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HIRING UNICORNS – DOS, DONTS, TRAPS & SOLUTIONS

Updated: Apr 23



So, before we start, what is a Unicorn?  Well, that’s different for every business, but when it comes to Medspas or medical aesthetics practices we’re talking about an RN, NP or PA with 5+ years of experience with multiple modalities and a great aesthetic eye, a loyal client base likely to follow them from one location to another and a strong social media presence that represents your brand impeccably.  He or She can sell and comes to work motivated and looking like a million bucks every day!!!  Wow, don’t we all want one of those!


So how do you hire one of these for your practice?  Well, hold onto your hat because it will be a wild ride.


STICKER SHOCK

1st, be prepared to pay – a lot! Real unicorns know they’re a unicorn and know their worth.  These folks will demand top dollar.  Are they worth it?  Well, that’s something each practice has to run the numbers on to figure out for your model.  OnCall can run a compensation report for your area if you’re unsure. Just ask, or check our services menu here on our website and we’ll be happy to help guide you through the experience


THE HUNT

Now that you’re over the sticker shock, how do you bag one of these elusive creatures.  The first step is finding one.  They’re rare and there’s a lot of pretend unicorns out there with fake horns.  Real unicorns are focussed and driven and don’t spend their time looking around for a new pastures to graze.  They’re already living in green pastures and prefer to spend their time nurturing the best clients possible building their own book of business.  So lets say you’ve spotted one, how do you make your first approach?


THE APPROACH

Carefully! Unicorns are very skittish animals, like a scene from Harry Potter, you must approach slowly, with respect and don’t make any eye contact until they give you a sign of approval.  You’ve got to treat these folks like an esteemed colleague, not your everyday employee.  They’re irreplaceable and can make a huge difference to your bottom line and as such they are worthy of your respect and collegiality.  One wrong move here and they’ll bolt, and you’ll find yourself being ghosted.  Best is to search out their network and see if you have anyone in common who can make a soft introduction, perhaps even asking if she’s open to new opportunities before making an introduction.  Barring a mutual contact, you might consider using the services of a head-hunter.  We’ve been feeding unicorns for years and they are very comfortable, even welcoming with any approach we make.  These first steps are critical.  If you can get past the introduction without spooking them, you’ve got a chance to land one for your practice.


MAKE A CONNECTION BEFORE YOU MAKE AN OFFER

Hopefully you’ve already sussed out the compensation issue either through a personal contact, head-hunter or solid market research before you have your first meeting.  You want to go in knowing you are “in the range” before you meet so you can spend your time together getting to know them, and letting them get to know you.  This way, your first meeting can be all about exploring the person, their personality, their life goals, their emotional intelligence – basically looking for a cultural fit.  Remember the old expression, “Hire Slow, Fire Fast”.  Take your time.  Get to know him/her and give him/her a chance to get to know you – personally and professionally. 

Once you’ve both decided you want to explore further, we recommend "agreeing" on an interview or trial plan.  Some practices and Unicorns like to have a shadow session for a morning.  Give him/her the chance to come in, see and feel the environment – will it be a fit for their clients, will he/she feel comfortable with your team, and do you see him/her fitting in your world?


MAKING THE OFFER

Like securing any good long term commitment, you want to know the answer before making your offer or risk a mortal wound from a unicorn horn. Ideally, you’ll have inside information of what will make him/her happy and you've spent the time getting to know their goals and needs. Not just the money, but the cultural fit, the employment benefits and any career aspirations you can help him/her fulfill.  You’d love her to put the fist number on the table, but if you’ve done your homework, you’ll have the right metrics and sitting "on the same side of the table" the two of you will design a package that works all around.  Try not to “negotiate”.  Instead, “collaborate” to get to yes.  We recommend spending a significant amount of time figuring out a development path for your new hire.  Career path is one of THE most important wants for these folks and very few practices have thought this through.  Your OnCall recruiter can help.


THE GOLDILOCKS PROBLEM

Be prepared to adjust your expectations.  There is no such thing as perfection.  After all, we are all human beings here.  If your objectives are unreasonable, you might let perfect be the enemy of great and waste huge amounts of time and money trying to fill unrealistic expectations.  Having an outside expert (like an OnCall recruiter) to help you sort through your expectations and create a plan to make the best of a great candidate can be invaluable.    Remember the “Fast, Cheap & Good” paradigm. You can pick any combination of 2, but you can’t get all three.


THE EQUITY TRAP

We can’t tell you how many practices offer up equity as a way to attract top talent.  THIS DOES NOT WORK – EVER.  First, every unicorn has been offered equity at some point along their path. But equity does not put food on the table and so many practices make the promise of opening multiple locations as something desirable.  Here’s the simple rule: Equity is a retention tool – it is not a recruiting tool.  If you want to go down this path, a “well defined & achievable” profit sharing plan will go a lot further in attracting top talent.  Once they have become a solid part of your team and you have demonstrated the kind of growth that makes equity attractive, you can create and ESOP (Employee Share Option Plan) that can work as a pair of golden handcuffs. Aka retention.  Again, here at OnCall, we can walk you through these different options and help you build a solid compensation plan for your practice overall.

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