By Libby Rothschild, CEO of Dietitian Boss; follow her on LinkedIn.
Are you ready to hire your first staff member, but you have no idea where to start? Or maybe you have staff already, but not everyone has a written job description—also called a job spec—and you feel like are wasting time and energy? Today’s article will address step by step what a job description looks like and why you need them for every role on your team so you can set up your private practice to scale.
Firstly, job descriptions are hugely important to create clarity within your business, help manage performance and decrease liability in your private practice. A job description describes general tasks or related duties for the role and responsibility of a position. Without job descriptions, you could struggle to manage your energy and budget.
So, here are six steps to creating a job description:
1. Determine the job title.
A job title uses keywords to explain the role the candidate will perform. For example, an entry-level job title for your private practice could be “office manager,” “virtual assistant” or “operations manager.” A management title will be needed as your business scales. Examples of management titles include “director of marketing,” “sales manager” or “chief operating officer.” Typically, when hiring your first staff member, you’ll start with entry-level titles.
2. Highlight basic information about your company.
Your job description serves as a marketing tool for your business. Adding your company information is a chance to share how you shine. List your mission, vision and values. Describe what you stand for and describe the attractive parts about working in your company. For example, do you value social justice and advocacy? Make sure that your values come across in your job description.
3. Include a summary of the role.
Listing out the expectations and summary of the role is one of the more time-intensive parts of writing a job description. Assuming that you have thought about what the company needs and conducted a time audit to assess resources you should know what the expectations are for how this role can best support the company. If not, go back to your budget and vision and conduct a time audit to reflect gaps that support growth. Common needs include administrative, finance, marketing or support with clients.
4. Address job duties, as well as necessary qualifications and skills.
Be sure to list the tasks you need the person to do, any skills you require and the time commitment needed. Make sure responsibilities are specific, clear and, if possible, measurable. For example, for an employee management role, one responsibility could be “monitor the labor budget and ensure the budget for labor is within 10% of the set monthly budget.” The more precise you are in the job description, the more likely you are to attract qualified candidates.
You can also list “nice to have” qualifications and skills, but if it’s mandatory for the applicant to use a certain tool or have comprehensive knowledge on a subject that needs to be listed in the job description.
5. Have a call to action.
If candidates need to apply via a certain link or fill out a form, you need to clearly state what you want them to do. Some business owners qualify applicants by asking them to apply and add a special character or statement that shows that the applicant read the full application. This tactic can help you identify people who are serious when applying for the role.
6. Explain who is not a good fit.
When you know your company culture, you can more clearly share who would be a great fit to work with you. For example, if you are a fast-paced company and expect a certain working style you would want to communicate that in the job description. If you want employees to advocate for environmentalism, say that. Another example of listing who the position isn’t for would be telling people that if they need close supervision to complete a task, they are not a fit for the role of director or manager. It’s important to relay what traits are unique to you instead of general things like showing up on time or “working hard.”
Writing a job description takes work—it’s often one of the harder parts of hiring outside of narrowing down the top candidates. When you rush the process, you risk setting yourself up for resource management issues in the long term.