent as well. For example, California is really cracking down on ICs and you almost have to go the W2 route.
Other states are more lenient, but as a whole, I think the country and the IRS really are moving toward folks being classified as W2 employees versus independent contractors. The easiest way to think of it is, is this individual solely employed at your practice, and do you provide them with anything they need to do their job? If so, that person is likely to W2 employee. An independent contractor arrangement is really reserved for someone who has other jobs, other contracts that they are fulfilling at other businesses, they bring their own materials, and theoretically, they should invoice you for the work that they do when they’re finished.
So, I included a link in the show notes to an IRS page, just helping you sort through the W2 versus IC conundrum. So there are two links that you can check out that I think would probably be helpful in making that decision. I will say that at our practice, everyone is a W2 employee simply because I think that helps create a little more of a cohesive work environment, and really like a workplace home, which is the culture that we are going for here. And I like for folks to have this be their main gig so that they’re dedicated to our practice and invested in our practice and aren’t concerned about other responsibilities.
Now, there are plenty of ICs out there and business owners who have ICs who make it work really well, but this is a choice to really sort through for yourself and with your accountant or attorney.
Lastly, I want to tackle just a little bit around, how do you interview and decide to hire another testing psychologist?
A few things that I think are important in this process that go beyond maybe a typical employee. One is, you want to think about the qualities that you’re looking for in your psychologist. Now, generally speaking, I think time management and efficiency and able the ability to work independently are pretty important. Beyond those things, you definitely want to think about what kind of psychologist are you bringing on? Is this person going to see kids, going to see adults, going to see both? Do they need to specialize?
And there are different approaches to this. Some folks would say, find a psychologist who compliments your own work or compliments the work that others in your practice do. That is the model that I tend to go toward. At this point, we have 7 or 8 psychologists or postdocs who, we all overlap in the sense that we all test kids and we can all do ADHD and learning disorders, but then even within that, we all kind of have our specialties, whether it’s like a subset of age or presenting concern, or maybe it’s autism, or maybe it’s a neuro-psych, medical cases.
So that’s the approach we take where each person has their own area of specialty, but if you know, like you are running a specialty clinic and you get tons of ADHD referrals, and that’s just what you need, or tons of autism referrals or tons of dementia referrals, then go for it or TBI or forensic, totally fine to bring on a similar individual.
So once you’ve got that individual in front of you, a few things are important. One, checking reference. Huge. You all maybe know this and have found this, but people can present any number of ways in front of you, but you really want to learn from others who’ve worked with them what it’s like to work with them.
So, please do not skimp and checking references for the folks you bring on. Any of the times I’ve gotten in trouble hiring-wise, it’s because I didn’t check references because people present really well. And we like to connect with individuals. So, if you feel connected, you can get excited and just, just be wary or be appropriately cautious. You don’t have to be wary. You don’t have to be paranoid, but be appropriately cautious. Just make sure to check references.
Another thing that I love to do is have someone send a redacted report or actually, two redacted reports just to get a sense of their style, what kind of measures they like to use and how they structure their reports and their writing.
A pet peeve of mine is I do not want to bring on someone who is not a good writer. The quality of our reports is really, I think there’s a high bar and I don’t want to constantly have to be worried about someone’s grammar and punctuation and editing and writing style. So, you can get a sense of that by asking for redacted reports.
Other things that you just want to be aware of are, their expectations for the work. So, do they expect to have a psychometrist at some point, or do they want to do their own testing? How many hours did they typically spend on an evaluation? If you take insurance, do they have experience with billing that insurance or writing pre-authorizations for insurance? If you need help with pre-authorizations, by the way, you can always check out the episode on the medical necessity from several months or years back here on The Testing Psychologist.
So, these are things that you want to check in with the potential hire about. And in some cases, we’ve even done working interviews where we hire the person on first as an independent contractor temporarily and give them two cases and just get a sense of how they work and how they write and their time management. If you want to go that far, you certainly can. I will not say that we have done that in the majority of cases, but we have done it in some cases and it’s always been helpful.
So other things that you want to pay attention to and ask the psychologist are, what is an acceptable turnaround time for reports? How do you choose to, or how do you prefer to do your testing? Like all in one shot or spread over multiple days? You can maybe read between the lines here and tell that a lot of the interview questions you want to ask are, are dictated by the vision that you have for your practice.
That’s an overarching theme here is don’t rush into hiring until you have a pretty clear vision for your practice and for the testing that you want to happen and for the individual that you would like to bring on, knowing that there’s going to be flexibility and variation, and presumably, you’re bringing someone on because you want them to be able to work independently, but you also want to have a pretty clear idea of what that person should be doing before you jump into an interview with them, because there’ll be looking to you as well.
They’ll be looking to you to set the tone and they will ask questions around, what does this look like and what are the expectations, and how much training will be provided? Do I draw by my own measures, what if I want my own measures that you don’t have? So be thinking about this. These are all important things.
So, this is just a quick rundown of factors to consider when you want to hire another testing psychologist in your practice. It is a big leap. For me, this was one of the hardest things to do, is to turn over the testing side of things, because I, up to that point had really established a pretty positive name and reputation in the community for the testing. And I had been told that my evaluations were better than average, I think. So, to turn that over to someone else and try to duplicate that model and trust someone else was really, really challenging.
And now, 5 or 6 years on the other side of it, I found that it’s completely worth it, and you can certainly maintain the integrity of your practice and the style of your reports while at the same time, having the added benefit of a fresh perspective. And variation that at least in our case has been very welcome.
I hope that was helpful. If you have any further questions or you’d like to reach out, or if this is a problem that you’re trying to solve right now, you could be a really good candidate for the Advanced Practice Mastermind that’s starting here in 2 or 3 weeks. So again, you can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/advanced.
If you are thinking about hiring and struggling with that or really just want to move to that next stage in your practice and want some accountability and support to do that. And this is that’s what the advanced practice group is for. So we’re going into the, I think 3rd or 4th cohort this time around and I’m really excited.
We have two spots left. I still haven’t pushed it out to the email list. So if you are interested, book that pre-group call, let’s jump on the phone and see if it’s a good fit for you.
Okay, y’all, I will be talking to you again on Monday with a clinical episode with Dr. Andres Chou all about Clergy evaluations, which was fascinating.
So, I hope to catch you on Monday. Take care.
The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice diagnosis, or treatment.
Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.