Knowing how to write the perfect job description may seem like a trivial part of the employee-search process. After all, it’s the person you hire that makes the most difference, right? Wrong! The person you ultimately hire is an important part of the equation, but attracting the right people in the first place is crucial to the success of the entire endeavor. Writing the perfect job description can bring in more well-qualified applicants and give you more options to choose from.
But how can you go about writing a great job description? What should you include or leave out? The experts at Sling will answer all those questions and more. We’ll even show you how to write the perfect job description and give you a template you can use to get started.
For the time being, though, let’s turn our attention back to the first step to writing the perfect job description.
The First Step to The Perfect Job Description
You don’t need a computer for this first step. You don’t even need the template we’ve provided for you at the end of this article. All you, the manager, need is a pen, paper, and your own knowledge of the jobs at hand.
The best way to write an outstanding job description is to start by figuring out the ideal characteristics for each position. Every job requires a slightly different combination of skills and traits. For example, a waiter needs to extremely personable but doesn’t need to have an extensive knowledge of food. A chef, on the other hand, does need that knowledge of food but, because she is often isolated in the kitchen, doesn’t have to be the most customer-friendly person in the world.
So, the first, step is to list out the traits and skills in order of importance for your business.Your list of must-have chef skills would place “food knowledge” toward the top with “personable” toward the bottom. Once you have all the skills and traits listed for each job, you’ll use those to build your perfect job description. But before you do that, and to give you a little more guidance in this first step, we’ll discuss five traits that every new employee should have regardless of the task they perform.
The Skills & Traits Of A Good Employee
Whether they’re taking out the garbage or glad-handing your best customers, a good employee should exhibit (or be able to learn) the following skills.
1. Good Manners
Good manners are an important skill for every employee no matter what his job. All employees are going to interact with a customer or an employee during the course of their work. In the former case, good manners are vital. But even in the latter case, good manners can make a team work better.
2. Willingness To Work As A Team
A good employee understands that everyone works together to make the business successful. She lives by the adage-turned-cliche, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” Above all, a good employee realizes she needs to rely on her coworkers to be successful and keep her productivity up.
A good employee is an efficient employee. There are a lot of tasks to complete in a normal work day, and you need your employees to get through them as quickly as possible while still maintaining high quality standards. In a more general sense, efficiency might manifest as calmness when faced with a last minute task or not getting overwhelmed when given a big job.
4. Good Communication Skills
Like good manners, good communication skills are always important. It doesn’t matter if the employee only interacts with other employees on a daily basis, at some point, there’s going to be a need to ask questions, answer questions, give commands, or supply important information. A good employee is able to answer all questions with relevant information and deliver commands quickly and concisely.
Whether they’re delivering food to your customers or delivering a presentation to potential clients, a good employee needs a strong sense of organization. Being organized will help him juggle myriad responsibilities in an efficient manner. And depending on the job for which you’re hiring, there may be a lot of information, documents, schedules, and even other employees that need to be tracked. Organization helps make those activities go smoothly.
Adaptability is essential for most jobs these days, be it a barista, a food runner, a waiter, or something else entirely. Being able to go with the flow, or knowing when to resist the flow, is important for the happiness and well-being of coworkers and customers alike.
How To Write The Perfect Job Description
We’ll now turn our attention from what makes for a good employee, to how we can use that information to write the perfect job description for any position.
A basic job description should be divided into four sections:
- Job title
- Job summary
Let’s examine those one at a time.
1. Job Title
The job title should be something that answers the question, “What do you do?” The person reading the job description should be able to say, “I’m a (insert job title here).” For that reason, and to aid in comprehension, it’s important to keep the job title as simple as possible. A job title over eighty characters (that’s characters, not words) is too long. Keep it short and sweet.
2. Job Summary
The job summary section should provide a brief description of your business, the part the prospective employee will play in that business, and any expectations you may have. It’s in this section you put those traits and skills you defined earlier to work. Include descriptive words like “passionate”, “knowledgeable”, and “observant” to describe what you’re looking for in an employee.
In the responsibilities section, break down all the duties the job requires and place them in a bulleted list. Keep in mind that this is all about the details of the job. The skills and traits you listed in the first step of this process aren’t as important as describing what the employee would have to do should he be hired. But you can still sneak those traits into the mix by using appropriate words like “teamwork” and “smile”. For example, you might write, “Serve food with a smile” to underscore the importance of being friendly.
In this final section, list the following information:
- Necessary education (e.g., high school diploma or GED)
- Technical skills
- Must-have personality traits
This is the place to list each and every characteristic you wrote down in the first step. Get it all in there so the prospective employee can see what is needed and won’t be surprised during the interview process.
Now let’s put the rubber to the road, so to speak, and see how all of this fits together in a completed job description.
Job Description Template
As promised, we’ve included a job description template that you can cut and paste into your own document. You can then tailor it to your specific needs to produce the perfect job description for any position.
Wanted: Head Waiter
A 5-star, formal-dining restaurant needs a friendly, organized, and efficient water to join our team. If you have a love for food and providing a stellar dining experience, we want you to work in tandem with our top-notch servers and chefs to dazzle our customers. The successful candidate will be responsible for cultivating a dignified yet friendly relationship with our patrons while ensuring that they receive prompt, pleasant service while dining at our restaurant.
- Greet customers warmly.
- Establish professional relationship with guest.
- Inform patrons of specials and provide enthusiastic advice about ordering.
- Record customer orders and relay that information to kitchen staff.
- Take care of all customer needs making sure they never want for anything.
- Suggestion additional items like desserts and beverages when appropriate.
- Work together with other servers and kitchen staff to ensure prompt delivery of all food and drink.
- Maintain cleanliness of all public areas.
- Maintain cleanliness of personal appearance at all times.
- 5+ years experience preferred
- Familiarity with point-of-sale (POS) software
- Ability to lift up to 30 pounds
- Ability to stay calm, organized, and efficient under pressure
- High school diploma or GED preferred
- Flexibility and willingness to work weekends, evenings, and holidays as needed
- Enthusiasm for good food that is easily expressed to customers
- Able to memorize 3-5 specials and their descriptions for easy recitation to guests
- Observant and attendant to all customer needs
- Impeccable manners or the willingness to learn
(Insert contact information here.)
Keep in mind that writing the perfect job description doesn’t have to be a complicated job. Break the process into smaller pieces, base your writing on the skills and traits that are essential for the job, and then use a template to craft your final product. It’s just that simple. For more great management tools and help scheduling your employees, visit GetSling.com.