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Published: Jun 09, 2023 12 min read

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Finding the right psychiatrist for your team presents several challenges. Not only do you need someone with the right qualifications, but you also have to choose a candidate with long-term goal alignment and the same set of values.

If you’ve been trying to learn how to hire a psychiatrist who’s perfect for your team, this guide should help. Keep reading to learn how to hire a psychiatrist more efficiently and effectively, from writing a good job description to posting on a job search site like ZipRecruiter.

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What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental and behavioral health. They diagnose patients and treat them through therapy and medication prescriptions. Psychiatrists also play a role in preventing mental and behavioral health disorders, including substance abuse.

The main difference between psychiatrists and other mental health professionals is that they have a medical degree (M.D. or D.O.). This allows a psychiatrist to prescribe medication to address some of the unwanted mental and behavioral health symptoms that patients deal with, which therapists and psychologists aren’t able to do.

What does a psychiatrist do?

A psychiatrist’s goal is to help their patients manage and move on from unwanted mental and behavioral health symptoms. They do this through a variety of treatments, including:

  • Talk therapy
  • Medications
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Psychosocial interventions
  • And other forms of care, depending on the patient’s needs

Some psychiatrists only prescribe medication, while others also offer ongoing therapy. If your organization needs to find a psychiatrist, it should make clear the types of treatment the position would involve delivering to attract the right candidates.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you only want someone to provide therapy, hiring a psychiatrist may not be the right fit. In this scenario, you may be able to hire a therapist at a lower salary and still get the forms of care that you want.

How to hire a psychiatrist

Thanks to the proliferation of job boards, it’s never been easier to find great candidates online. When you post your job listing on a major job board like ZipRecruiter, the company will use resume scanning software to help you sort through the many resumes that candidates submit.

This guide covers everything from fine-tuning your job descriptions to zeroing in on the best recruiting software for your specific goals. Read on to get started.

Determine whether you need a general or specialist psychiatrist

The first step your organization should take is deciding which type of psychiatrist it would like to hire. Doing so will help you create job postings that attract more candidates with your preferred areas of expertise and treatment philosophies.

Here are some of the major types of psychiatrists you may want to consider focusing your search on:

  • General psychiatrists: These mental health experts see patients dealing with a variety of disorders. They have a well-rounded skill set that helps them address the needs of diverse patient populations.
  • Forensic psychiatrists: Forensic psychiatrists work within the legal process. They may be asked to evaluate whether a particular offender is competent to stand trial or assist law enforcement in crafting suspect profiles, among other crime-related tasks.
  • Pediatric psychiatrists: These psychiatrists work with children and adolescents who are experiencing mental health and behavioral problems. They use treatment strategies and medications that are approved for a younger audience.
  • Addiction psychiatrists: These professionals help people who are struggling with substance abuse issues and other addictive disorders.
  • Geriatric psychiatrists: Geriatric psychiatrists work with patients who are 60 or older and often help those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Some psychiatrists specialize in workplace mental and behavioral health challenges (occupational psychiatrists) and those who focus on the intersection of psychiatric care and other health fields (psychosomatic psychiatry).

Know which skills and qualifications are required for which you prefer

Once you know the type of psychiatrist your organization would like to hire, the next step is understanding the skills and qualifications to look for in candidates. All psychiatrists must possess an M.D. or D.O. degree and the licensure required to practice in your state.

Depending on the type of psychiatrist you want to hire, you may also want to consider factors such as:

  • Work or academic experience in a specific psychiatric niche
  • Experience working with certain patient populations (such as minors or seniors)
  • Demonstrated ability with certain tasks (such as crafting suspect profiles)

Your organization may also have requirements that extend beyond qualifications in the field of psychiatry. For example, you may be looking for a candidate who is willing to work nights and weekends. Or you might want to hire someone who has previously worked in a similar setting, such as with inmates or in a psychiatric institution.

The key here is taking some time to evaluate the most important qualifications for your specific psychiatrist hiring goals so that you can personalize a psychiatrist job description template that attracts more of the right type of candidate.

Start your candidate search

At this stage, you’re ready to begin looking for qualified applicants. Here are a few ways to find them.

Job board sites

A good first step is to review the best job posting sites for employers and publish your job opening on them. Applicants across the country use these sites to find new employment opportunities. They may also help your position with SEO marketing.

When a psychiatrist in your location searches “full-time jobs near me,” your job posting may be returned as a result. The more of these sites you post on, the higher your chances of attracting qualified applicants through online searches.

Medical school partnerships

Another strategy you may want to consider is forming partnerships with medical schools in your region. These schools graduate new psychiatrists yearly and are often happy to partner with local employers wanting to hire them.

