4 Effective Steps in Hiring in Eye Care

In this enlightening conversation, Dr. Darryl Glover delves into the universal challenge of hiring in eye care with Dr. Mike Neal. Dr. Neal, an optometrist turned entrepreneur, shares his journey from struggling with traditional hiring practices in his rural practice to revolutionizing the process through his company, Build My Team. He highlights the inefficacy of relying solely on resumes and advocates for a more holistic approach, inspired by renowned organizations like Disney and Four Seasons. This method prioritizes assessments over resumes, seeking candidates who have the necessary skills and embody the ethos and patient care philosophy crucial in healthcare.

hiring in eye care

Dr. Neal’s insights into creating effective job descriptions, the importance of quick communication, and the need for a comprehensive evaluation process offer valuable guidance for healthcare professionals facing the daunting task of building a cohesive and competent team. Join us as we explore these transformative ideas that are reshaping the way healthcare professionals approach hiring, ultimately leading to more efficient practices and enhanced patient care.

Who is Dr. Michael Neal, CEO of Build My Team

Dr. Darryl Glover:

Welcome to the show. I’m grateful for your participation and contributions to eye care. I’m excited about today’s topic because it’s relevant not just in eye care, but in healthcare and every other industry – hiring. There’s a significant gap in this area, and you’re an expert who has revolutionized the hiring process. But before we dive into that, could you share a bit about yourself – your background, where you’re from, your education, and maybe a fun fact?

Dr. Mike Neal:

Hiring in Eye Care
Dr Michael Neal, CEO of Build My Team

Thank you, Darryl. Since we have ample time, I’ll start from the beginning. I was born quite early in life, but let’s fast forward from there. I describe myself as an entrepreneur in an optometrist’s body. I studied in Philadelphia, attending PCO, now known as Salus University, and graduated in 2001. I’ve been in private practice in the Poconos ever since.

Dr. Darryl Glover:

That sounds great.

Dr. Mike Neal:

Yes, it’s been a journey. For a fun fact, I’m a parent to two wonderful children, aged nine and twelve, with my wife. Balancing work and parenting is an adventure in itself. On a personal note, I’m a runner. I started running in March 2022 and recently qualified for the Boston and Chicago marathons, which was an achievement beyond my expectations.

Dr. Darryl Glover:


The Genesis of a Hiring in Eye Care Revolution

Dr. Mike Neal:

Thank you. Now, regarding my ‘why’ for developing this hiring process, it was born out of necessity and desperation. Our practice struggled with hiring based on resumes, leading to unsatisfactory results. This challenge in 2017 forced us to find a solution, not only for the sake of our business but also for our marriage. As for turning it into a company, that happened organically. I shared our successful hiring approach with friends in different healthcare fields, and before I knew it, we were operating in nearly 40 states and Canada across eight healthcare professions.

The second part of my ‘why’ is about helping people find transformative career opportunities in eye care, improving their lives and those of their families, not just in the Poconos but across North America. I’m passionate about enhancing lives, both through direct patient care and by providing better career paths in healthcare.

Addressing Hiring in Eye Care Challenges

Dr. Darryl Glover:

That’s quite an insight into rural optometry. Now, I’d like to shift our focus to one of the significant challenges that eye care and healthcare professionals face, which is hiring and assembling the right team in their practices. Could you shed some light on this topic to frame our discussion for the rest of the conversation?

Dr. Mike Neal:

Certainly. Hiring in healthcare, especially in rural areas, presents unique challenges. Given our limited talent pool, or as I jokingly refer to it, our ‘talent puddle,’ finding the right team members can be quite a task. In a small practice like ours, every team member plays a crucial role, and their impact is felt immediately and profoundly. The process of hiring isn’t just about filling a position; it’s about finding individuals who align with the practice’s ethos and patient care philosophy.

Another aspect is the range of skills required. In rural practices, professionals often wear multiple hats, handling diverse responsibilities. This multi-dimensional role necessitates a broader skill set, making the hiring process even more intricate.

Furthermore, the challenge extends beyond just hiring. It’s about retention, training, and integrating these individuals into the practice’s culture. Especially in healthcare, where the environment is fast-paced and the stakes are high, having a cohesive and efficient team is critical.

