Published in Non-Clinical

What We Learned Helping 4,022 Practices Hire Optometrists

This is editorially independent content
13 min read

A film featuring the founders of CovalentCareers, Inc.

In this video we share the lessons learned from helping 4,022 practices hire optometrists (as of August 2018). We've seen it and heard it all, and now we're sharing what we've learned to help practice owners out there.

It's harder to hire optometrists today than ever before ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

There are several forces impacting the supply and demand curve of optometrists.

Understand the costs to hire an associate ๐Ÿ“Š

We've included a financial calculator you can utilize to understand the hidden costs of hiring optometrists

Know how to market your OD position โฌ‡๏ธ

We've provided customizable optometrist job templates you can download and make your own.

Know the ROI of hiring an optometrist ๐Ÿ’ธ

Our Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet calculator will show you exactly the ROI of hiring an OD and how to balance your hiring costs.

โ€œThis video summarizes everything we've learned when it comes to hiring optometrists. We've learned a lot after helping these 4,022 practices hire ODs โ€” and we want to share that with you!โ€

Download all of the hiring tools and resources discussed in the video!

Hiring optometrists is harder today than ever before

The supply and demand curve has shifted, making it more challenging to find and hire optometrists. While in previous years there was an oversupply of optometrists, there is now an undersupply due to various forces impacting the profession. While this undersupply is often debated, here at CovalentCareers we hear from our clients every day how difficult it is to hire optometrists. Many practices have vacancies that have lasted 12-24 months, one indication of an undersupply of optometrists, especially in specific geographical regions of the United States.
These are the forces that are making it difficult when it comes to hiring optometrists.
  1. The profession as we know it today was built off the hard work and labor of baby boomers. Baby boomers are now retiring and this trend is just getting started. This means current practice owners must replace themselves in their practices.
  2. Corporate practices are growing at an increasing rate, which means a higher volume of open exam lanes. This increase in supply puts further pressure on the short supply of optometrists, especially in rural regions of the country.
  3. Healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of insured Americans by over 20 million lives. This means there are now more patients with insurance benefits who are seeking care.
  4. Private equity plays an increasing role in purchasing and expanding practices, creating more competition for practice owners when it comes to hiring.
  5. The Census Bureau projects that the population over 55 years of age will increase by 28% between 2010 and 2020. This will lead to an increase in the number of patients with diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other age-related conditions who will need medical eyecare. (State of the Optometric Profession, 2013)
While there might seem to be an oversupply of optometrists in certain major cities, this doesn't represent the problems a majority of practices across the country are facing, particularly in rural areas. This means you must be equipped and prepared to attract the best talent to your practice.

You can download the customizable job description templates and financial hiring calculator discussed throughout the video!

The Role of Corporate Optometry

As corporate optometry expands, more ODs are choosing to work in this practice modality. There is good reason for this! Large corporate companies have the infrastructure and resources to offer optometrists competitive salaries as well as medical and retirement benefits. In recent years, corporate optometry organizations have listened to the voices of optometrists and made vast improvements in what it's like to work at these locations. The improvements listed below have helped attract and retain new talent.
  1. Greater independence through sublease practice models
  2. Improved hours and autonomy
  3. Extremely competitive salaries, benefits, and help with student loans
  4. Ideal locations
  5. New equipment and technology
These 5 improvements are very important to optometrists and just a few of the reasons more ODs are entering corporate optometry as apposed to private practice models.
Not only that, but corporate companies have large recruiting teams. They have highly trained professionals dedicated to talking with optometrists and filling vacant positions. This certainly puts private practices at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring optometrists โ€” a call to action for private practices to step up their recruiting game as well.
Download our 2017 Optometry Industry Survey of 1,000+ optometrists and students, for an in-depth look on what drives ODs to choose certain jobs, and what is most important to them.
Important Lesson: When it comes to hiring optometrists, recruiting and searching for optometrists takes more time than you think, and the time spent on hiring can negatively impact your practice's revenue.
Just as practice owners take a proactive approach to getting patients in their doors, they need to be taking a proactive approach to hiring optometrists. Simply putting an ad on a page and doing nothing else might not produce the results you had hoped for. However, a proactive approach requires focus and time, which is time they're not spending generating revenue for the practice.

Deciding On When To Hire and What It Costs To Hire

Anytime you make an investment, you should consider the return. Practice owners do this routinely when it comes to making decisions for their practice. The same is true when it comes to hiring optometrists. There are so many costs to consider when it comes to hiring, both direct and indirect.
Most practice owners don't invest enough in their hiring process and forget how much revenue an optometrist can bring in. Our argument is to stop and watch our video above. CovalentCareers believes you should accurately understand the revenue an OD can bring to your practice prior to investing in your hiring process. Only then can you truly make an educated decision on the dollar amount to invest in your hiring process.
Important Lesson: One MAJOR factor practices overlook is the cost of vacancy.
Depending on how long your practice goes without a doctor, the cost of vacancy can really add up over time. We have seen practices go without a doctor for over three months! If you don't have an optometrist, you can't see patients, and if you can't see patients, you can't produce revenue (other than walk ins to your optical ๐Ÿ˜‰)
While this might only seem like a major issue for practices that have NO doctor, it is important to think about the money you are leaving on the table if you can grow your practice with a doctor, but do not have one to see this growing demand of patients.
Download the financial calculator discussed in the video that will help demonstrate the true costs of hiring optometrists. Start the download! You'll also receive the hiring templates! ๐Ÿ“

