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Finding the perfect phlebotomist for your team can be more complicated than you expect. You don’t just need to know how to find great candidates with the right qualifications; you also want to find someone who is a good fit for your team.
This guide is designed to tell you everything you need to know about how to hire phlebotomists that meet both of these criteria, from writing a job description and posting on a job search site like ZipRecruiter, which generates over 685k job seeker profiles a month*. Keep reading to learn more.
What is a phlebotomist?
A phlebotomist is a medical professional who specializes in the act of drawing blood. They’re responsible for collecting and preparing blood for testing, which may be necessary for a variety of medical situations.
Phlebotomists work in a variety of settings, including:
- Clinics and hospitals
- Community health centers
- Assisted living facilities
- Private practice doctor’s offices
- Blood donation centers
What does a phlebotomist do?
Phlebotomists are commonly hired to perform blood transfusions and donations. They collect blood samples through venipuncture, finger pricks and heel punctures, among other techniques.
It’s the phlebotomist's job to make the patient as comfortable as possible throughout the blood drawing process. Once this is complete, the employee will take steps to preserve the sample for later testing.
Some of the other tasks someone in this role may be assigned include:
- Verifying a patient’s identity and health information before proceeding with the blood draw
- Sanitizing and maintaining the equipment used for the blood drawing process
- Helping patients who experience adverse reactions during and after blood draws
- Maintaining and tracking blood samples
- Assisting other medical professionals in the practice
When considering hiring a phlebotomist, it’s worth asking if another type of medical professional may be a better fit. For example, nurses and other medical specialists are also trained in the act of drawing blood and the practice of maintaining samples for testing.
Hiring one of these workers may bring more versatility to your organization but could also increase the salary you need to pay. Phlebotomists, on the other hand, can typically only help with the blood drawing process but may be available at a lower salary.
How to hire a phlebotomist
Your phlebotomist hiring process will be more efficient if you prepare for it before beginning. The following tips will help you get more out of your phlebotomist job description template (ZipRecruiter has a good one), interviews and the rest of the hiring journey.
Know the phlebotomist requirements for employment in your state
A good first step is to ensure you’re aware of the employment requirements for phlebotomists in your state. These vary from state to state but often include the following requirements.
Phlebotomists typically complete either an associate’s degree in phlebotomy or a short certificate program through an accredited institution, such as a community college. Associate’s degrees generally take two years to earn, whereas certification programs can often be completed in under a year.
Phlebotomists only have specific education requirements in states that have a phlebotomy certification process. As of today, that’s only the case in California, Colorado, Illinois and Louisiana.
In all other states, aspiring phlebotomists will need to complete a qualified training program in order to have a chance at employment. But there is no specific coursework that must be completed before a new phlebotomist can begin working with patients.
Licensing and certification
California, Colorado, Illinois and Louisiana are the only states with licensing requirements for phlebotomists. Although the process differs a bit from state to state, it typically involves:
- Earning a phlebotomist degree or certificate from an accredited institution
- Gaining hands-on experience in the workplace
- Passing a written exam
If you plan on hiring a phlebotomist in one of these four states, you will need to choose an applicant who possesses all of the requisite licensing and certifications. Otherwise, the person you hire won’t be able to perform blood draws in your clinic.
Many phlebotomist training programs require applicants to be immunized against certain bloodborne pathogens. You may wish to require the same as an employer. Some examples of commonly required immunizations include:
- Hepatitis B
Finally, states with licensure requirements also typically require background checks for aspiring phlebotomists. These checks look into a candidate’s past to see if they have ever exhibited concerning behavior that may make them a poor candidate for working directly with patients. You may wish to use one of the best background check sites to conduct similar tests before making your hiring decision.
Determine your scheduling needs
After familiarizing yourself with your state’s phlebotomy employment requirements, you can start considering other factors that matter in your employment search. Your scheduling needs will likely be one of these factors.
At this point, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with applicant tracking systems (ATS). Using an ATS can help you track all of the candidates who apply to your future job postings so that you can quickly identify things like who is able to meet your scheduling needs and who isn’t.
Decide how much experience and which skills your ideal candidate should possess
The next step when hiring for phlebotomist jobs is determining the specific skills and types of experience you would like your new hire to possess. This will vary based on your needs. For example, if hiring for a supervisory phlebotomist job, you would likely want someone with at least several years of experience.
