How to hire a Clinical Psychologist

We’ve noticed that many organisations are really struggling to hire clinical psychologists and we would like to help! Here at RESET, we are a team of Psychologists and Assistant Psychologists, therefore we are experienced in hiring clinical psychologists and helping organisations to implement high-quality mental health services. Here is some handy knowledge on how you can recruit a clinical psychologist that is suitable for your organisation. 

Why there’s a shortage of psychologists

Firstly many companies might be wondering, why is it so hard to hire a clinical psychologist. There are several reasons why organisations are currently struggling to hire clinical psychologists. Demand for psychologists has increased massively, especially since the pandemic but unfortunately, the supply cannot meet this. Psychologists have recently been added to the shortage occupation list by the Migration Advisory Committee, highlighting there is a national shortage of psychologists.

The increasing demand isn’t the only reason there is a shortage of clinical psychologists. The pathway to becoming a psychologist is extremely long and difficult. The course you need to undertake to become a clinical psychologist is incredibly competitive with only a 15% success rate. 

Due to the competitive nature of the qualification, many aspiring psychologists have to volunteer their time for free to get enough experience to get onto the course. This means that those from disadvantaged or marginalised backgrounds have less opportunity to get onto the course. 

When clinical psychologists do finally qualify, although the salary is good, they would have spent many years before qualifying on relatively low pay. Clinical psychologists have a much larger earning capability when they set up their own private practice rather than working for other organisations such as the NHS. Because the demand for psychologists is so high many people will pay higher prices to see private psychologists!

This is why it has become increasingly difficult to hire clinical psychologists. If you are struggling, however, here is how you can get started so you can get the right fit for your team.

Be prepared to offer training and to spend time with your new hire

The shortage of professional psychologists also means that you might end up hiring someone quite new or inexperienced. This can be a wonderful opportunity to train young psychologists helping them become highly qualified professionals. Build on their enthusiasm and new ideas to deliver great service. Here at RESET, we believe that “your success is our success”. We take our co-workers’ victories very seriously and that applies to all levels, from management to new hires and volunteers. What that means is simply that we strive to create a safe environment where people feel comfortable making mistakes and learning from them. We have a culture of listening and communicating. We exchange feedback constructively and we reassure one another when needed.

Any clinical psychologist, experienced or not, will need the space to settle into their new position. Employees need to feel supported by management, otherwise, that can negatively impact the services you provide. A healthy work environment will inevitably impact the services delivered and, of course, any such issues will transpire during the recruitment process. 

Candidates pick up on red flags so make sure that you have your house in order before you invite anyone new in. Otherwise, you might miss out on great employees, not just great candidates.

Writing up your job advert and getting feedback from peers

It’s really important for you to ensure that your job advert makes the post look attractive. Due to the problems stated above your job advert will compete with many others online. 

Firstly, offer as much detail as you can. You might want to include your approach to therapy, the salary on offer and something about the company background. Candidates will want to know if they will be a good fit for your services. For example, if you provide CBT or a person-centred approach, that will be very important for the candidate. 

Additionally, of course, don’t forget to list the basic information such as job type, job description and responsibilities, who they would report to, qualifications and experience needed, any perks and benefits, detailed information about the application process, contact information and, finally, state clearly how to apply and the deadline for applications.

We recommend sending out the advert to those in your network who currently hold clinical psychologist positions. Ask them if they would take the job based on the advert. If the answer is no, ask them why. You want to know what attracted them to their current job and what would “woo” them in a job advert. If they answer “yes”, then ask what stood out the most for them. Positive and negative feedback are equally important at this stage. You want to focus on fixing what is wrong and doing more of what is right.

You can use Locum Agencies 

Locum Agencies specialise in locum (temporary) jobs in medicine. These agencies work with hospitals keeping track of all current vacancies, shifts, pay rates, etc. They can help you find clinical psychologists. However, they can be a bit expensive if you are a small organisation. Locum also tends to be a temporary solution so, if you are looking for someone permanent to train, agencies might not be the best alternative for you.

Although there aren’t loads, here are a few you can look through to get started:

  • Pulse jobs: have over 35 years of experience in healthcare staffing and provide specialist healthcare staff for the NHS and other large organisations. 
  • Pretemps Psychiatry: a specialist recruitment agency which provides psychiatric recruitment to the NHS and other large organisations. 
  • Globe Locums: specialist clinician-led healthcare recruitment with global reach, they can provide dispatch for both short and long-term contracts. 
  • MSI International: experts in international healthcare recruitment with access to a global talent pool.
  • A benefit of using an agency can mean that there is faster hiring and therefore it is easier to recruit. However, the use of these can be pricey and you may feel more comfortable having more say in the hiring process. 

You can use job sites such as Indeed to advertise your job

Job sites such as Indeed are great places to advertise your posts and reach out to potential candidates. Using job sites such as indeed can be beneficial as your pool of candidates can be large therefore giving you more choices. Indeed is visited by over 180 million job seekers every month! Potential candidates also get job alerts which means it can be easy for them to find your job opening. 

However sometimes using sites like Indeed can involve costs, if you want to sponsor your posts to reach more candidates you will have to pay which is something to keep in mind. Unfortunately, you cannot find out the price without signing up which may be something you want to consider! If you do not want to sponsor your post, however, it is free to post an advert. 

Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn and Networking

Estimates say that most jobs are filled through networking with 70% of jobs never being published publicly. If you are looking to hire a clinical psychologist, your best bet is to really go for the people you already know. Think about your former co-workers, former therapists, family members and friends. Chances are that someone in your network will know a clinical psychologist looking for a job. 

LinkedIn is also a great way to network and find potential candidates. You can reach out to people you think would be suitable for the role and get connected. Sometimes people might not realise they want a change in job until a new job is presented in front of them. 

If you are using LinkedIn just ensure that you don’t send a generic cut and pasted message to a potential candidate. It will look lazy and as if you are sending it to everyone, making it personalised will really help to get the message across that you think that specific individual is good for the role!

You could also reach out to those from your Linkedin connections who work in a similar field. They may know someone who is on the lookout for a new job!

Using LinkedIn and Networking to hire can have many benefits: when you hire someone within your network you usually already have a good idea of their skillset and how they work. If you already have LinkedIn you won’t need to spend time on any set-up, you can just get searching straight away! 

However, it can sometimes be difficult to work with people who you may already know so this is something to bear in mind before taking that step.

Get hiring

Here is a summary of the tips we shared above:

  • Ensure your job description makes your organisation attractive to potential employees and ask people in your network who hold clinical psychologist roles for feedback.
  • Reach out to your network, use LinkedIn or contact those that you know in the field.
  • If you are using LinkedIn, don’t cut and paste a generic message. Make it personalised to the person you are messaging!
  • Reach out to agencies to advertise your position.
  • Use sites like indeed to advertise posts. 

With the shortage of clinical psychologists, it can be difficult to find qualified professionals. However, in our experience here at RESET, this process does not have to be as daunting. Instead of making recruitment a tickbox exercise, we prefer to invest in people, we take the time to train them and we make sure they share our vision, that they are self-aware and keen to learn, that they work collaboratively and that they feel safe to say what they think. We invest in the long term, and that is the key to RESET’s success. Hopefully, by building a genuine relationship with your candidates first and following our practical tips second, you will find the right clinical psychologist for you.

Shannen Poulton is a Psychology BSc, MSc and Senior Assistant Psychologist at The RESET Health Group with over 5 years of experience in mental health services.

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How to hire a Clinical Psychologist