Most job descriptions are terrible – so are most resumes – but they don’t have to be. Startups, or people hiring for a new job, often have to write job descriptions before they have complete clarity about the position, and perhaps even before they have a lot of experience hiring. If you’re writing your own job description, here are some things you can do to make it better.
Include the best AND worst parts of your job.
You’re looking for a good fit. Leaving out the parts of the job that are turnoffs will just get you more applications from people who are going to leave once they realize that the job wasn’t what they expected.
Describe what a day might be like.
Telling potential job seekers what they might do over the course of a day or a week in this job is a great way to help them envision what it would be like to work for you, and for them to imagine whether it’s a good fit.
Show a personality, not just a list of attribute checkboxes (requirements).
Anyone can play “match the attribute checkboxes.” If you want applicants who are a good cultural fit, you have to give some clues about your culture. Telling people what you value is only marginally valuable; showing them by example is a much more effective way to attract like-minded people. Humor and tone are useful tools here.
Consider hiring someone part-time or on contract.
For some situations, doing projects with applicants before hiring them full-time can help you see if they have the skills you need, and if they work well with your team, much better than an interview or resume. Just be aware that there is a limit to how much of a commitment you can ask applicants to make before you’ve made a commitment to them.
If you liked this article, you might like CultureCamp, the unconference on creating company culture.