Every Job Needs a Job Description
Every position you hire for, as Patrice was just saying, should have a job description. It needs to have a set of expectations around it, and that means your job, too, right? Your job needs a job description as much as anybody else's does. And that's gonna help you as you, you know, start paying more attention to what role you're in in your company, and what other jobs you might be doing at any given time. So let's take a look at what to actually include in your job description. First we're gonna include information about the company. This is a really good opportunity, and we're talking about job descriptions both in terms of what you might put in a posting, which I'm gonna show you a specific one in just a minute, and also what you are gonna have as a job description in terms of what you have on file for an employee and what you use in their performance management and all of those things. There's some slight differences. They're very obvious. One has an application at the end of it or...
how to apply, and the other one has compensation and benefits at the end of it, right? So we're gonna start off with information about the company. Why, because we want to create context. This is just like when we were talking in the previous lesson about standard operating procedures. There's a why for every standard operating procedure. You need to have context for every job description. So we start with information about the company. Then we move on, also in keeping with context, about how this particular role fits inside the company and how it helps you, the company, achieve its goals, okay? So you're gonna write that out as well. Again, it goes to what why piece. Then this is the part of the job description that we're all pretty familiar with, I think, responsibilities. What are the responsibilities of this job? And you want to list out as many as possible, and of course you can say all of these responsibilities are included, but this might not be an exhaustive list, right? So we've got all those responsibilities. I also love to include skills, attitude, experience or cultural fit qualifications. So you really want to give people a picture of who the perfect person is for this job, and that's really how I think about it, is like how am I gonna describe the perfect person for this job? 'Cause we all want to find the perfect person, right? And again, one of the big fears that people were telling me about when we were preparing for this class, was I'm afraid I won't find the perfect person, or I'm afraid I'm gonna hire someone and then find out something horrible about them later on. One, that happens, and we'll talk more about that with Shannon in the next session. But also, when you include things about your company culture, when you describe that perfect person, when you get into what the right skills, the right attitude, the right experience are for this position, you're much less likely to run into those kind of question mark problems later on, okay? Then you're gonna talk about details about the position, including structure and schedule. Is this a part-time position? Is it a full-time position? Is there a schedule, is it flexible hours? Is it remote, is it in the office? Is it a contractor job? Is it a W2 employee job? You want to make sure you've got all of that in there. If you can include the compensation in your job listing, do so. Sometimes you're gonna be putting jobs out there that you just, you know, you don't know what is reasonable and you might have to have a longer negotiation with people. So that's something to keep in mind. And then of course, how to apply, if this is a job listing. So when we're thinking about how we're finding candidates, also be thinking about what you need from them to show you that they're worth you interviewing. 'Cause best case scenario, you put a job listing out there and you get 30 applicants. Do you have time to interview 30 applicants? I don't. We got 13 applicants for our last job, and it took an extraordinary amount of restraint to not interview all of them. (laughs) And I still interviewed six of them, so keep in mind, the process for applying, so that you can make judgments about who is worth interviewing as easily as possible. 'Cause you don't have a lot of time in the hiring process. As much as you might want to really take your time, really do due diligence, the better you create your application process, the more you can eliminate people who may be a good fit, but aren't a great fit up front, so you can really focus your attention on the ones that are a great fit. All right, let's look at this position that we just hired for literally two weeks ago. (laughs) And so it's called a Member Experience Specialist, and essentially, these are our hands-on community leaders. They're in there answering questions, connecting our members with resources, helping them get their questions answered, helping them navigate the platform, pretty much anything that our members need to help them improve their experience, our Member Experience Specialists do that. So first, I'm not gonna read this all through because we've already gone over all of this. But I'm gonna share who we are, what we do, why we do it, and what our vision is in the company section. This is super important for a job listing. You know what your company is. Nobody else does, right? And even if you were a Fortune 500 company, and you were hiring, a Fortune 50 company hiring, that job listing and job description is gonna have information about that company in it as well, because context is so important. But especially in our companies, we need to make sure that people at least have an idea of what we, as a company, do, because most people aren't familiar with companies like ours, right? (laughs) How many times do you have to explain like, they ask you what you do, and then you get that blank stare, and you're like, "Well, so I work from home, and I do this and then I do these other things." This is your opportunity to do that right off the bat, so you don't have to answer as many of those questions in an interview process. Then I share what their role at CoCommercial is. So again, this is that context. Here's how you fit into the bigger picture, here's how you're gonna help us reach our goals. So as the Member Experience Specialist, you work toward ensuring that both new and existing members love coming to CoCommercial for help with their small businesses. You personally engage with members to help them get questions answered and challenges overcome through other members, resources, and research. Your work helps us maintain high member retention, increase member referrals, and generate incredibly positive reviews for our product. So not only am I telling them here, here's how you fit into the