Recruiting is never an easy task, and it can be especially challenging for small business leaders. When vying for qualified candidates, you may find yourself not only short on time but also competing against bigger companies with attractive compensation packages, significant resources, and extensive opportunities for growth.
But never forget that you have something special to offer too that can be equally, if not more, desirable to your ideal hire. It’s up to you to identify what that is and communicate it with your talent pool. Your recruiting efforts should aim to capture the attention and the interest of top talent by ensuring your company and the job opening stand out from the competition.
The old boilerplate job descriptions are not going to cut it anymore. Quality candidates want to know your company is worth the effort of applying, and top talent doesn’t waste their time considering unremarkable opportunities. Crafting a compelling job description can make all the difference, so here’s what to include.
1. What Makes Your Company Great? Mission, Vision & Values
The best places to work attract the best talent. As a small business, you don’t have the employer brand and name recognition of companies like Salesforce or Target, but you may have a strong reputation in your local community, in your industry, or among your existing workforce. Or you could be in the process of building that reputation. No matter what stage you’re in, it’s important to start out by painting your small business in a positive light.
Open the job posting with information about your company: your mission, vision, and values.
Your mission statement communicates the purpose behind your work. It should answer the following questions succinctly: What do you do? Who do you serve? What is your big picture goal? What kind of impact do you want to make?
Your company vision communicates where you are headed. Moving forward, how do you envision the future of your organization and the industry or people you wish to impact?
Your values encompass what your organization stands for, reflecting your company’s ethics and core principles. What behaviors do you hold in the highest regard and how do you support those actions? To this end, how do you treat employees and members of your community?
Remember, people are looking for a chance to align their work with their own passions, interests, and values. Will your organization give them an opportunity to do that? Spelling out what you stand for, where you’re going, and what you prioritize will give them a glimpse into what working for your company would be like. According to Roy Maurer at SHRM.org, crafting the perfect job description improves the recruitment process; he explains that “vague job postings also make it more difficult for potential applicants to determine if the organization is the right cultural fit.”
More than ever, people want their work to be meaningful. They want to feel a sense of purpose in their day-to-day life and to get behind the greater vision driving the objectives they are assigned. The days of enticing candidates with cool office space and free snacks are over. Even if your company isn’t looking to change the world, workers desire connection with the big picture.
If you are a mission-driven business, it will be easier to set yourself apart with this vision — as long as you’re not just paying lip service to it. However, if you’re selling tchotchkes, it’s equally important to stand for something if you want to attract top talent. Perhaps your mission is internal — to create a great, family-first work environment. Perhaps it’s to make your customers’ lives easier with your products or services. It doesn’t have to be a charitable end, just a desirable one.
The bottom line is that the opening section of your job description should be used to differentiate you as an employer of choice before jumping into the details of the job itself.
2. What Does the Job Entail? Beyond the Boring Job Description
Next, you’ll want to dive into the details, but that doesn’t mean dumping a boring laundry list of job duties and qualifications. Think of recruiting as a marketing activity. Like attracting customers to your products and services, it’s about attracting candidates to your company and the role.
The prospective candidate is assessing whether or not this job will fit their skills, interests, and long-term goals. Rather than focusing on the tasks they will be assigned to handle, focus on the impact they will have the opportunity to make.
Offer a snapshot of what the job entails, including key responsibilities, required skills, and clear expectations. Job seekers should know, at a glimpse, if the opportunity is worth pursuing given their background and qualifications.
Summarize the role they will fill by putting it in context, making it engaging and compelling. Where does this position fit into the company’s overall mission?
The right candidate will handle all administrative duties for leaders in the organization.
You will ensure the firm’s partners are well-informed of upcoming activities and responsibilities by actively maintaining calendars and daily schedules, fielding and prioritizing requests with confidentiality, integrity, and continual follow-through.
List the most essential job duties in a way that’s easily scannable and action-oriented. You want them to be able to know exactly what will be expected to quickly determine fit and interest.
