Writing an Effective Job Advertisement

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Explore how to write a job ad that will capture the attention of top talent

By Pam Chakraborty

The first step to a successful hire is getting the right people in the door in the first place.

An effective job advertisement can be the defining factor that determines whether the right people find and apply to your practice or whether they pass you by. This article explores the dual efforts of writing the ad itself and the interview process, and what tactics can help increase the odds that you’ll find your ideal fit.

THE RIGHT PERSON

When writing a job ad, it’s important to convey a sense of how you want the work to “feel.” Is it important to you that the office be crisp and professional? Laid back? Some people look at their work as a mission, and those job ads should reflect that. It’s an exercise in matching the right person — the whole person — including skills, experience, and what they desire from an employer beyond the paycheck and benefits.

WRITING A SUCCESSFUL JOB AD

Writing a job ad warrants spending time crafting your ad so that you appeal to candidates who have the skills and personality that will best fit with your team. If your clinic is newly opened, you may want a front desk person with more experience so that they can give feedback on things that have worked at other places. If you are looking to shake things up and do something different, you may want someone with limited experience so that they don’t come with preconceived ideas of how things should be. I have broken the job ad into eight sections and will go into some detail about each one.

The Job Title and Date That You are Accepting Applications

The job title needs to be descriptive of what the job entails, but you can also make it stand out by adding a fun twist. Think about the type of person you would like to work with you. For example, if you want a rule follower who sticks to traditional tasks, you might want to stick with recruiting for a “Front Desk Associate.” If you want to find someone who is more adventurous and who will participate in developing company culture, help plan staff appreciation parties, or design customer engagement activities, you might choose a different title. You want to make the timeframe for applications long enough to get several applicants but not so long that you lose good applicants because they have already found another job.

Review for Authenticity

Write a paragraph about your company and what you do. Do you have a mission or vision? Are you looking to set yourself apart from similar companies and if so, what are you striving to accomplish? Give a name, email, and phone number for the person that the applicant should contact if they have questions.

What You Want in an Applicant

Have a paragraph that explains what you are really looking for in this position. Do you need someone who wants to work in a collaborative team environment? Do they need to be flexible as the position and company are growing? End with a statement with why they should apply. For example, a statement like, “Have fun coming to work with people interested in keeping ourselves and others healthy…” helps illustrate why they might like working with you.

Basic Qualifications

Clearly list the basic qualifications the applicant should have, though beware of making things too specific as you don’t want to discourage people from applying. If you would like a certain level of education, you might want to add a statement that equivalent experience is acceptable. Try to avoid personality traits that may be associated with a specific gender. Instead of saying “strong,” state that the job requires you to lift 50 pounds or stand for multiple hours at a time. Note software proficiency requirements, such as experience with specific programs. Do they need to commit to ongoing training on key topics such as privacy, ethics, HIPAA, etc.? You may also add “other duties as assigned” at the end of the list just to allow for flexibility in the future as job duties inevitably grow and change with the company’s needs.

Desired Qualifications

If you have things that you do not feel are absolutely necessary in an applicant but would be helpful or are preferred, include a second list. This could be a special software that your company uses or a specific type of equipment. It could be something that you would ultimately like the position to entail but maybe the company isn’t there yet. You could also include things about other languages or knowledge of other cultures. You may have set your clinic in a community that has typically been underserved. It would be helpful to have someone familiar with the community.

Benefits of Employment

List the basics such as pay, benefits, hours, leave, etc. You may also want to include a couple of sentences that explain why they should work for you and not the person down the street. Do you have great team building events, do they have flexibility in hours, is there a childcare facility next door, do you provide a gym membership to help them stay healthy? What perks can you offer someone?

Equal Employment Opportunity

After writing the job ad, there is one obvious step that many people miss: read it like an applicant or have someone else read it. Would he or she be interested in working at the place and job described? Ideally, an honest friend or a friend who owns a similar clinic/business can read it and tell you if it seems like it is true. Something that doesn’t “feel” true to you won’t feel true to potential employees.

INTERVIEWING APPLICANTS

Once you have a list of applicants, decide how you are going to pick those who will be interviewed. Do you have a point system where you assign points to each of the required and desired skills? Do you first go through the applicants and see if anyone applied did not meet the requirements? Are you requiring a cover letter? If yes, do you base your decision on how well the letter was written and then you look at the resumes? There are many ways to go about hiring, but you want to be consistent and have a clear idea before you begin the process.

The Interview Process

After deciding on your applicants to interview, you need to prepare for the actual interview. Are you doing a panel interview where there are preset questions and answers with a point system? Are you going to do an informal interview to start with just the hiring manager followed by a more formal interview with other members of the team? Is there a written exam, after which you take the top x percent of applicants to interview?

Clinic owners advertise for both clinical and administrative staff, and while the needs of these positions are different, the job ad will contain similar information. You need to have a clear idea of what your company needs and where you want it to grow before you create a job ad. It is also helpful to put together training manuals or, at the very least, a checklist of tasks that you want to make sure you walk through with the new hire. Make sure that you have all the required employment forms including those for the benefits or perks that you are offering. Have it all together in a folder so that you can hand it to the applicant on the first day.

PREPARE FOR SUCCESS

The right job ad takes time to master, but incorporating all of the elements outlined here, followed by a thought-out interview process, can help ensure you reach the right applicants. 

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Pam Chakraborty, a management systems analyst, has 20+ years of experience interviewing, hiring, and onboarding staff.

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