How to Write a Great Job Description in Seven Steps

hi everyone this is market venture kid

and I'm excited to bring you the first

venture kid video I'm going to cover how

to create a great job description this

video is the first in a series about

hiring one of the area's founders most

want help with founders regularly ask me

if I know anyone who'd fit their open

roles but then don't have a job

description or have one that is way too

vague hiring is fundamentally hard it's

much harder when you're not clear on

what you want

that's why I'm starting this hiring

series about the job description I'll

outline the goals the job description

then walked through seven steps starting

with a job analysis then defining the

roles responsibilities qualifications

compensation and logistics title and the

company summary

I'll cover examples checklists pros and

cons and some advanced tips let's dive

in first a Job Description outlines of

roles potential candidates but it also

serves other goals it's a spec that

defines what your team should hire for

just like a pot expect defines what your

team should build it helps determine the

roles title compensation and success

metrics to measure performance a good

description also conveys what a more

junior person should develop toward for

promotion the description helps protect

the company if an employee claims that a

task is not part of their role at its

best a job description is a recruiting

tool that excites people to work for you

for many it will be their first

impression of your company you want it

to be a good one

the first step of creating a Job

Description is assessing what you need

through a job analysis this may actually

be the hardest step that a start-up

needs are constantly changing and people

wear multiple hats if you're not

familiar with an area like engineering

or marketing you may miss important

subtleties a job analysis determines the

responsibilities qualifications and

conditions of a role for the common

roles in the startup this doesn't need

to take a lot of time you can ask your

team questions like what skills doing

most need right now what are you doing

that should be done by a new hire

what are you feeling overwhelmed by if

you're hiring for a role that someone

already fills you can ask them to

outline a day in their life what would

you say

you do hear maybe not quite like that

but do get specific about the skills you

need I often see founders miss important

differences between hires within a

department an example is the types of

the designers I've heard founders say I

need to designer without any

clarification but there are many types

of designers user experience designers

planning the entire experience of a

product using interviews storyboards and

site maps user interface designers

create the actual interface of an amp

using languages like HTML CSS and

JavaScript graphic designers create

visual elements like logos and images

using tools like Adobe Photoshop and

illustrator every functional area has

nuances like this if you don't know them

research what you actually need up front

we don't waste a lot of time next write

the jobs responsibilities the most

common format is a list of action

statements with a verb and expect the

results and sometimes in methods for

example you may want a software engineer

encode test and deploy features using

Ruby on Rails list the most important

tasks first named a list 5 to 10 key

duties do not copy and paste from a job

template it looks boring and lazy with

specific projects and tasks the higher

will work on for example Google posted a

job description for a VR software

engineer it list has specific to the

role like developing VR plugins and

games and supporting VR mobile devices

while a bullet point list of

responsibilities is fine a description

of a day in the role is better consider

this description of a community

specialist from meet up meet up lists

tasks like congratulate the organizer of

a french-language meet-up on reaching

1,000 members call the organizer of a

motorcycle meetup about her email

settings and iron out a billing issue

and reset some laws passwords even if

the tasks are mundane illustrating a job

like this brings it to life also

consider listing expected results that

will mirror your performance reviews an

interface designer could be expected to

reduce bounce rates and increase

conversion rates a sales person could be

expected to increasing leads and revenue

you don't need to list exact numbers but

you do want candidates to know how you

measure 6

yes ken HR posted a description with

their expectations of an outbound sales

agent in the first few months they

expect the candidate to learn the

company inside out in month 1 to

generate prospect lists and month two

and to start closing 15 to 20 accounts

in month 3 and love the query of this

and how it will cite the right

candidates also add a phrase to the

responsibilities section like additional

duties as requested this clarifies that

the Job Description is not comprehensive

and adds legal protection in case an

employee box and an unlisted but

reasonable request to increase your

compliance with the Americans with

Disabilities Act consider listing

essential versus non-essential tasks

essential tasks are fundamental to job

and any candidate must be able to do

them for example a programmer must be

able to code but doesn't necessarily

need to hear or see

since there are competent programmers

who are deaf or blind an employer can

reject candidates who can't perform

essential tasks but must consider