There may also be certain unique skills or types of experience that are important for your job. For instance, if you run a clinic that regularly treats children and young adults, you may wish to hire someone with experience serving this patient population.
Find qualified phlebotomists
Now that you have a good sense of what a strong hiring process looks like, it’s time to begin searching for qualified candidates. There are many resources you can use to find them, including each of the following.
Your company’s career page is one of the main resources people view when they’re interested in working for you. It’s worth updating yours with your phlebotomist job opportunity to make sure qualified candidates know to submit their applications if they visit your site.
Creating a better career page for your website can help you cut through the noise and stand out to your most qualified applicants.
Job board sites
You can also find candidates for your position on the best job posting sites for employers. Many qualified people searching for full-time jobs use job posting sites as a primary resource, so you'll want to be well-positioned on these sites.
It’s best to post on a variety of job board sites to ensure that as many qualified applicants as possible see your opening. Just keep in mind that these sites charge fees, so you will have to balance those charges against the likelihood of finding a phlebotomist you want to hire on each job board.
If you try the other methods and can’t find the right fit, it may be time to consider using a staffing agency to help you fill your position. Staffing agencies do the hard work of searching for and vetting qualified phlebotomists on your behalf.
The issue with staffing agencies is they charge a percentage of the hired employee’s first-year salary. That can amount to thousands of dollars. If you don’t want to spend that much, researching the best recruiting software and choosing one that meets your needs is a possible alternative.
Start the interview process
At this point, you’re ready to begin the interview process. It will be important to ask both skill-based and behavioral interview questions to get the full picture of every candidate. Here are some sample phlebotomist interview questions to get you started:
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years? This question will help you determine how likely an applicant is to remain on your team long-term.
- Tell me about a time a patient fainted while in your care. How did you respond? Patients may faint while your phlebotomist is working with them. This question helps you understand how each applicant will respond to this critical scenario.
- What do you do when you can’t find a vein? This question gives you some insight into how effectively a candidate can problem-solve in the moment.
- Tell me about your process for maintaining sanitary conditions. Sanitation is very important to a phlebotomist’s work. This open-ended question will help you determine how thoroughly each applicant approaches it.
- What kinds of patients do you like working with most? Asking this question may be a good option if your practice deals with certain patient populations more than others, as it will help you determine if the candidate is a good fit for the patients you serve.
The question you ask should be designed to illuminate aspects of an applicant that you might not have been able to learn from their resume. You’re hiring a person, not a list of qualifications, and that person will need to fit with your existing team in order to generate the best results.
Hire a phlebotomist and begin the onboarding process
Now you’re ready to make a hiring decision. You can base your decision on whatever factors matter most to your employment needs, including:
- Salary and benefit considerations
- Scheduling availability
- Education, licenses and certifications
- Work experience
Once you’ve hired the new employee, you should conduct a thorough onboarding process to help them assimilate into your existing team. Hands-on phlebotomist training may also be necessary if the person doesn’t possess all of the skills they need to excel in their role.
As you go through the onboarding process, you may want to review online guides to ensure you’re doing all that you can to help your new employee thrive. You can review this guide covering how to document proper training for new employees to learn more. Or take a look at this guide focusing on how to retain employees to ensure you’re not forgetting anything during this critical phase of the hiring journey.
What is the cost to hire a phlebotomist?
How much does a phlebotomist make?
Where do phlebotomists work?
There are many different companies that hire phlebotomists. This includes hospitals, community health centers, emergency care facilities, blood drive centers and any other medical organization that consistently needs to draw blood from patients.
Phlebotomists spend most of their time working directly with patients in clinical settings. However, they also spend some of their days in labs, organizing and maintaining blood samples for other medical professionals to test.
Summary of Money's how to hire phlebotomists
Finding the right phlebotomist for your team starts with an understanding of the specific qualifications, skills and other intangibles that you want the new member of your team to possess. Be sure that you’re aware of your state’s licensing requirements for practicing phlebotomists as well.
Armed with that knowledge, you can begin marketing your job online through popular job boards, your company’s website and social media, among other channels. Conduct a thorough interview process and you should have no problem hiring a phlebotomist who meets your needs.
*ZipRecruiter internal data. Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2021