Duties include managing warehouse staff, overseeing receiving, dispatching, picking, storage, maintenance, and administrative functions.
– Oversee, train, evaluate, and reward warehouse staff
– Maintain standards of security, health, safety, and hygiene
– Produce detailed status reports on a weekly basis
Describe the position as thoroughly as possible without stuffing the description with so much detail that it becomes overwhelming. For example, you’ll want to mention that they are responsible for reporting, but you don’t need to list every data point measured.
As Maurer explains, this section should serve as a checklist for both employers and candidates.
3. What’s In It For Them? Pay, Perks & Benefits
As much as job seekers are looking for opportunities that align with their values, interests, and background, they are also looking for roles that offer the pay, perks, and benefits they desire.
First, you’ll need to make sure that your compensation and benefits package is as competitive as possible; remember, investing in your staff and supporting their well-being leads to greater job satisfaction, lower turnover, and higher productivity and effectiveness.
Today’s candidates are looking for competitive wages, flexibility, the ability to work from home, generous paid time off (PTO), retirement savings plans with employer matching, health, dental, and vision insurance, training stipends or tuition reimbursement, opportunities for advancement, signing bonuses, equity options, and more.
Feature the best advantages of working for your company in the job description and list all available perks. Not everyone will be attracted to the same thing, but the right people will be attracted to exceptional benefits.
Wherever possible, we strongly recommend including salary ranges in job descriptions. While some employers feel pay transparency in job descriptions reduces their negotiating power and may cause some discontent among existing employees, it can also serve to attract interested candidates and save everyone wasted time and energy if the offer is ultimately not the right fit. Why would a skilled, in-demand employee make the effort to apply to a job that could mean a big pay cut?
More than ever before, top talent often expects salary transparency as a sign of respect. Increasingly, places such as New York, Colorado, Rhode Island, and Maryland are requiring salary transparency. Adding pay to your job posting places you a step ahead.
Bonus Tip: Welcome Diversity
Top talent comes in a wide range of packages, and business leaders have come to recognize the value of a diverse workforce. But unconscious bias tends to make its way into job descriptions, effectively excluding some desired but underrepresented applicants.
Greater diversity often leads to more creativity, innovation, and helpful insights to advance your company’s growth and profitability. Input from employees from diverse backgrounds can help you find new approaches, enter into new markets, and generate new ideas you may not have considered otherwise. And sometimes the best local talent pool for your industry or the roles you are trying to fill is inherently diverse.
For all of these reasons and more, we recommend reviewing your job descriptions for language that excludes underrepresented applicants, such as gender-coded language, wording that turns off older candidates, and able-bodied language that might exclude some applicants.
For example, if you want more women to apply, you may want to avoid male-coded words, such as ambitious or logical; even if you need an ambitious and logical person for the role, there are other ways to assess these characteristics. To be inclusive of people with disabilities, avoid language such as, “walk the floor regularly to ensure safety protocols are being followed.” If your facility is ADA compliant, a person could just as easily do their rounds using a wheelchair.
As a small business leader, recruiting can make or break your company’s success. Taking too long to fill a critical role can cost you precious time, resources, and opportunity loss. Filling the role with a poor-fit candidate can be a costly mistake. Attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent is essential to reaching your goals in the short and long term. Investing time and effort into your recruiting strategy can pay off significantly over time.
Does your organization need support with recruiting, hiring, and onboarding employees? We can help! Contact our team for one of the following solutions:
Recruiting, Screening & Hiring
- Recruitment program design and management
- Candidate screening services (email and phone screening, reference checks, etc.)
- New hire orientation program development / redesign & onboarding support
- New hire experience surveys (find out if your employees’ new job is what they expected!)
- Development and roll-out of a customized Employee Handbook
- Assistance with all employee forms, documents & procedures
Job Analysis and Design
- Workflow analysis and job description design
- Compensation analysis: external and internal market studies
- Design and implementation of employee reward and recognition programs