While the startup and small-business environments have many advantages for employees who want to shape their roles within an organization, the other side of this situation is that job roles and responsibilities are lacking definition—if they even exist.
According to Janine Popick in a contribution to Inc.: “Job descriptions are the last thing most of us think about because with all the day-to-day busy work, who has time? We know we need to hire talented people, but most of us go with the standard, dry list of bullets on a website and hope that someone fits the bill.”
Put simply, job descriptions are one of the most essential tools an organization can leverage to attract potential candidates who exemplify talent and are passionate about what you do. In order to attract the right candidates, however, you need to do more than define the basic job roles and responsibilities. You need a description that provides them with a clear picture of the position. A clear job description can also be leveraged as a reference tool when measuring the performance of existing staff.
Guidelines for creating a job roles and responsibilities template
Popick continues: “[At my company we] talk about our people, we talk about what we offer, and we feature things we’re proud of like our volunteering programs and the awards that we’ve won.” So, how can you create an effective job description of your own?
First, you need to think about the type of candidate you want to fill the position, and consider the verbiage that you need to include in order to attract that candidate. Use this information to write the job description and even the job title. For example, while “human resources manager” is straight to the point, director of operations may communicate to the candidate that the job will require him or her to accomplish much more than administrative tasks and responsibilities and to focus on policies, performance and department structure.
Be clear and concise
Beyond the job title and description, you must clarify the key responsibilities. “Keep a good balance of sizzle and substance, as there’s still a job to be done,” writes Popick. “The more you can infuse your business’s personality into your job descriptions, the better you’ll be able to attract the type of person that’s going to do wonders for your biz.” If you’re not hiring for a VP position, it’s important to include the department supervisor in the description.
Another key aspect of your job description should of course be the skills and qualifications you seek in a candidate. But do be aware of the difference between preferred and required qualifications. While you may require your candidate to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, take a step back and ask yourself if it’s imperative that the candidate have a specific number of years of experience on top of that. If not, skip it.
While we’re on the topic of being clear and concise, don’t forget to capture the essence of your organization in the job description. This will help your candidate decide early on if this is the organization for him or her. This will save you from interviewing candidates that come to find the company mission, values and culture is not the best fit for them.
While it’s completely up to management to decide whether or not to include the salary range and benefits in the job description, providing a range and not a precise number may attract a variety of different candidates and leave negotiating on the table. In turn this provides you with an opportunity to prepare a few counteroffers. Some additional items you may want to add include job location, opportunities for advancement and physical requirements—especially if the position requires the candidate to lift heavy objects.
What to avoid
According to U.S. Small Business Administration: “Don’t be inflexible with your job description. Jobs are subject to change for personal growth, organizational development and/or evolution of new technologies. A flexible job description encourages employees to grow within their position and contribute over time to your overall business.”
For more information on talent acquisition and similar topics of interest, explore our blog for more resources.
Topics: HR Responsibilities