candidates who can with reasonable

accommodation next define what

qualifications you want in a candidate

you can segment these into three

categories knowledge like an

understanding of computer science

principles skills like the ability to

write code in C++ and traits like strong

enthusiasm or a sense of humor try to

limit to 5 to 10 key qualifications so

you don't overwhelm Canada's distinguish

between qualifications that are must

haves versus nice to have again don't

copy and paste from a template add

details and personality consistent with

your company branding for example on

github job description for tech support

agent or they call supportive caps their

requirements section says you're good at

logic and solving puzzles advocating and

emphasizing the English language and

working remotely github replaced a

common requirement like critical

thinking skills with a unique one like

good at solving puzzles it's basically

the same trade but more engaging some

things to avoid avoid cliches don't say

you want a ninja a rock star or someone

who thinks outside the box these terms

are overused and sound cheesy

avoid requiring a certain GPA or degree

from a prestigious university these

usually aren't predictive and can turn

off non-traditional but qualified

candidates Google used to ask for

college transcripts but stopped after an

internal analysis found they weren't

meaningful avoid terms that can be seen

as discriminatory such as salesmen

able-bodied or young these can turn off

qualified candidates and can land you in

legal trouble I also prefer to avoid

requirements specific years of

experience unless the number is well

informed these are often wild guesses

and can exclude high performing fast

learners focus on what a candidate

should have proven Lee done for example

instead of requiring that a design

director have eight years of design

experience consider requiring the

candidate has made multiple design teams

to produce successful products a common

question is should I describe my perfect

candidate or realistic one my answer is

to describe your ideal candidate given

limitations like compensation and

scarcity the skills you need if you're

paying top of market for an office

manager you can be picky if you're

paying below market for AI talent be

prepared to train a fast learner

distinguishing between must-haves and


will help you prioritize next describe

the rules compensation package that

includes salary equity commissions

health insurance 401k paid time off

disability and life insurance training

relocation perks and anything else you

offer employees to determine what you

should pay there are two main sources of

free compensation data for startups the

first is compensation search engines

especially AngelList

which will let you find salary and

equity numbers of real jobs by role

location and market other sites like pay

scale Glassdoor and salary comm are

useful but their data skews toward large

companies with higher cash and lower

equity packages a second source is

startup compensation surveys a site

called advantage are surveys thousands

of startups at different stages and

offers free souring epidemic e rolls

remember to account for a rose location

and seniority as well as the stage of

your company determining salary is

relatively straightforward but the risk

reward of equity is specific to each

company if a candidate asks how to value

their company equity given

intellectually honest answer that

balances your optimism of creating a

billion dollar company with the realism

that very few do a common question is

whether to list specific numbers for

salary and equity a 2016 career builder

survey of 4,500 workers found that the

number one thing candidates wanted in a

job description was clarity on salary

but Glassdoor reports they're fewer than

10% of their job postings have salary

numbers there are pros and cons to being

specific on compensation the pros

include that it eliminates candidates

who require higher comp saving time for

you and them it signals a transparent

culture where people have access to

information that matters to them it can

increase the number of applications I

found multiple studies that reported

between 30 to 60% more applications when

salary numbers were reported for both

low and high paid jobs it can also

reduce racial and gender pay gaps that

upset employees and invite lawsuits

however there are cons to being

transparent it can upset current

employees who are not pay to tiling it

can be easier for competitors to poach

your talent by paying more it can be

harder to negotiate compensation

downward for a less proven candidate it

can also mean to public shaming if

you're paying significantly below market

overall a few tech companies like Stack

Overflow and buffer are transparent on

their compensation formula and a

journalist has thousands of job postings

with salary and equity ranges but most

companies keep their numbers private if

you want to follow the norm or aren't

ready to make pay internally transparent

don't list it on the Job Description

if your compensation is competitive

market rate or generous you can say so

but don't mislead candidates they

increasingly post on employer review

sites like Glassdoor and a poor

reputation won't hurt

if you're going to take a bolder

approach with salary and equity at least

as a range if you're paying market rate

you'll likely attract more and higher

quality candidates however create

process that regularly updates comp to

market rates have a thoughtful promotion

policy and expect a few awkward

conversations I like the culture and

