The Love Letter

Recruiting and hiring is a hot topic among physical therapists, doctors and many other professions. It’s getting harder and harder to find great candidates. It’s even hard to get people to apply. What to do?

A typical job posting reads like the ones below. You can probably imagine this for a number of other job titles and descriptions, as well.

Physical Therapist

A Private PT owned and operated Practice in [insert city & state here] is looking to add a Physical Therapist to their team. This physical therapy team’s primary focus is helping people discover how to lead their lives with less pain. This clinic believes their role in the recovery process is to help their patient’s regain strength, relieve their pain, and return them to daily activities as completely and as rapidly as possible.

The clinic fulfills its goals by providing care for their patients, and financial stability and security for their staff. They also gain satisfaction by having a clinic that is well known for its care of all ages because all ages should have…

What is special about this “team” or this position? Don’t all Physical Therapists want to “help their patients regain strength, relieve their pain, and return them to daily activities as completely and as rapidly as possible”? It talks a lot about the clinic, but does it connect with the potential candidate on an emotional level?

Here’s another that moves a little bit in the right direction.

Physical Therapist

We’re seeking top-caliber Physical Therapists to join our growing [insert state name here] team!

As a multidisciplinary and integrated practice we offer an impressive and unique interdisciplinary approach to rehabilitation incorporating the partnership of physical therapists, chiropractors, physiatrists and athletic trainers to achieve optimal patient outcomes. We’re looking for someone that works well within a team of various specialties and has a history of providing a great patient experience and outstanding outcomes! The clinical work environment is designed and organized by our Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Directors. Our Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Directors want the best for their patients and our providers and have created an excellent working and treating environment that create an excellent clinical experience.

They are a little bit “unique” and even tell a little bit about how. They are looking for someone who works well on a team. But the only thing it says about the candidate is that they are “top-caliber”. Don’t we all think of ourselves that way? And then it goes into who organizes the work environment? What about that is interesting, impressive, or unique? What details have they provided? As my children’s elementary teachers say, use more flowery words, and paint more of a picture for your reader.

“There is no sweeter sound to any person’s ear than the sound of their own name…” – Dale Carnegie

Too often we are writing about us and not about them. Writing about us may be fine, especially if you don’t think the people reading the posting know anything about you and your business. But writing about the how and the what are probably not that compelling for someone reading through a bunch of job openings. And why lead with that? Imagine being on a date and the other person talks about themselves for the first half of it. Not very enticing, right?

Start with them. Then go into your Why, your Purpose. Why does your business exist beyond making a profit? Maybe you already do this, but you’ve placed these items at the bottom of your posting. Consider flipping the order and talking about them first. Then once you have their attention, you can talk about you.

Ernest Shackleton was an explorer who went to Antarctica several times early in the 20th Century is famous for not losing any of his men, even under horrible conditions.

This is fabled to be his job posting.

What kind of candidates do you think applied? I’m betting this posting weeded out many would-be adventurers. Team selection was a huge contributor to the survival of every crew member. Setting clear expectations allowed those who weren’t sure about the job to be clearer about what they were getting into. And it probably appealed strongly to the true adventurer who wanted to test his mettle against the forces of nature. But note that this posting is about the person applying and not about Shackleton or the ship.

As part of the job postings we developed at my PT Practice years ago, we just added the following: You will love being part of our team if you love working hard, caring deeply for your patients and want to work on a truly collaborative team. We don’t have room for giant egos or passengers. Everyone contributes and pulls their weight and helps the other members of the team as much as they can whether it’s in their job description or not. Nothing is “not my job”.

Maybe this isn’t appealing to you. We hoped it was to someone. And we found out it was. It attracted hard workers who liked that the language was not the sterile language used by hospital HR departments. It’s truthful and described a bit about the ideal candidate while also sharing a bit about our values and what we thought was important.

If this content puts someone off, then that’s probably a good thing. If we’re not a fit, then we want to know that as early in the process as possible. We don’t want to waste anyone’s time; there is so little of it. And by putting this out there, we may have just saved us both some anguish, too.

So, maybe it’s not really a “Love Letter”, but you are working to connect with the people you want to work with and convey what it is they will be entering into by joining your team. Your hope is that when the “right” person reads it, they will get chills and be excited to apply and learn more about you.


For more about finding your fit, check out Sooki, The Saggy Baggy Elephant. (Really!)

The Saggy Baggy Elephant
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