How to write effective job descriptions: a guide for smaller businesses

 The process of recruiting new staff can be challenging for smaller businesses, especially those with no dedicated HR manager. In this article we’re going to focus on one particular aspect of recruitment – writing job descriptions. We’ll examine why they are important and what they should include, as well as sharing some essential tips to help you attract the right candidates.

Why are job descriptions important?

There are several reasons why you should pay attention to job descriptions:

  • A job description is often the first impression of your business that potential applicants get
  • An accurate job description sets out clear expectations and therefore helps the recruitment process run more smoothly
  • A job description has an important ongoing role as a reference tool for staff appraisals and development
  • A full set of job descriptions for all staff clarifies team structure and responsibilities

What should a job description include?

When writing a job description, you need to make sure that all the key information is included, while at the same time keeping it succinct. Here is a checklist of what to include:

> Job title

It’s really important to get this right; think about whether it accurately reflects the role (+ how it fits into your business structure), but also whether it matches what potential applicants are likely to be searching for online.

> Job summary

This should be a short but persuasive overview describing your business and how this role fits within it. Summarise the objectives of the job and the qualities you’re looking for. This is where you can really sell the job.

> Responsibilities

Set out all of the different areas of responsibility, being as specific as possible (but without getting into too much detail). Your aim here is to define the scope of the job, as well as helping candidates understand what a typical day might look like. Be honest about what’s involved; smaller businesses in particular may require team members who are prepared to be flexible.

> Team structure

Explain how this position fits in with the rest of the team, in terms of both management and key interactions.

> Skills and competences

Write a list of the skills and competences needed for the role. Be realistic (and clear) about what’s absolutely necessary and what’s just desirable. This is the place to stipulate anything that’s non-negotiable (eg must have a driving licence) to avoid potential problems later in the recruitment process.

> Practicalities

Give details about salary, hours, location, holiday entitlement, benefits etc, as well as training/development opportunities, and any extra perks (eg free parking).

Some essential tips

Here are some general dos and don’ts for writing effective job descriptions:

  • Choose your words carefully – avoid jargon or anything potentially discriminatory
  • Aim for a professional but welcoming tone
  • Use headings and bullet points to make it easier to read (remember that many people search on their phones)
  • Check with other staff to make sure that everyone is clear (and agrees on) how the role fits in with the rest of the team
  • Ask someone unrelated to your business to read through the job description, to see if it makes sense to an outsider
If you get stuck – we can help!


As part of our bespoke recruitment service, we’re very happy to advise on job descriptions; we have a good deal of experience in helping clients to define the scope of new roles in particular. Our expertise is in establishing your exact requirements, and then finding the right person for the job. So if you need some help, please get in touch with GO Recruitment today.

GO Get Organised!

Helping smaller businesses overcome the challenges of recruitment


Dealing with recruitment can be one of the most difficult aspects of running a smaller business. There are lots of potential issues involved in managing it in-house, including lack of time, resources and expertise. But with many recruitment agencies charging exorbitant rates for an impersonal service, what’s the solution?

GO Get Organised specialises in recruiting for smaller businesses, and our approach addresses the particular challenges associated with this. Here’s how:

Challenge 1: Recruitment can be expensive

A lot of agencies charge high rates for their services, as well as demanding payment in full once someone has been appointed.

Our solution

We charge very reasonable rates – our finder’s fee is just 10% of the annual salary. But we also understand that cashflow can be an issue for smaller businesses, and so this fee is split into two instalments, with the first payable on appointment and the second 12 weeks later. If things don’t work out during this time – for whatever reason – then we won’t charge the second half. This helps minimise the financial risk of recruitment, as well as spreading out the cost.

Challenge 2: The dynamics of a small team

It can be tricky finding just the right person to fit in with a small team; you don’t want to jeopardise a successful dynamic in the rush to recruit someone new.

Our solution

It might sound a bit corny, but we really do care about people and we care about our clients. We take great pride in finding the right candidate for the job and helping businesses grow with the right team in place. We meet all candidates and clients personally and carefully assess their skills and needs. This personal, bespoke approach gives us the best possible chance of a good match.

Challenge 3: Small businesses need all-rounders

Working for a smaller business often requires multi-tasking, with team members expected to apply their skills to a range of responsibilities.

Our solution

We have a wealth of expertise in exactly this kind of recruitment; it’s our niche, and we can advise you on your best recruitment options. For example, you might want to employ just one person but to cover two distinct roles, such as an office manager and a marketing manager. Or you may decide to create a job-share position, with two people bringing complementary skills to one role. Our tailored service will ensure that you get exactly the right mix of skills that you need.

Challenge 4: The recruitment process can be daunting

Smaller businesses often lack experience in recruitment, and may not have proper procedures in place.

Our solution

We understand that recruitment can be complicated as well as time consuming, so we’re here to do all the legwork (eg sorting out references, screening candidates) and support you through the whole process. Smaller businesses are often at breaking point in terms of workload when the need to recruit becomes urgent; we can quickly get on with finding the right person to fill the position. It’s our mission to help your business grow smoothly.

Challenge 5: Attracting the right calibre of candidate

Smaller businesses aren’t as well known as the bigger players, and have limited resources to advertise.

Our solution

We have an excellent and growing reputation for recruitment in Bath and the local area, and have established various ways of spreading the word about vacancies and finding potential candidates of a high calibre. We work in partnership with many other businesses and freelancers, and have access to a number of different networks through which we can advertise for particular positions and skills.

So if you have a vacancy and would like some help filling it, please get in touch with us and we’ll find the right person for you.

GO Get Recruiting!