How to write a job description

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Okay, you’re ready for your first outside hire. You are running an awesome company. People are going to be so excited to work with you!

But, how do you find those people? And how do you they find you?

If you don’t have a dedicated recruiter, you may not have time to hunt them down, so putting up a job posting is a good first step.

Which means, you have to write a job posting!

The overall goal of a job posting is to attract candidates. But they can also automatically screen out applicants that won’t be a good fit, saving you time and frustration.

Here are a few best practices for writing job descriptions that work for you:

1. Be transparent about the challenges of the job

For example, if you were hiring a QA person but don’t have any requirement documentation, you should say so in the job posting. That way, anyone who really needs to work off strict requirements won’t even apply and you won’t have to waste time screening them.

Spend some time thinking about what your new employee will be coming into when they join the team. The good, the messy and the challenging. And make sure that it’s all in the posting.

2. Standardize your job postings

<Paragraph about the company>

<Paragraph about the job>

<Paragraph about your ideal candidate>

<Bullet points on job responsibilities>

<Bullet points on candidate requirements>

<A section on “why should you join our team”>

3. Really think about that “why should you join our team” section

The best ones are honest – they make it clear to candidates what they’re getting into, and they make the right candidates excited about the opportunity!

For startups, I recommend talking about impact. Your first hires will probably eventually leading their own teams. There is so much potential in working with a small company, and everything you do makes a difference.

For bigger companies, I recommend leaning on your brand: how you are changing the world and the cool stuff that you are doing. Leverage that the company has reach.

4. Be clear about the kind of people you want to work with

I’ve worked in companies where managers expect their teams to be autonomous. Great. Say so. Transparency is king in job postings. You will not scare off the people you really want. I promise.

A good exercise to determine the qualities that work for your team and your culture is to ask your current superstars why they took the job and why they stay in the job (most often, those are different answers).

Examples of this are: I liked the people I was interviewing with (culture) and I love my job because I get to solve interesting problems all day.

Those are the people you want to attract so make sure that you’re adding those qualities to your requirements but also bragging about them in the description of the job!

5. Finally, legally you need a blurb at the end about accommodations

The AODA passed a law that says every company must advertise that they will provide accommodations for candidates who need them.

“<Your Company> is committed to creating an inclusive environment where all team members feel like they belong. We seek applicants with a wide range of abilities and we provide an accessible candidate experience. If you need accommodation during the application or interview process, please contact: careers@<Your Company>.com”

Good luck! If you need any help, you can reach me at krista@kristahare.ca.

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