Tips for Hiring a Chiropractic Associate

If you’re a practice owner, hiring a chiropractic associate offers some great advantages for you and your practice. Bringing an associate on board can allow you to expand your patient base and practice hours. An associate can also help free up your time to focus on critical practice management responsibilities. Hiring an associate might also help you begin to develop a successful exit strategy.

Whatever the reason you may be considering adding a chiropractic associate to your practice, one thing is certain: finding an individual who is a good fit when it comes to philosophy, approach, and experience can be challenging.

The key to any good hiring process is preparation. While there are some planning basics that work across any hiring effort, there are also considerations specific to chiropractic practices that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Below are some useful tips for hiring a chiropractic associate. We’ve outlined steps to help you prepare for the search process, along with a set of suggested interview questions you can use to assess your candidates.

How to Prepare for the Search Process

A critical step in the hiring process takes place before you ever engage with a candidate. It involves you, and perhaps other members of your current team, carefully thinking through (and writing down) your hiring goals, and what you expect and need from an associate.

Start with these considerations and then add your own as needed:

  1. Create a description of what a “good fit” looks like in an associate:
    Experience level, patient care philosophy, career goals, CV, personality are just some of the possible considerations — you may have others.
  2. Consider how you’ll measure a successful outcome: Growth of patient base, number of returning patients, practice income growth, and patient feedback are just some of the possible considerations.
  3. Consider how much time you want to devote to training a new associate: This will help you determine how much experience you want in your potential candidates. Do you have the time and interest to mold and train an associate or are you comfortable allowing them to introduce their style to the practice?
  4. Determine how hours and patients will be divided up between you and a new associate: If you’ve never worked with an associate, you may not have considered this balance of responsibilities. How much work are you looking for the associate to take on? How will you divide hours and patient load?

What to Share and Discuss During the Search

In the early steps of your search, you’ll be reviewing candidates on paper, and conducting initial phone interviews. But once you’re able to cut down the selection to a smaller field of a few candidates to interview in person, you’ll need to discuss the details of the position in much greater detail – and also ask your most critical questions.

Among the key topics to discuss with serious candidates are:

  1. Compensation: At the in-person interview stage, candidates will want a clear understanding of how and what they will be paid, including your stance on bonuses, path to promotion or higher pay, and other benefits.
  2. Patient Load & Assignments: Candidates will want to know what to expect in terms of patient load and responsibilities. It’s important to understand how referrals will be assigned and also how “cold” calls, that come through your website, for example, will be divided up.
  3. Options for Practice Buy-In: It’s important for candidates to hear your stance on this issue. They need to understand your financial expectations regarding an associate upon hire and also their future opportunities to invest in the practice.

Interview Questions to Ask Chiropractic Associate Candidates

Here’s the most important tip for hiring a chiropractic associate: keep in mind that CVs only tell part of the story when it comes to identifying the ideal candidate. The goal of your in-person interviews is to gain a more in-depth understanding of the person behind the resume.

In addition to exploring their experience and background in greater detail, you’ll want to focus on the candidate’s a) patient philosophy, b) treatment philosophy, c) practice proficiencies and knowledge, and d) career goals. It’s also important to include questions that tap into who they are as a person to ensure they’ll mesh well with your team.

Here are a number of potential interview questions under each of the categories. Of course, you’ll want to add a few of your own that are particular to your practice needs.

Patient Philosophy

  1. How would you explain the value of chiropractic care to a new patient?
  2. Describe your most challenging case as a chiropractor? How did you handle it?
  3. What are some of your most valuable skills when it comes to patient care?
  4. How do think a patient would describe you as a chiropractor?
  5. How would you discuss options with a patient who insists they need a spinal adjustment when you believe they need other forms of treatment?
  6. How would you handle a situation where your patient wasn’t satisfied with your treatment and said they were still in pain?

Treatment Philosophy

  1. What do you see as the most valuable aspects of chiropractic?
  2. What are some of your most valuable skills when it comes to treatments?
  3. Which methods of spinal treatment do you feel are most effective?
  4. Which cases have motivated you most in your career?
  5. A patient has just been in a car accident and has neck and back pain. How do you begin to care?
  6. Tell about a time when you had to refer a patient to a physician or specialist. Who did you recommend and why?

Practice Proficiency

  1. What information software have you used? Describe your proficiency level(s).
  2. How do you like to track patient progress? (Notes, dictation, patient feedback, etc.)
  3. What types of treatment and diagnostic equipment are you familiar with?
  4. You have a patient that likes to talk or one you know personally. How do you move the appointment along without making them feel rushed or slighted?

General Practice Knowledge

  1. Are you already familiar with our practice?
  2. What do you feel are the qualities of a great chiropractic practice? How would you recognize one if you saw it?
  3. What’s been your experience as a chiropractic patient, if any? What sticks in your mind about how you were cared for and treated?

Personal Attributes & Goals

  1. What do you feel are your greatest strengths as a chiropractic professional?
  2. What are your career goals?
  3. Why do you feel you’re a good fit for this practice? Why do you want to work for me?
  4. What motivated you to become a chiropractor?
  5. Which of your traits make you an outstanding chiropractor?
  6. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed at work?

Get the Practice Protection You Need as You Grow

Now that you’ve explored our tips for hiring a chiropractic associate, you’re ready to take the next step to grow your practice! We’re here to help along the way. Reach out to our team to make sure you have all the malpractice protections and risk management strategies in place that you’ll need.


This document does not constitute legal or medical advice and should not be construed as rules or establishing a standard of care. Because the facts applicable to your situation may vary, or the laws applicable in your jurisdiction may differ, please contact your attorney or other professional advisors if you have any questions related to your legal or medical obligations or rights, state or federal laws, contract interpretation, or other legal questions. 

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