Q. What is the very first step I should take before hiring my first or next employee?

A. Create or update the position’s JOB DESCRIPTION. You will save yourself time, money, frustration and have a better chance of finding the person that matches the skills you need.

You may be tempted to skip this step because you want to hurry up and find someone to help you get the work done. And, that makes sense. But taking just a few minutes to review what you actually need will save yourself time, money, frustration and give you a better chance of finding the person that matches the skills you need.

What does a good job description look like?

1. Overall summary paragraph of the jobs general responsibilities.

2. Specific tasks – Essential functions of the job, giving the candidate an idea of what a day on the job looks like.

3. A general statement at the end of the task list that says something like “Other applicable duties, as needed”. This is a catch all that provides the employer with a little flexibility as operational needs change. (Of course, if the position changes drastically, the job description should be updated.)

4. Required experience, education, physical demands and personal traits required for the position.

5. Preferred experience or attributes. These aren’t required to be a candidate, but are considered bonus points during the interview process.

This seems like a lot of work. Never fear! You don’t have to start from scratch. Google search the title of your position and add the words “job description” to the search. A ton of “like” job descriptions and job postings will come up. Swipe the wording with copy and paste and play around until you get the exact wording you are looking for. (Note: If you don’t find a lot of search choices, you might want to consider playing around with the title of the job.)

Other added bonuses for creating your job description before beginning your candidate search is having a ready-made job posting for Craigslist or other job board. And, a job description converts easily to a Performance Review document – adding ratings to the tasks and an average rating formula at the bottom of an Excel Worksheet.

Written by – Heather McBride, SPHR – Human Resources Consultant and Recruiter at www.inclarity360.com in Eugene, Oregon


Nothing in this blog is intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as I understand them, and not intended to apply to any other situations. I urge you to check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.