Interview Mistakes Employers Make in the Integrative and Functional Medicine Field

Medical Professional Being Offered a Job

Being the leading-edge healthcare staffing firm that specializes exclusively in Integrative and Functional Medicine Field career placements, I’ve seen my fair share of candidates make or break it within the interview process. But I’ve also seen employers fumble with this crucial element of the hiring process as well. The interview process is paramount to building an effective and successful Integrative and Functional Medicine practice, and employers need to approach the situation with preparation and care, just as an employee would.

Here are some of the more troublesome mistakes I’ve seen, as well as what to do instead.

  1. Failure to Prepare

You can’t optimize an interview without adequately preparing. This applies to employees and employers both. Employers must have pre-researched and pre-prepared questions ready. Craft questions targeted to the role, and that require candidates to give specific answers demonstrating how they would handle a situation, such as a complex medical issue. This is where behavioral interview questions can be of great value.  Developing the questions prior and reviewing them with the hiring team ensures consistency and remaining compliant with EEOC regulations.

On-site interviews are a critical aspect of the hiring process and require ample planning. This includes meeting with your staff to review candidate resumes and discussing the interview schedule and the questions. Assign different questions to each interviewer so the same question isn’t repeated. This will also help to gain different perspectives. It’s critical to be discerning about who on the staff will participate in the hiring and interview process. They should be top performers who reflect the culture of your practice and understand the importance of the candidate experience in this process. It’s also crucial that those who are involved understand the questions that are non-compliant.  

  1. Make a Bad Impression

The interview process is not only an opportunity for employers to gather first impressions of candidates, but also a chance for potential candidates to gather an impression of their possible future practice. What impression are they getting from your practice? Keep in mind the candidate is watching every interaction, especially when they’re onsite. They’ll observe how patients are treated and how the staff treat each other.  You’ll also want to give thought to how you’ll sell your practice to them. This is your opportunity to promote your practice and get the candidate excited about working there. The candidate will have already reviewed your website, but what else do you want them to know about this opportunity? How will this role provide job satisfaction and contribute to their professional development? How can they continue to grow in your organization?   

To attract quality candidates, the practice must give off a quality vibe. Does your practice feel organized and welcoming? You can achieve this by making sure your hiring team is prepared, that you have an organized interview schedule and you share it with the candidate ahead of time. In order to make a good impression, it’s important to spend time organizing the interview process start to finish.

  1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations

One of the most notable mistakes I have noticed within my ten years in this field is employers having unrealistic expectations. Naturally, they want someone with practice experience in the field, as well as certifications or fellowships; however, the reality is that the Integrative, Functional and Lifestyle Medicine field is relatively small. Therefore, once you determine they have the passion and dedication to practice in the field, it’s most important to interview for character, personality, and emotional intelligence. My motto is to “hire character and train skill.” You can always teach new skills, but you can’t teach personality, passion, emotional intelligence, or initiative. As mentioned in a previous blog post outlining four ways to land a Functional Medicine Practitioner Job, initiative will always be at the top of our list when it comes to Integrative and Functional Medicine job seekers. And being able to discern if a candidate possesses genuine initiative is key.

Along with setting realistic expectations, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Make sure you have a short list of your most essential requirements. You can’t attract what you want if you don’t know what you want. As mentioned in another previous blog post, Four Tips for Creating Your Integrative and Functional Medicine Job Posting, effectively communicating the tasks, responsibilities, and requirements of the position is crucial. One of the most basic ways to ensure that you attract the candidate who best aligns with your opening is to accurately detail the nature of the position and what your basic requirements are. If you’re unsure what your basic requirements are, I recommend checking out this resource for creating an effective job posting. I also suggest tempering this by casting a wide net. You don’t want to exclude candidates who have demonstrated initiative and dedication to becoming an excellent provider in the field, merely because their practical experience may be lacking.

  1. Dragging out the Process

The candidate will perceive how you handle the interview process as an indication of the type of employer you will be. Your reputation as an employer is at stake. It’s important to explain the selection process to candidates who are progressing so they know what to expect. This is especially important if they are a viable candidate, you want to keep them engaged. I’ve seen candidates accept other opportunities because an employer was taking too long to make a decision, or did not keep them in the loop as to where they were in the process. If they’re a top contender, keep the communication flowing and don’t drag out the hiring decision. You may lose them. It’s also important to your reputation to follow up with the candidates who are not selected. I’ve found candidates truly appreciate the feedback as to why. Just make sure to provide feedback that is objective and compliant.

At Integrated Connections, we help you source the perfect candidate for your practice. You can meet your staffing goals by posting your new Integrative and Functional Medicine position on our job board for the field. You can inquire about our recruitment services and job board at