This article was prepared after dealing with two vacancies for practice managers in two medium sized practices.
“A Jack of All Trades”
When applying to be a GP Practice Manager, a ‘Jack of All Trades’ is required. Your ability to delegate work to others will depend on the Practice size, the number of doctors, and the number and skills of the staff already employed. The job description should reveal the type of work and skills needed, but usually that is only half the story. The salary and terms and conditions may not be the same as mainstream NHS staff.
- Don’t elaborate. The employer may have to go through loads of applications. Provide enough relevant information. Don’t add extra pages.
- Use your Spell checker. Reveal how much time you’ve spent gaining your experience. Add a section detailing your skills. Say what payroll, accounts and GP clinical system software packages you are familiar with. GP Practices may prefer you to be registered as a patient elsewhere if you accept the post. You must undergo a CRB/DBS check and provide a copy to the Practice.
Communications in the NHS
- Be able to use emails. You may need to submit your application via email. It speeds up communications and shows whether you are proficient in using the Internet.
- Lots of applicants. An employer may receive a large number of applications. It’s not possible to shortlist all applicants. A harsh but fair shortlisting exercise is required.
- Selection of the ‘fittest’. Employers set criteria to mark applications against.
- Transferable employment skills. The employer might consider transferrable skills. It must always be accepted that employees can always learn new tricks.
- Scoring applicants. The employer must make a shortlist, normally by marking applications against the pre-determined criteria. A final shortlist of 5 or 6 candidates is drawn up and invitations sent out.
- Don’t expect reasons for not being shortlisted. It would not be practicable to give each candidate not shortlisted a personal explanation why.
The Final Say – 10 points
- Use the application form provided
- Submit a two-page CV
- Make sure you’re available for an interview
- Don’t send testimonials
- Be clear when your References can be taken
- Use one email address preferably in your name
- Find out about the job
- If contacting the employer, do it during working hours
- Don’t ask if you’ve been shortlisted yet
- Only ask why you did not get the job if you are interviewed
Interviews take different formats. A one-to-one interview is quite rare, but a small panel of two or three interviewers is not unusual. There is usually a set of questions, which will be scored. You may be asked to give a short timed presentation on a subject of their choice. Ask questions at the end when invited to do so, but think carefully about what to ask.
Applying for jobs is a waiting game and often disappointing – keep trying, you will get there in the end.
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