Step 3. Write an accurate and detailed job description
OK, now you’ve identified the need for a new practitioner in your practice and confirmed that you can support it. Next, you need to work on writing an accurate and detailed job description for the role.
Difference Between a Job Advert and a Job Description
A job ad and job description are often used interchangeably. However, we’re going to make a clear distinction between them here.
A job ad aims to “sell” the position and your practice to the potential candidate, enticing them to apply. Adverts are shorter and more straight to the point compared to a job description in order to grab the attention of the reader, which means you will include only the essential information.
A job description includes all the nitty-gritty details of the position, and thus is often a lot longer than an advert. It details exactly what the role entails, including the duties and tasks that may seem obvious, like “attending meetings”.
Simply put, if a job ad is used to entice the candidate to apply, then a job description is used to inform the candidate about the role.
We recommend that you distinguish their use in the following way:
In private practice, a job ad and description may typically be quite similar. However, we encourage you to spend time carefully developing each, with a different intent.
Write and use the job description as an internal guide. Use it to remind yourself what you need for your practice and expect from the new member. Importantly, use it as a guide to talk further about the position with the candidate during any follow-up phone calls or interviews.
Based on the job description, write and use the job ad as you typically would. Focus on highlighting the positive aspects about the role and the practice. Think of it as a short and punchy version of the job description.
How to write a job description
Your job description will serve as the bible for your recruitment process from this point onwards, so make sure it’s accurate, detailed and reflective of the needs of your practice. Once you’ve created a copy, you’ll be able to edit it based on your changing needs.
Include the following information in your simple job description:
A Job Title
The job title needs to reflect exactly what the role is. For example, instead of “Psychologist”, go with “Experienced Child Psychologist”.
Duties and Responsibilities
List the duties and responsibilities of the role. In order to cover all aspects of the job, imagine a typical day or week for this person.
Importantly, represent the amount of time expected to be dedicated to each task as a percentage. For example, if you’re hiring a practitioner with a strong focus on marketing tasks, their tasks may be split in the following way:
- Client sessions 50%
- Admin 20%
- Practice marketing 30%
This helps to:
- Manage the expectations of the candidate,
- Give them a good idea of how much they can expect to get paid as a contractor, and
- Help you visualise the contributions the new practitioner can make to the practice.
List the skills required to perform the duties of the role. Skills are specific to the tasks they need to perform, and can include their level of proficiency using industry-specific systems such as a practice management software. Another example of a skill is the ability to write compelling copy, if the practitioner is expected to participate in writing blogs.
Imagine the perfect person for the job and list the skills they would have to carry out their tasks to a high standard.
Distinguish between essential and desired skills.
Be specific about the level of experience required for this role. Think about the perfect person for the position – Do you need them to have had previous experience working in private practice? Can they be entry level?
Ensure that you’re being fair and realistic. If the position doesn’t require the practitioner to have years of experience under their belt, there is no reason to require it!
Distinguish between essential and desired type and level of experience.
Often, qualifications can be included in the Skills or the Experience section. However, if you have a list of qualifications that are a must for this position (as private practice positions often do), then we recommend having a separate section.
Distinguish between essential and desired qualifications.
A well-written job description will let the reader understand precisely what’s involved in the role and what’s expected of the candidate. It can also be used to evaluate their performance down the track against the standards initially set.
Evaluate your job description
Before moving onto the next step, first evaluate your job description with a critical eye.
Are the qualities and responsibilities reasonable to expect in one person? It’s important to remember that the ideal person may not exist. And if you write a job ad based on an unrealistic job description, you may not get a lot of applications.
Another question to ask when evaluating your job description is whether or not you still need this person. After writing down all tasks they’ll perform and the qualities they possess, are they really essential to your practice? Can they be achieved with existing resources or by improving internal processes and productivity?