bigger picture and here are some of our big picture goals, but I get really specific on the particular metrics that they're going to be helping us with. Our Member Experience Specialists have a huge role to play in how long our members stick with us, how often they send new members to us, and how often we get positive reviews of our product. And I want the person who's applying for this position, or holding this position, to have those metrics in mind all the time. They're super important to us and our goals, and they should be super important to the person who's taking that position. Then we got into the responsibilities. Your responsibilities may include, but aren't limited to, right? This is where that flexibility piece comes in. Someone asked, I forget who it was, and maybe it was actually an online question, where do you draw the line between flexibility in someone that you're looking for, and actually finding someone for a really specific role? This is how you draw the line. You list out all the things you think they might do, but you also leave yourself open to including other responsibilities as time goes on. You might find over time that you don't need this position anymore, as we were just talking about with Patrice. But you give yourself the opportunity that if you've got the right person and the business changes, that you can kind of get them on board with that change and maybe change their job up a little bit as well. Of course, if their job does change really functionally from the way their initial job description is set up, you want to deal with that in a conversation, and you want to get their buy-in on a new job description if necessary. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but job descriptions are really important. All right, so your responsibilities may include, but are not limited to adding a personal touch to new member onboarding, fielding questions about our platform, community, or culture from members, collaborating with the Community Advocate to plan member events, facilitating or hosting member events, collaborating with the Community Advocate to increase member contribution and participation, collaborating with the Growth Advocate to help encourage new member enrollment from the inside out, interviewing, assisting. Do you see how each one of these bullet points starts with a verb? That might sound really silly for me to point out, but it's really important. You want people doing things, right? And you want to think about those responsibilities as the things people are going to do. So make sure you start your responsibilities with verbs. The amount of times I see bullet points that don't start with verbs. You make all of your writing stronger when you start with verbs in your bullet points. (laughs) That was very helpful. Thank you. (laughter) Another thing I want to point out here too, is that you start to see, if you remember back to the org chart that I shared with you in a previous lesson, we have different functional teams. We have the community team, we have the growth team, and we have the finance and admin team. There are actually responsibilities here that are tied to each of those three teams. So the earlier bullet points here are talking about the community team that Shannon heads up. There's collaborating with the Growth Advocate. Who is that? You. Me, so they work with me as well, and then the Member Success Advocate, that's Marty. He does the technical support for people, right? And so sometimes they're gonna have to help him out as well, 'cause he can only work so much. I guess. (laughter) So, I just want to show you here, too, that while this role is about community and about building our community, this is a really flexible position that collaborates with the whole rest of our team, 'cause we want our team to both understand where their best use is, and how they're really contributing value, but at the same time really work as an integrated unit that's all working in the same direction to achieve our mission and our vision. Any questions about these responsibilities? No? All right, I also icluded with this position, some nice to haves, okay? So that list of responsibilities were have to haves, in that this job is almost definitely going to be doing all of these things at some point in time. But then I had some nice to haves as well. I had things that I hoped I might be able to find somebody to do, so Melissa, this goes to your question earlier, where you said I don't know if it's realistic to find somebody who could do this thing, this thing and this thing. The answer is I don't know if it is either, but I'd put those things in this nice to haves section and you'll find out whether it's realistic to find somebody. So I also asked for, or I also said this position might include, if you have experience in these areas, managing and editing our blog, Help Yourself, facilitating small group experiences and masterminds, and representing the community on our social media channels. Guess what happened when I included all three of those things? I got two candidates who can do all of those things. Amazing! And really, I can remember having conversations with Shannon and with Rosie and being like, I wonder if we could find somebody who could do this and this, and this, and the answer was yes. But the only way I figured that out was to put it in the job description and to see what happens, and it happened to work out really, really nicely. Then I got into that skills, attitude, and experience piece. So this is where I'm describing my ideal candidate. This is exactly who I want in this job, and there's no trick to this. Close your eyes and ask yourself, who would be the perfect person for this job? What are their qualities? What are their experience? What's their attitude in the face of problems or challenges or super detailed paperwork, right? Whatever it might be for your job, and then describe that person in a series of bullet points. You're a people person who's outgoing and values cultivating relationships with lots of different kinds of people. You've worked in customer service or support before and received great feedback. You have exceptional communication skills. You value transparency, personal empowerment, experimentation, and exposing yourself to diverse perspectives. You're extremely comfortable with navigating the web and using social media. You love finding new apps or software that help you make life easier. You're creative and organized. You're detail oriented and interested in the big picture. I find this section to be incredibly important, because here's the thing. We're hiring for jobs that people have not done before, right? Like how many client success managers are you gonna go out and find? Like, those jobs do exist, but the amount of people in