When you’re hiring a new employee, start with an effective job description so candidates know what to expect before applying. Once you’ve hired someone for the position, you can use that same job description to set goals for your employee.
You want your job descriptions to be clear enough that candidates understand what will be expected of them. At the same time, you want the job description to be flexible enough for the employee to feel comfortable taking calculated risks to better serve the company.
Gather the Right People to Help
Before you write a job description, gather the right people to help you.
If you already have employees, gather the manager of the new employee and other employees with similar jobs. These employees will know what skills are critical for an employee to be successful in the position.
If this is your first employee, ask your mentors to help you write the job description. This will give you a second set of eyes, so you don’t present the position as something it’s not.
Start by looking at your employees’ job responsibilities of the rest of your employees to see how the new position will fit into your staff’s current roles. Focus on the most critical tasks the employee will need to accomplish and determine the most important outcomes needed from the position.
Look at job descriptions of similar positions at other companies, paying particular attention to compensation.
Write the Description
After you have gathered people to help you write the description and have done a thorough job analysis, it’s time to sit down and write the description. An effective job description has six sections: job title, company information, position description, job requirements, benefits, and a call to action.
Start your job description with an accurate job title. Internally, you can use a creative or unique title, but in the job description, choose a title that is easily searched. If you’re hiring a receptionist, you can call them the Director of First Impressions, like publishing house Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, but it will be difficult for anyone to find your job post.
Include an overview of your company upfront – share your mission and your values so potential candidates can understand the culture. It’s often more important to hire for cultural fit than for skills. You can always teach the necessary skills to someone who’s invested in your company and eager to learn, but you can’t teach someone to align with your values.
Include the importance of the position to the growth of the company so candidates know they’ll be part of something bigger than themselves.
After the company overview, describe the key areas of responsibilities that the job will include. When you’re starting a business, you and your employees often have to perform multiple job functions, so make that clear in the description.
If there are any experience and education requirements, make those requirements obvious in the job description. You’ll have people who don’t meet the requirements apply, but you’ll be able to weed them out quickly.
Include any physical demands for the position to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) policies.
Include key benefits, such as health insurance and work-from-home opportunities, in the job description, particularly if you can’t match the pay of other companies.
Call to Action
At the end of the job description, include the company’s contact information and instructions on how to apply. Posting instructions can be an easy way to find candidates who are able to follow instructions correctly.