Are Creating Job Descriptions Worth the Time and Effort?

Take time to invest in your practice

A well-written job description serves a multitude of purposes and the better it’s written, the more useful it can be to define the roles of employees in your practice. Consider how an athlete performs alone and then with each team member. Although the athlete may be the star, he/she needs their team mates to be victorious. A proper job description is a necessary element that helps to clearly define each team member’s role. It can specify key skill sets necessary—not only in employee’s role as a solo performer—but interacting with team members to help ensure group success.

job description and recruitment file binders

  • The practice manager and physician(s) should be charged with development of job descriptions. These individuals understand what is needed from employees.
  • Although job description creation can be time-consuming, once completed each job summary can be tweaked to fit individual needs.

Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes
Crafting a written job description starts with the title of the position, location, and required (or preferred) education and experience. Present the job function and responsibilities clearly, and in an appealing tone. Encourage potential candidates to apply for the position.

Be succinct. Avoid lengthy, verbose job descriptions. If the candidate is reading a three-page job description, chances are they will talk themselves out of applying for the position. They may conclude they are not qualified, or feel intimidated.

Leave out details best discussed in person. For instance, if you are unclear about the hours, don’t write, “hours vary,” because it is unclear, and most people may be put off. Instead, when the candidate comes to the interview, take that time to explain (for example) that a couple of days each week, the office hours are extended. The benefit of an in person conversation with a candidate is during that time they have developed a “feeling” about the interviewer and the practice. Often, discussing working later hours in this way resolves what could have become an “issue” in writing.

Do not include compensation specifics. Even providing a pay range can be tricky. Decisions regarding a candidate’s pay should ultimately come done to their experience and current pay.

  • Scenario. A medical assistant (MA) with great experience makes $15 an hour. However, if the job description states the pay as $14 an hour, the MA will probably not apply.

Save the compensation discussion for the face-to-face interview. Employers have to be willing to pay candidates what they are worth. The only way an employer can place a value on a prospective employee is to review their resume, meet in person, and have that discussion about experience.

Practice size matters
Take into consideration the size of your practice before writing the job description. Does the position require the employee to multitask, provide backup on certain days, or share responsibilities that overlap? A potential candidate whose only experience is working in a large practice may not fit well in a small practice setting. Including a brief practice description can help potential candidates understand practice size and patient volume. 

Investment for your practice
When an employee leaves your practice without giving much notice, the job description(s) you’ve created can help you fill the position quickly and efficiently. Think of job descriptions as an investment in your practice. You can fill jobs when you know what you are looking for, and you can attract better candidates. Job descriptions are worth the time and effort for you and your practice.

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Updated on: 09/22/16

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