the pool of potential candidates that you're looking for is probably nil and maybe on the good side, one or two. You don't want to limit yourself to someone who identifies with the job title. You want to describe them so that someone can self-select into that, who might not have the precise experience, but still fits all of the personality traits of that job. So like when I hired Shannon, Shannon didn't have any community management experience. But when I thought about who I wanted in that job, Shannon fit that person to a T. And so a lot of our hiring process was me actually explaining the job to her, and how- (laughs) Well, not only explaining the job, but also explaining this crazy online small business world to her, explaining those two things, and then telling her how what I knew about her, her actual experience, her attitude, her skills, the culture that she values in a company, was a perfect match for what we were building and what we were already doing. So it was this, you know, it was a- It created kind of a, in hiring her, it created a long learning curve to get into the job. But at the same time, I knew I was hiring someone who was perfect for it without having to go out and do a search specifically for someone who identified as a community manager. Does that make sense? Mm-hmm. All right, cool. This, I think, is the best thing you can do for yourself in really setting yourself up for success with a job description, because this- Yeah, you're gonna get people who maybe wouldn't have otherwise applied, applying who might be able to add even more value than someone who has the specific experience or identifies with that job title that you've created. Then I identified what the position was, so this position is approximately 20 hours a week, part-time and work from home. It may involve some evening and weekend work. The position has the potential to grow into a full-time position in the next 12 months. And then, and I've shared this job description before and a couple of people have asked me about it, is that Pennsylvania or Virginia residency is preferred, but anyone eligible to work in the United States may apply. The reason I had PA and VA residency preferred is because my business is already set up to do business, to pay payroll taxes, has offices, in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and had I found someone in those states, I wouldn't have had so many legal hoops to jump through. And it's not really legal hoops. It's more like paperwork hoops. And it's not really paperwork, 'cause most of it's done online for most states now, and so I don't want to scare you. It's absolutely possible to hire someone in another state and get set up with it. It just takes some Googling or calling someone who knows how to do it. So please don't be scared. I was scared of it for a really long time, and I wish I would have jumped into it sooner. Because it just wasn't that bad. That said, had I found someone in PA or VA, I would have been very pleased. (laughs) Also I'll say, and we'll get into this more in the interviewing process, but when I was interviewing, I made it very clear that this was a W2 position and not a 1099 position, because in our space, people who are applying for jobs are so used to that contract work environment, that I wanted to make it really, really clear that the reason the compensation was the way that it was, the reason the schedule was the way that it was, was that it was a W2 position. I'm gonna pay your payroll taxes for you. I'm gonna do all of this stuff for you. You're going to be my employee, okay? In this job description I said compensation is based on experience and a mix of skills, because I could see a pretty broad range in what we might be able to offer based on what that was, and honestly I didn't know the answer to that question when we were ready to hire yet. So I put the job description together and then came up with the answer to that question based on the kinds of people we had apply. And then we have the application process. You might just say hey, send me your resume and a cover letter. You might say send me your resume, cover letter, and three references, or you might do what we did, which is an application. I did an application and I'm gonna show you what that application looks like in just a minute here, because I didn't want to have to interview too many people. It didn't exactly work that way, because we had such great applicants, but I wanted to set up that application essentially as a first interview. And so I asked a lot of the experience questions. I asked a lot of the technology questions in that interview so that I had a pretty good picture of whether this person was a good fit or not, and then I could interview to find out if they were a great fit. So we did an application and then an email if there was additional information that people wanted to share. Any questions about that? Yeah? I have a question, I have two questions. One, and it kind of relates to the schedule and the difference between an employee and, or the difference between W2 and 1099. What about, are you setting vacations, sick days, like how much time they take off? Yeah, so I do for our full-time employee. They get a benefits package with a certain number of vacation days and you know, the time off policy in general. But for part-time employees, we don't, and the way I communicate schedule is that for the most part, and we talked about this more in the interviewing process, is about 15 hours of the work is pretty flexible per week, and about five hours is scheduled. And I made it clear that like we're not expecting you to work an eight hour shift on a Saturday, right? This isn't like working retail. One of the benefits I provide is that when I say work weekends, I mean check your email once on a Saturday. You're in charge of customer support this weekend.
Right. Yeah, so I don't worry too much about benefits in terms of part-time employees, but definitely for full-time employees. What was the other thing I wanted to say? Oh, we offer a stipend in addition to compensation for internet. That was my next question. Are you providing their computer and internet and things like that? Yeah, so I provide the computer for our full-time employee, but not our part-time employees. They're set up and ready to go themselves. It wasn't even a question this time. But I do pay a certain amount for their internet and phone usage every month. So Shannon gets one amount and our part-timers get another amount. I just wanted to make a delightful observation. I saw mission, vision, value, opportunity, capability, all built in. Yes. So good. Thank you. (laughter) I've learned a lot in the last year. Let me tell you that. Now I'm giving it to you so you don't have to waste as much time as I have. (laughs)