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How to hire (and retain) go-getters

Medical Economics JournalMedical Economics May 2023
Volume 100
Issue 5

There are two types of employees: go-getters and gonnas. To be successful, you need to hire the former.

There are two types of employees: the “go-getters” and the “gonnas.” The go-getters are those who have a clear vision of setting out to do something, giving it their all and accomplishing it. They do not need to be monitored. They are the first to arrive for a meeting or at work and the last to leave at the end of the day. They are self-starters and serve as role models. They are the ones who, when given a task, declare that they will do it and not try to get it done. The go-getters are the ones you want to hire and have on your team or in your practice.

Hiring: Image credit: ©Kerkezz -

Hiring: Image credit: ©Kerkezz -

On the other hand, the gonnas are the ones who are “gonna” get around to doing what you ask of them. They have excuses and reasons why they did not do what is expected. They are the ones who declare that they will try to do what is asked or expected of them. The gonnas must be led by the hand and constantly need reminding of task completion and deadlines. They are a drag on morale and you constantly ask, “Why did I hire this person?”

Who do you want on your team: the go-getters or the gonnas? This article will provide you with suggestions for identifying the go-getters and how to include them in your practice or on your team.

Go-getters think big

They have visions of themselves making great accomplishments. They have lofty goals and genuinely believe that they can achieve them. When interviewing a potential go-getter, ask where they want to be five and 10 years after they are accepted as an employee. Ask how many goals they have already achieved.

Go-getters are visible first thing in the morning and at the end of the day

Arriving before everyone else and leaving after the others have departed is not a pithy adage.
It marks the behavior of a go-getter. Ask a potential employee about their last job and what their typical day was like; when they started and ended their day. When doing a reference check, ask previous employers about the arrival and departure of the employee. This one character attribute will tell you about the discipline of the potential hire.

Go-getters keep score and reward themselves

Yes, it would be nice if your employees received daily or regular accolades about their performance. But this is not likely to happen. Consequently, go-getters recognize their own accomplishments and give themselves a pat on the back rather than waiting for others to acknowledge their success and achievements.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once had a sign in her chambers that said, “If you want a pat on the back, lean here!” I am sure that is why she was surrounded by go-getters not waiting for verbal compliments.

Go-getters have passion and fire in their bellies

Little can be accomplished if there is a lack of excitement about the job or the project. When trying to identify a go-getter, it is helpful to ask what they are passionate about. If there is no response, you may be interviewing a gonna. Passion and excitement are the hallmarks of a go-getter.

Go-getters are curious

At the end of the interview, ask the interviewee whether they have questions. If the answer is no, this is an indicator that they have little curiosity and may be a gonna, doing the minimum amount of work. If they did their homework, did some research about the practice on Google, looked at the walls of the office manager or the doctor where the interview takes place and asked questions about one of the diplomas, the artwork or even the mounted deer head on the wall, then you have learned about the level of curiosity of the potential new employee.

Go-getters are appreciative

If you receive a thank-you note in a timely fashion from the interviewer, especially if it is handwritten, you are likely to identify an employee who will be nice to patients, physicians and fellow staff members. Failure to receive a thank-you note is a sign of self-importance and lack of appreciation — i.e., you have discovered a gonna.

Bottom line: Good employees are hard to find, especially in this sellers’ marketplace. Ideally, you would like to have an entire staff of go-getters. By using a few of these suggestions, you can identify the go-getters. Remember, go-getters will get you to the top; gonnas will drag you down. So go for the go-getters and avoid gonnas at all costs.

Neil Baum, M.D., is a professor of clinical urology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Dr. Baum is the author of several books, including “Marketing Your Clinical Practice: Ethically, Effectively, Economically,” which has sold over 225,000 copies and has been translated into Spanish. He contributes a weekly video for Medical Economics on practical ideas to enhance productivity and efficiency in medical practices.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health