So, in summary, the hiring process in healthcare, particularly in rural settings like ours, is not just about filling roles. It’s about finding the right people with the right skills and the right attitude, who can thrive in a dynamic and often challenging environment. It’s about building a team that not only serves the needs of the practice but also profoundly impacts the community we serve.

4 Steps in Hiring in Eye Care with Building My Team

Dr. Mike Neal:

So, we have a lot of optometrists listening to this podcast, and I understand that feeling of being isolated, like you’re the only one making decisions and carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, like Atlas climbing a mountain. That’s often how it feels. But when it comes to hiring, you don’t have to feel that way. Build My Team emerged from my experience of hiring in a private practice in rural Pennsylvania. It works in both rural areas and cities, serving clients everywhere. The key message is: you’re not alone.

The common mistake in hiring is the overreliance on resumes. But what does a resume really tell you about a person? It usually includes names, schooling, and work history, but it’s often filled with exaggerated information and doesn’t reveal much about the individual’s true capabilities. The process usually involves selecting the candidate with the best resume, who then sits across from you in an interview, often nervous and unable to show their true potential.

The better way, which I adopted from companies like Disney, Four Seasons, and Strategic Coach, is to use resumes last. These companies cast a wide net to attract many applicants, then run them through an assessment process. Only those who excel in this process are considered for an interview, making the hiring less dependent on the resume. This method wasn’t initially available for private practices, as it’s arduous and expensive.

Build My Team was my solution to this. We started by emailing candidates, but quickly realized that was ineffective, especially with younger people who rarely check emails. So, we shifted to texting. Build My Team writes a tailored job description for each practice, using various techniques to attract the right candidates. This process has transformed hiring in my practice and for many others, simplifying what used to be a perennial and stressful challenge.

Dr. Darryl Glover:

I want to add something, Michael. Regarding job descriptions, it seems like they’re all similar. When I look online, it feels like one company creates a template and everyone else just copies and modifies it slightly. It seems there’s a lack of innovation and creativity in this aspect. Am I wrong, or have you noticed this too with companies hiring in eye care?

Dr. Mike Neal:

You’re spot on, Darryl. Our job descriptions at Build My Team are different. We use specific language to attract the right type of candidates for hiring in eye care. These descriptions are the first filter in our process, designed to identify candidates who are natural fits for the roles. We utilize algorithms to determine the best position for each candidate. Once the job description goes live, it’s published on over 20 job boards to attract a large pool of candidates, as we tend to reject the majority.

When candidates apply, about half of them choose not to proceed with the assessment process. They receive a text message within five seconds of applying – this immediacy is crucial because by the sixth second, they’re likely applying for another job. Our process for hiring in eye care includes a mindset assessment, looking for candidates with a healthcare mindset, team spirit, gratitude, initiative, honesty, and a helpful nature. We also assess their learning speed to find the right fit for the practice’s needs.

We don’t focus solely on experience; rather, we look for natural talent and strengths suitable for the required position. For example, a front desk position requires someone with a high-stress tolerance. There are also knockout questions to filter out candidates who don’t meet the basic requirements, like availability for the practice’s hours.

After passing these assessments, candidates proceed to a video interview with our team. The final step (Step #4) is sending these vetted candidates to the practice for their selection. The process is designed to be efficient, taking 30 to 60 minutes from the practice owner’s side.

The Impact of Effective Hiring on Eye Care Practices

Dr. Darryl Glover:

It’s crucial for those who have never experienced the chaos of having the wrong team members. Such issues can significantly impact the bottom line. I’m convinced of the effectiveness of your approach.

Dr. Mike Neal:

In eye care, optimal net income is achieved when operations are smooth and efficient. Turnover, for instance, is extremely costly. In a study we conducted, the cost of hiring and firing a person within 14 days was around $4,500. This realization highlights the importance of efficient hiring processes.

Dr. Darryl Glover:

For those interested in help with hiring in eye care, how can they reach out to you?

Dr. Mike Neal:

The best way is to visit buildmyteam.com. We started in optometry and excel in this field. Interested parties can schedule a call with our team members, who specialize in filling various positions efficiently. This service isn’t just for solo private practices; it’s also for large group practices and other healthcare settings. It’s designed to save time and allow practice owners to focus on broader aspects of their business.

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