Practices are starting way too late when it comes to hiring optometrists

We see it all the time. Many practices wait until the very last minute before starting their search for an optometrist. They think that they can list a job ad and within 15 days have a candidate hired. This is NOT the case, and certainly is NOT what we have seen helping 4,022 practices hire optometrists!
Tips to hire efficiently:
  1. Start early. Give yourself ample leeway when it comes to the hunt.
  2. Don't be afraid to leave an ad open for extended periods of time. Even if you are not hiring right now, by leaving an ad open and live, you consistently receive a stream of potential employees who might be a fit for your practice. It is okay to be transparent in your ad and let candidates know that this is for a potential future need. Just because you have an ad open does not mean you are forced to make a hire if someone responds to it!
  3. Don't rush. Hiring the wrong optometrist can cost you not only money, but time.
  4. Use all the resources available. Posting a job on one place is not enough to capture everyone's attention. For this reason, the job platform at CovalentCareers puts your optometrist listing everywhere.
  5. Market your position. Just like you would market to bring in patients, you want to market your practice to potential optometrists who know nothing about you! Having a strong listing that highlights you and your practice is critical.
Fill out the form and you'll receive a sample template that will show you how to write up the perfect job listing! ๐Ÿ‘‡

What is the deal with optometrist recruiters? ๐Ÿ“ฃ

Recruiters often get a bad reputation . . .
We get asked all the time: do I need the help of a recruiter? How does it all even work?
Marketing is extremely important when it comes to getting your position out there, but naturally, some practices do not have the time or resources to market a job opening on their own. This is when using the help of a recruiter is beneficial.
The benefits of hiring an optometrist recruiter:
  • Take an active role in sourcing candidates. Recruiters typically will make 150 phone calls every day to find you potential candidates.
  • Market your job using online tools that practices don't have access to.
  • Screen candidates for you based upon set parameters you provide.
  • Help you through the interview process.
  • Assist you in the offer process and deal with any competing offers.
In addition to marketing your job in every way possible, we also offer recruiting services at CovalentCareers, and it has been extremely effective for helping practices find the best candidates.

โ€œCovalentCareers was so easy to work with to find the proper hire for my office. The customer service by Dyllan was amazing. He was always so helpful with any question or concern I had about our job listing. I got to meet and speak with many amazing doctors before we hired the one perfect for our practice. CovalentCareers made the hiring process very easy.โ€

- Pamela Schramm, OD

โ€œCovalentCareers is dedicate to finding the right candidate, they are diligent, and they KNOW the industry. You can't ask for anything more!!!!โ€

- Jim Hawley, OD

โ€œMy experience with the Customer Success team was professional, helpful, and we found on optometrist for our practice in two weeks!โ€

- Joan Finkelstein

What speaks to candidates? ๐ŸŽค

Candidates are interested in working in practices that have a culture and a mission that speaks to them. The current generation of optometrists want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
However, money is very important, especially to new graduates who are graduating with more student loan debt than ever before.
We've frequently seen job seekers accept the highest bidder. This shouldn't sound like a major surprise. As the supply of optometrists has decreased and the demand for optometrists has increased, the pressure put on practice owners to offer higher salaries is something we see on a routine basis. If you cannot offer a higher salary than a competing entity, then you need to offer some other sort of value.
We have discovered many optometrists value working in a medically based practice. Use this to your advantage when it comes to presenting your practice in your job offer.
Another potential aspect you can leverage is offering a candidate the ability to grow in your practice โ€” such as the potential for future partnership.
Candidates value different things. A simple strategy you can utilize is speaking to your candidate and understanding what they value, and then offering them something that meets that value, even if it is at the expense of a higher salary.

Download the financial calculator discussed in the video that will help demonstrate the true costs of hiring optometrists. You'll also receive the hiring templates! ๐Ÿ“

Get the tools to help you make the right hire. ๐Ÿ› 

๐Ÿ˜ฉ Hiring optometrists is difficult

  • There are several forces impacting the profession
  • The demand for eyecare services is increasing
  • Current supply cannot meet demand
  • This has caused a shortage of applicants

๐Ÿ“„ Market your job opening

  • You need to market your position effectively
  • Get your job opening out there
  • Market your position like you would your practice
  • Consider a recruiter

๐Ÿคฏ Understand costs to hire

  • Always know what your ROI will be
  • Don't forget about the cost of vacancy
  • Know what a bad hire can cost you
  • Understand direct and indirect costs to hire

๐Ÿค Offer a solid deal

  • Culture and a purpose are important
  • Money is also important, and salaries are increasing
  • If you can't offer more money, offer something else
  • Understand what your applicant values

Download the customizable job description templates AND cost to hire calculator discussed in the video above to determine costs to hire and attract the best talent!


Download Job Description Templates & Cost to Hire Calculator

Download the customizable job description templates AND cost to hire calculator discussed in the video above to determine costs to hire and attract the best talent!
Matt Geller, OD
About Matt Geller, OD

Matt Geller, OD is the co-founder and CEO of Eyes On Eyecareโ€”the #1 provider of clinical and career education for the next generation of optometrists and ophthalmologists through our all-in-one digital content platform.

Matt Geller, OD
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