Don’t Make These Hiring Mistakes


Medical coders are the engines that drive the entire field of healthcare. Without careful, accurate coding, everyone from the patient, to the provider, to the payer gets less out of the process. For that reason, you need to vet your coding staff thoroughly and only hire professionals that you have complete confidence in. Avoid the consequences of making a bad hire by looking for these five red flags when hiring medical coders.

Lack of Specific Experience

Effective medical coding requires a few general skills and a lot of specific skills. Ideally, you will find a candidate who has worked in the specific discipline you’re recruiting for – surgery, primary care, etc. What is more likely, however, is that you’ll be contacted by candidates who have experience, but not the right kind. You should not write these candidates off entirely, just be aware that the amount of training necessary and the timeline for productivity will both increase.

Shallow Educational Credentials

Every candidate that contacts you is likely to have some kind of training in coding. What is important is investigating the nature of this training. There is a big difference between a two-week training course and an actual degree program that includes coding certification. Be sure to examine a candidate’s educational credentials carefully, and be wary of any candidate who has graduated from a program/institution you have not heard of.

Disinterest in Professional Development

The field of medical coding is in an almost constant state of evolution, and recent developments have changed things dramatically. The best professionals stay relevant and productive in spite of this evolution by making professional development a priority. If you connect with a candidate who seems unmotivated to grow their skill set, they are unlikely to be a good hire over the long term.

Poor Fit for Office Culture

You want a candidate with good coding skills, who is also a good fit for your team. Someone who has amazing credentials but doesn’t reflect the culture you’ve cultivated in your office is likely to cause conflicts. During the interview, try to get a sense of the candidate as a person, not just as a coder.

Bad Recommendations and Test Scores

You should rely on objective information when making hiring decisions. Instead of trusting the candidate’s claims entirely, reach out to their professional references. Take things a step farther by giving the candidate an on-the-spot coding test. If these evaluation tools reveal deficiencies in a candidate’s skills or character, you should give that information a lot of weight when choosing who to hire.

You only have so much time and so many resources to vet a candidate. If your HR department is stretched thin and you’re struggling to find impressive talent, consider taking on a staffing partner. They can do the heavy lifting involved in the candidate search and deliver you a short list of top talent. Before you make your next hiring decision, connect with the team at MedPartners.