discipline that transparency creates but

it does take work next describe the

roles in logistics that includes who the

highe will report to an expected start

date whether the role is full time part

time flex time or just temporary

whether it's remote or on location and

whether the real world is exempt or

non-exempt exempt versus non-exempt is

defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act

the FLSA exempt roles are exempt from

minimum wage overtime regulations and

other protections exempt roles are

usually salary jobs at pay at least

twenty three thousand six hundred as of

2018 and perform professional services

non-exempt rolls are usually hourly jobs

learn overtime of 1.5 times must be paid

for more than 40 hours of work these are

more often manual or repetitive tasks

most roles and startups are exempt but

check with an HR expert to make sure

you're following FF SLA regulations the

most important logistic is telling

candidates how to apply you can direct

candidates to an online form an email

address or screening test ask upfront

for any documents that you'll need like

a resume or design portfolio also put

the online call to action on the top of

the page if you can don't make people

hunt for how to reach you after you

define the roles responsibilities

qualifications compensation and

logistics you're ready to write the

title I know this sounds backwards but a

title summarizes an entire job in a few

words unless you are crystal clear on

that role from the beginning I recommend

building the role bottom-up as I've

described you may start a search

thinking you need a marketing manager

but realize you need a content manager

you may start thinking you need a manual

QA tester only to realize we actually

want a QA engineer

you may when you want less or more

seniority or even more than one role by

writing the title mast you can make it

more accurate and inaccurate title

matters it is usually the first

impression of your job description which

again is usually the first impression of

your company some other tips on title

keep it to four awards and Wes I like

the saying that the most important

titles are short a long title can be

pretentious or may mean the role is too

large avoid abbreviations and acronyms

like SR for senior or CPA for an

accountant they can be unclear and may

not match what people search for in job

sites use cute titles with caution

titles like money maestro and Happiness

agent they can work if they're clever

and consistent with your branding but

more often they just come off as cheesy

or unclear for example growth hacker was

in fashion for a while but can create

confusion on how much of the role is

engineering versus product versus

marketing people have to put their title

on a resume and tell it to others

regularly even creative people usually

want their title to be clear finally

describe what your company does and why

candidates should be most excited about

you this is where you can differentiate

a good company summary is like a good

fundraising pitch queer concise unique

and reflective of the company's values

and branding I like summaries that are

both descriptive and aspirational that

describe what you do and what you want

to be Netflix has one of the best

company descriptions I've seen this is

its opening entertainment like

friendship is a fundamental human need

it changes how we feel and gives us

common ground Netflix is better

entertainment and lower cost and greater

scale than the world has ever seen

we want to entertain everyone and make

the world smile Square is another good

example it processes payments which

hardly sounds exciting but listen to

their company description we believe

everyone should be able to participate

and thrive in the economy so we're

building tools that make commerce easier

and more accessible to everyone we're

here to help sellers of all sizes start

and grow their business and helping them

grow their business is good business for

everyone and breakthrough my online

therapy startup I used to say that for

many of our users we were helping them

with the most important problem in their

lives the more you can communicate about

why your work matters the more people

want to do it okay those are seven steps

to creating a great job description once

it's created you can optimize it in a

few ways

use keywords around that a candidate

would search for like the job title and

skills this will help your description

rank in Google and job site search

engines consider addressing candidates

in the second person

for example the requirements section can

say you've created several successful

marketing campaigns addressing

candidates directly feels more personal

collect internal feedback on the

description especially from the hiring

team make sure they are bought into the

roles responsibilities and

qualifications add a referral bonus paid

to anyone sends you a hired candidate

you can make the referral bonuses public

so even strangers are incentivized to

help you though you'll get more

unqualified applicants so you can also

just make the bonus available internally

bonuses are usually a few percentage

points of the higher salary finally try

to update the job description annually

for the same reason product specs should

be updated as features change accurate

job descriptions help with performance

reviews legal compliance and a future

hiring I hope this has been helpful if

it has I'd love it if you subscribe or

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calm and to reach me email me at mark

and venture kid com