Tips for First-Time Employers: How to Write a Great Job Description

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Job description writing

One of the most difficult parts of being an employer is recruiting the right people. If you’re wondering how to write a job description that will attract the best talent to your business, here are our top tips.

While starting your own business or franchise is incredibly rewarding, it also means you’ll have to get to grips with lots of unfamiliar tasks. One of the most important, yet often most challenging, is hiring excellent staff. Your employees can make or break the business; poor staff choices could result in financial losses and damage to your reputation, while excellent staff will propel your company onto bigger and better things. 

Writing a great job description can help you find exactly the right people for your team. But where do you start - especially if you aren’t even sure what kind of employee you’re looking for? We’ve put together a guide to writing a job description for the very first time. 

Step 1: Decide what you’re looking for

Before you even put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) spend time thinking about what you need from your employee. Often, you’ll have a clear-cut position that needs filling, like a marketing assistant or carer for your home care franchise, but that’s not always the case. You may need a hand with a variety of tasks or run a business or franchise that offers a wide range of services, meaning you’re seeking someone who can handle a more varied role. 

Make a list of the main tasks or responsibilities you need your new staff member to take on. With everything on paper, you’ll probably find it easier to decide what to advertise the role as. You might even discover that you need to hire more than one employee to make sure each area gets the attention it deserves. 

Step 2: Read existing job adverts

It might have been a while since you last read a job advert, particularly if you’ve been running your business alone for a few years. That’s why it’s important to spend time reading other job adverts for a position similar to the one you’d like to fill. Browse sites like Indeed, Reed and Monster to get an idea of how other companies describe their jobs. 

As well as getting a better idea of the language and structure you should use, you’ll also get an idea of how to describe your company - we’ll explain more about why this is important later. You might also spot examples of what not to do, such as using jargon or confusing abbreviations.

Now, with a clear idea of exactly what you need and what other businesses in your sector are doing, it’s time to get writing. 

Step 3: Stick to a simple structure

We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’. Well, that applies to the structure you choose for your job description. While you want to give a sense of why your company is unique and the right choice for job seekers, it’s best to do that with words. Opting for a confusing or unfamiliar structure could make it harder for candidates to scan through your offer, potentially putting some off. 

Here’s a good structure to stick to: 

  • Job title: Pick something people are going to quickly recognise. If you’re looking for an admin assistant, say that - an obscure title will only make it harder for people to find you. 
  • Job summary: A snappy paragraph summarising the main purpose of the role and giving a sense of your business. 
  • Responsibilities: List the key responsibilities your employee will have to take on, both on a daily and less frequent basis. 
  • Requirements and qualifications: If you need candidates to have specific qualifications or are looking for certain skills/experience, list it here. You can also include soft skills, such as an outgoing personality or great attention to detail.
  • Company summary: Give job seekers a short insight into your business. You want to show them your company’s culture, so don’t be afraid to put some personality in.

If you’re really struggling or don’t have much time, sites like Glassdoor and Indeed have templates that outline the key sections of a range of job roles. All you’ll need to do is customise them with your specific requirements and you’ll be ready to get started. 

But remember, the more interesting, personable and engaging your job interview is, the more likely you are to find great candidates. Don’t let a bland template-heavy advert scare away the best talent from your franchise or business. 

Step 4: Show candidates why you’re the best choice

Even if the economy favours employers and you’ve got lots of job seekers vying for positions, you still need to show people why you’re the best choice. It’s not just about finding an employee - you want to make yourself appeal to the candidates with the very best skills and experience. 

Give people a good sense of your company culture and any benefits they’ll get from joining your business. Are you proud of the friendly feel of your franchise? Is your small business in the middle of an exciting growth period? Are there specific perks on offer, such as staff discount or regular bonuses?

Step 5: Refine your job description

Once you’ve finished writing your job description, make sure you take a step back before publishing it. If you can, get a trusted business contact or experienced friend’s opinion on what you’ve written and see if you can make any tweaks. It’s also wise to check basics like grammar and spelling; tools like Grammarly will help you here. When you’re sure you’ve really nailed it, spread your job advert as widely as you can, using everything from social media to job sites to recruitment agencies to find your next (or first) employee.

A few more things to consider:

  • A 2018 Indeed survey found that 63% of candidates didn’t apply for a job because they didn’t have all the skills listed in the description, while a further 47% were put off because they didn’t have the specific years of experience. Don’t include requirements unless they’re really important to the role or you could limit your pool of talent. 
  • Job descriptions that include a salary range get 30% more applicants, but it’s not a necessity. If you want to highlight the benefits of your role rather than the financial side, it might be better not to include a salary. 

Recruiting the best employees

Finding fantastic employees is one of the best things you can do for your business, so make sure you spend a good amount of time crafting your job descriptions. Need help with other areas of business ownership? Our articles cover everything from tax to legal issues. And if you’re looking for a challenge in the world of franchising, our UK franchise directory has hundreds of options to choose from. 

>> Read more articles on the Recruitment sector

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