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Importance of Job Description for Start-up

If you are serious on winning the – talent war – write a good Job Description!

In the book, “Winning“, Jack Welch points out –“Hiring Good People is hard. Hiring Great People is brutally hard.” Every CXO tells us how hiring is critical for their success and we believe so! However, we often see half-assed job description, a “copy and paste” from another job description/role etc. We understand startups are struggling to keep all the balls up in the air – investment pitches, product launch, customer acquisition etc.


Why not take prioritize time to build your most important asset — your team—and put some effort to increase your chances in the talent war. Our suggestion – let’s start with writing a good job description.

Here’s why it helps:

Role clarity and create standardization

Most importantly, it helps you think through the role/tasks in details, type of person – skill set and personality. It creates standardization for your startup as it evolves. You don’t want too many “jack of all trades”, you need a well rounded team with specialized skillset.

Filtering tool

If used well, it can be a great to filter candidates and evaluate their seriousness. You can ask pointed question such as – what did you see in the JD that appealed to you? how does the position align with your long term goals? and so on. This clearly shows if the candidate read through the JD before applying for the position.

Feedback, evaluation and performance tool

As you share the JD with other founders, colleagues, subordinates, it also gives you feedback on the pressing problem they are facing and the skillset need to fill (get subordinates involved). It also allows you to use certain metrics defined in the JD to measure the success of a candidate once they are hired. You can set measurable goals for performance evaluation.

Selling your startup

We feel this is perhaps the most important piece where we see a lot of startups fail. They often “under sell” themselves. It is quiet important to showcase what your company is all about and why should someone leave their current position to join you. We feel it is extremely critical to showcase you technology, management team, technical capabilities, press coverage, investors (shows stability). This is possibly one of the main reasons why someone will join the bandwagon.

What are the ingredients for a good JD? Erica Swallow in her article in Mashable sums it well.

Requirements What do you need to include?
Job Title & Summary Title and level (assistant, senior, lead, etc.) should accurately reflect the work that the employee will perform.
Key Responsibilities List all of the essential functions of the position, at least 5 – 10 points. Be transparent about how frequently a task will be performed or what percentage of the employee’s time will be spent with each task.
Department & Supervisor Include details on who the person would report to and where that person falls within the company’s structure.
Skills & Qualifications: List all qualifications that are mandatory, along with those that are preferred. Such qualifications should include skills, years of experience, certifications, licenses, education level and necessary technical proficiencies.
Company Overview Include information about the company’s mission, goals, industry and headquarters location.
Location Include details on where the position is located. If travel is necessary, note what percentage of time the employee will spend traveling and where he or she will be traveling.
Type of Employment Be very clear about whether the position is full-time or part-time.
Salary Range & Benefits salary range and benefits , vacation days [stock options, cool things etc]

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