Forming a relationship with medical schools in your area may reduce the cost of hiring an employee by minimizing your marketing costs. You’ll also be one of the first to hear about a qualified new applicant, which could help you attract top talent more consistently.

However, medical school partnerships may only be a good fit if you anticipate having multiple psychiatrist jobs to fill in the coming years. It will be difficult to form a strong, mutually beneficial relationship if this is a one-time hiring need.

Networking and referrals

Despite the advent of online job sites, classic networking and referrals are still in style. You may be able to leverage your existing professional network to find a great candidate that you might not have discovered through an online job posting. You can use this strategy by attending or sponsoring psychiatric mixers in your area and through online networking via LinkedIn.

Career pages

Your company’s website is another avenue through which you may be able to attract qualified psychiatric job applicants. Candidates who are interested in your company may visit your website to see if you’re hiring. This is why it’s important to have a strong career page.

If you think your site’s careers section could use some work, take a look at our guide covering how to create a better career page. It provides helpful strategies you can use to increase your conversion rates.

Interview qualified candidates

As you spread the word about your job opening, applications will begin rolling in. Your next task will be to separate the qualified candidates from the rest and schedule interviews with them.

You’ll want to ask a variety of professional and behavioral interview questions during these initial meetings. Here are some samples to get you started:

  • What’s your work philosophy? This question will give you a general overview of how an applicant approaches their work. It can help determine if their core beliefs align with your organization.
  • When there are several treatment options for a patient, how do you choose which one to use? This question provides insight into an applicant’s thought process when treating patients. Asking it helps you determine whether an applicant’s approach fits with your organization’s existing methodology.
  • What's your philosophy on prescribing medication? Treatment centers may differ in how they approach prescribing medication for mental health disorders. This question will help you determine whether your company's philosophies align with a candidate's.
  • What are your short and long-term career goals? This question is designed to determine if an applicant is a long-term fit for your organization and how likely you may be to lose them to another opportunity.

As you go through this process, it may be helpful to use an applicant tracking system (ATS) that can help you keep track of your interviews. We have a guide covering the best practices for using an ATS if you’d like to learn more.

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Hire the best-fit candidate

With your interviews completed, hire the applicant that you think is the best fit for your open position. As a final checklist, here are some of the factors you may want to consider while making this decision:

  • Academic and professional background
  • Personality and fit
  • Salary requirements
  • Long-term career goals
  • Approach to the field of psychiatry
  • Area of expertise

Before making your final decision, you may also want to look up the best background check sites to ensure the person has no deal-breaking issues. It’s also never a bad idea to review how to retain employees to give your organization the best chance of keeping this employee long-term.

Psychiatrist FAQ

What are the total hiring costs for psychiatrists?

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Your hiring costs will depend on where you post your job opening. Some sites use a pay-per-click model, while others charge a flat fee. You may be able to reduce your costs by looking for psychiatrists on free job posting sites, your company's website or through offline networking and referrals.

How much do psychiatrists make?

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median psychiatrist salary is $226,850. However, you may be able to pay a candidate less if you live in a state with a low cost of living and are hiring someone with minimal experience or you may have to pay more than the median salary if you want to hire an experienced psychiatrist in an area with a high cost of living.

Psychologist vs psychiatrist: What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

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The main difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is the ability to prescribe medication. Psychiatrists have medical degrees (M.D., D.O) that allow them to do this, whereas psychologists typically have a master's degree or Ph.D.

Can a psychiatrist prescribe medication?

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A psychiatrist is a full medical doctor, who can prescribe medication just as any other doctor could. They may not always choose to do so, especially if a patient doesn't want medication for their condition, but they are legally allowed to do so when the situation calls for it.

Do psychiatrists do therapy?

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Some psychiatrists do therapy, while others don't. Psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication, so many focus exclusively on this while leaving therapy to psychologists and other professionals. If you want to hire a psychiatrist, you should specify whether you want them to also perform therapy.

Psychiatrist vs therapist: How are they different?

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Therapists use talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and other kinds of treatment to help their patients deal with unwanted mental and behavioral problems. Psychiatrists may also do this but can prescribe medication to address some of these problems, whereas therapists can't.

Summary of Money's how to hire a psychiatrist

When hiring a psychiatrist, it’s important to find someone who has the right background and is a good fit for your organization. The process begins by making your job availability known through the right channels.

You’ll also need to ask the right questions during interviews and make a hiring decision based on the factors that matter most to your company. The tips included throughout this guide will help you do that more efficiently and effectively.

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