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NMGMA: 10 Minute Takeaway

James Fields

Best Practices for the Hiring Process

The second Tuesday of each month, practice managers and healthcare industry service providers gather for the monthly Nashville Medical Group Management Association (NMGMA) meeting. In February, Concept Technology Founder and President James Fields discussed building a balanced company culture that begins with smart hiring.

For Fields, he said company decisions had to balance the needs of clients, the team, and business. "If one of those is going to take a substantive hit, then it's probably the wrong thing to do," he said.

Building a great corporate culture, Fields continued, starts with the right people. "The culture of any company is the grand total of everything that's said, every action taken," he noted, adding that if you have the right people onboard, then 80 percent of your problems are already solved.

Smart Hires

For Concept Technologies, the hiring process has become a science. Starting with a large group of source candidates from a job posting, applicants are narrowed down through a brief, basic online technology quiz. From those candidates, around three dozen might be invited to come to the office for a more in-depth technical exam that still takes only about 10 minutes. In addition to the skills assessment, Fields said the team observes whether or not the candidate arrived on time, was engaging, and dressed appropriately. Narrowing the field again, about a dozen might receive a first interview and just over half be invited back for a second interview and advanced technical evaluation.

There are several key elements of smart hiring, Fields said. The first is to know your numbers - they often process more than 300 applications before hiring one superstar team member. Next, he continued, "We require a little work at every stage of the interview." His third tip, as you move through to a smaller group of candidates, is to keep them longer than an hour. "Anyone can keep their game face on for an hour," he pointed out. The team also conducts group interviews as the candidate pool narrows down. "The purpose of the group interview isn't to vet skills, it's to vet culture fit," Fields noted.

Finally, the candidate is assessed for HCV - humility, curiosity, and vulnerability. "We need people to lean in and actively participate in business," he said, adding the curious person might come to the table and question processes in an effort to find ways to work better whereas a critic only comes to the table to shoot down options.

Best First Day

After going through all the work to find the right person, Fields said companies too often drop the ball when it comes to onboarding. "New hires are confused by how you work. Take time to explain to them," he said, adding effective onboarding equals greater productivity and longevity.

Excited about joining the team, how often have new employees walked into an office where they instantly felt awkward and unsure? A new job is much like the first day at a new school where everyone else already knows each other and the routine.

To integrate new team members from the start, Fields said his company has a welcome banner to greet the new employee, has their desk already outfitted with the items that will be needed, business cards are ready, an account list is printed out, and lunch plans with colleagues have been set. "These are all things you have to do anyway, just do it before the person's first day," he advised of setting a welcoming tone and reinforcing a positive corporate culture.

NMGMA in March

The next meeting - scheduled for 11:30 am-1 pm on Tuesday, March 13 at KraftCPAs - features a presentation on "Why Social Engineering Succeeds" by an expert with Sword and Shield. For more information or to register, go online to

Practice managers interested in attending a luncheon to learn more about the organization and educational topics, should email NMGMA President Joy Testa at to register for their first meeting as a guest.



Concept Technology Inc.


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Concept Technology, Corporate Culture, Hiring Practices, James Fields, Nashville Medical Group Management Association, NMGMA, Onboarding, Practice Management
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