Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Essential Hiring Checklist for the Mental Health Industry

In any industry, hiring can be as daunting as it is essential. When the stakes are high, as they are in the mental health industry, making good hiring decisions becomes even more key to success.

Here is a rundown of must-do steps when hiring a mental health professional to join your team.


1. Employment Verification

One of the most common must-do steps in any hiring process is employment verification. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most time-consuming steps.

Understanding an employee’s prior work experience is necessary during the hiring process for a few reasons. First, you want to see if their skills and experience are transferrable to your workplace. Would they be a good fit? Do they have the professional experience necessary to handle this role? Additionally, it helps you know for sure that they are providing truthful information.

Using an employment verification service to help check applicants’ employment history can save you time and frustration in this process. These screenings will provide all the necessary information you need to make an informed decision.

2. Prioritize Referrals

Did you know that referrals are four times more likely to be hired? That trend didn’t just come out of nowhere; there’s a good reason for it!

Asking for referrals from trustworthy staff members is an excellent way to vet applicants. If you receive referrals from current staff members for mental health positions, the candidate comes with a solid recommendation from the get-go.

Referrals can speed up the interview and application process and ensure that the candidate would be a good fit for your workplace culture.

3. Know your Clientele

It is essential to understand the demographics of your clientele if you’re going to make good hiring decisions. The vast majority of therapists working in the United States today are white women. And while many mental health professionals in this group are qualified to support a diverse population, not all clients will feel comfortable seeking therapy from someone of a specific race or gender.

Some clients may want to work with someone of a similar identity because that person can better understand their lived experience. In other cases, a client may want to avoid certain therapists to prevent being triggered when working through deep-rooted traumas.

There are a million reasons that a client may want to work with a therapist of a specific race, gender, ability, or lived experience. The more you understand the population you serve, the more you can hire according to their needs.

4. Ask for Diverse References

When hiring in any industry, it’s always a good idea to ask for references. But when hiring a mental health professional, you may want to be more specific about the type of references you want. Would you like references from former colleagues or employers? What about former clients?

Consider what you’re trying to learn by requesting references because—especially in the mental health industry—the types of references you receive can showcase various perspectives on a candidate.


With preparation and diligence before you post a job listing, you can minimize the burden of hiring. Find the perfect candidate with these essential steps!