Creating the Best Job Descriptions for Your Small Business Hiring

By: Randy Hernandez | Chief Marketing Officer

Jet Capital knows that human resources are the foundation of small business success. When you build and grow your team, you are investing in the long-term success of your business. Perfecting your job descriptions is important for attracting the right talent and for creating documentation of your hiring practices.

Creating clear, concise job descriptions is the first step in recruiting the best match for your small business. Grabbing the attention of talented candidates is important, as is accurately communicating the job and its requirements. Getting your job descriptions right keeps your recruitment efforts targeted and effective.

Here is how to approach writing job descriptions for the best results.

Decide What Your Small Business Needs

Before you create job descriptions, you will need a very detailed understanding of the job or jobs you are hiring for and what they require. As a small business owner, there is a good chance you have personally taken care of this work, so you can rely on your own experience. Make a comprehensive list of requirements and skills as a starting point. Are there skills that would make this job easier or improve your business? Jot those down, too.

If you are replacing an existing employee, be sure to sit down and carefully interview the employee who is leaving. This is an opportunity to make sure you have a complete understanding of this person’s job, including work that may be flying under the radar. If you are replacing an employee who has been working for some time, there is a very good chance that their job has evolved over time, too. The job description they first started with may be different from the work they are now accomplishing. Track these changes and update job descriptions accordingly.

If you are adding a new member to your team or are creating a new job within your company, get feedback from your current employees. Your team can help you understand where there might be skill gaps or business needs that could be addressed by new hires. Carefully assessing what you need will help you logically and strategically design job descriptions for long-term success.

Once you have your list of requirements for the job descriptions you need to write, review the volume of work. A quick double-check that this is truly the right amount of work for the part-time or full-time employee will help retain employees over time. Consider that the first weeks of months of employment may require additional time for training. Be realistic about your expectations and the amount of time each job will take.

Communicate What Your Small Business Needs

Great job descriptions are brief, but crystal clear. Candidates should get a strong sense of what the job is and what skills and abilities you are seeking. Provide a general overview of the job and its requirements including:

  • The job title
  • The responsibilities of the job
  • Tasks required by the job
  • The position of the job within your small business
  • Degrees or certifications that are required to do the job. Note that these must be true requirements, not a managerial preference.
  • You have the option to include a company overview to provide job candidates with more information about your business.

Job titles are useful handles to communicate the job and its position within a company. For example, the title of Administrative Assistant implies one level of responsibility and experience while Senior Administrative Assistant implies more responsibility and work experience is required. It also indicates a structured hierarchy and salary scale. Be sure the titles you use in your job descriptions truly match the job to be filled.

Be sure to match job titles to job descriptions carefully. Don’t overpromise with a job title that overshoots the real responsibilities and compensation of the position. The job title will be the first thing potential hires are scanning, so match it with the candidates you want to apply.

Take the list of responsibilities and tasks required by the job and spell them out clearly. The Small Business Administration suggests always using the present tense, for example, “Schedules required inspections” or “Monitors inventory and creates daily sales reports”.1

While every job description is different, you don’t want to overwhelm candidates with a giant list of requirements. Consider what are the most important responsibilities and keep your list succinct.2 has an excellent collection of sample job descriptions HERE.

Special Considerations

While writing job descriptions, you will need to be aware of a few legal considerations.3 First, be very careful that your job descriptions steer clear of any kind of discrimination. As a business owner, remember that your job descriptions are an important part of proving that your business is following the best hiring practices. Avoid any language that could be construed as indicating a preference based on race, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or age. Use of “she/he” and gender-neutral pronouns has become standard practice. If you find it difficult to incorporate gender-neutral pronouns into your job description, you can also use the position, for example, “The Account Specialist will monitor inventory and create daily reports”.

Also, consider privacy concerns. Job descriptions should not refer to marital status, religious or political affiliation, or any other activities outside of the parameters of the job requirements. The documentation you create in your hiring process, including your job descriptions, is important in proving that you are providing a discrimination-free workplace.

The team at Jet Capital understands that hiring is one of the most important parts of running a successful business. Check out our series on hiring for more information on recruiting, interviewing, and hiring paperwork.

Jet Capital is devoted to small businesses with fast, flexible working capital. A merchant cash advance may be a better solution to your business needs than a small business loan. Contact us to learn more today!

  1. The U.S. Small Business Administration. Writing Effective Job Descriptions.
  2. J. Rossheim. How to Write a Job Description: Reign in Job Requirements.
  3. Kenexa: Thought Leadership. (2011). Best Practices for Job Description Writing: How to Create and Use Effective Job Descriptions. Kenexa

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