What are the best practises when it comes to writing a perfect job description for a startup?

A general misconception is that a job description should include as much detailed information about the role and the company as possible. Yes, your job description should include essential information about your company and the role. However, if you try to squeeze in too much information, chances are  that your core message will get diluted and missed by your ideal candidate. 

Due to the competitiveness of today’s job market and the battle of attracting the best talent to your company, it is vital to create a job description that attracts and gets noticed by your ideal candidates. This is particularly important for startups that (often with very minimal resources) compete against the big players on the job market.    

So instead of writing a lengthy list of required skills and experience, keep the job description short and concise focusing on what your company has to offer.

Here is our checklist.

Crafting the perfect Job Description - Step by Step

job description checklist for startups

Step 1. Attract the candidates: tell and sell your company’s story

The first sentences of the job descriptions should grasp the reader’s attention. This is your chance to sell your company and attract the right candidates to read further. While writing down this part, answer at least these questions:

  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?

  • How is your product solving that problem?

  • What are the vision, mission and the core values of your company?

Step 2. Describe your company's culture

Share the best examples of your company culture. When you are writing this section of the job description, ask yourself a question:

Why should one give up a position in a stable company to join your startup?

If the answer lies in your company culture, make sure to explain it as it might become a game changer for a candidate hesitating between roles in two different companies. Remember, especially tech talent today tend to receive tempting job opportunities all the time. 

In your job description:

  • Explain why your company culture is the one to thrive in?

  • How does your team work on a daily basis and how do you treat the people in your team?

Step 3. Focus on what your company and the position have to offer

Did you know that employee centered job ads are three times more likely to attract higher-quality candidates? Studies reveal that simple changes made in job descriptions can significantly contribute to the amount of quality applicants.  

In other words, you should put focus on what your company has to offer rather than just listing requirements for the role. In your job description list down the benefits that the role has to offer, for example:

  • Freedom to decide how and where to work

  • Career development opportunities

  • Opportunity to impact on decision making in the startup

  • Other perks: e.g. salary, stock options, healthcare etc.

Step 4. Be Inclusive

As an employer, you are responsible to provide equal opportunities to all qualified candidates. In our earlier post, we wrote about how “job descriptions convey a clear message on how a company celebrates and promotes diversity and inclusion.” 

The way you form your job description and communicate to your potential candidates, makes a difference.

Be aware of words that promote unconscious gender bias, also knows as coded words. Research show evidence that gendered wording in job advertisements exists and sustains gender inequality.

When crafting your next job description, make sure it talks to everyone. Pay particular attention to the tone and language you use. To read more about inclusion in recruitment, check out this post where we share some of our thoughts and experiences.

Step 5. Keep the list of required skills to the minimum

Remember to stay realistic when listing required skills and expectations for the role.

The idea is to focus on skills that the candidate must have. Avoid listing too many requirements, as it might scare potential candidates away.  If you end up with a long list of requirements, asking yourself these questions might help to structure your core message: 

  • What are the skills that the candidate must have? Which of these skills are really relevant?

  • How many years of experience they should have? Or is it even relevant?

  • Are you looking for a certain skill or rather an ability to develop something from scratch?

Step 6. Be clear and set a deadline

Now that you have completed the most important steps of writing the perfect job description for your startup, it’s time to make the final refinements before publishing.

Your main goal here is to make sure that the job description is clear, easy to read and direct. Make sure the job description includes all practical information such as contact information of hiring manager and application deadline. 

Step 7. Use the right language and proofread

Before hitting the publish button, ask final comments from colleagues. If you have used technical terms in your job description, make sure they are correct and well-explained. Last but not least, remember to proofread. Check the language and look for potential typos.

Looks good? Well done, it’s time to get your job out there!

Interested in reading more about the best practises for crafting a perfect job description for your startup? Check out our earlier posts here.

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