How to write your job description to attract the right people
By Rob Williams
You’re getting ready to start a new project. Let’s make sure you put yourself in the best possible position to pick the right fit for you.
We’ll do it in three parts:
- Write an awesome (but brief) job/project description
- Post your job where top professionals can see it
- Discuss your options with top candidates
I’ll provide additional guidance on each of these steps below, but for now that’s all you need to know. Let’s get started.
How to write your brief project summary (with examples)
✅ Keep it brief
This is the main thing to remember. Brevity is key. The best people are busy. Shaving words off of your project summary means less work for them and a clearer look at your company. Don’t worry about forgetting something, instead rely on questions to uncover anything you left out.
❌ Don’t prescribe a solution
You’re hiring an outside perspective. That’s means if you provide the solution, you’re not getting what you pay for. You want to access expert thinking on your project more than anything else. So stick to talking about the challenges and goals of your project. This leaves you open to great solutions. “Don’t hire a dog, and then bark yourself – David Ogilvy”
✅ Introduce yourself
A nice friendly introduction that’s a few lines long is a great way to start your project summary.
Example: Hi! I’m David. I run FeedMeow, a small 3-person startup based out of San Francisco. We’re one coder, one biz dev guy, and one cat food expert. Our app lets you order great-tasting, healthy cat food online and then monitor how much food your cat eats throughout the week via a sleek web app.
✅ Answer the tough questions
The reason behind why you’re doing the project in the first place is the most important thing a professional can learn about you. It might take some soul-searching but ask yourself these questions:
- Where is your company lacking?
- How will you measure success?
- What will change for you as a result of a successful project?
- How could your customers be better served?
- Who are your customers and what do you want to do for them?
- Who makes decisions?
- What requirements must be met?
Example: It all started about 6 months ago when Ben (our coder) started blogging about cat nutrition on his blog, UCannotHazCheezburger. Pretty soon all his friends were asking him for cat nutrition advice, and he realized that cat lover’s needs were not being met by the corrupt cat food industry. So we decided to do something about it, and our app is now used by more than 3,000 cat lovers throughout the country. Rampant cat obesity is an epidemic that is endangering the poor critters’ health. The NICH (National Institute for Cat Health) estimates that by 2020, half of US cats will be overweight, costing US taxpayers more than $2 trillion annually in veterinarian costs.
We’re looking for someone to help us design our upcoming iPhone app. We’ve noticed a lot of people are using the site from their mobile phones, so we decided it was time to build a mobile app. The app will let you order cat food on the go, and even check-in at specific cat food places to get special discounts and win badges. So you could say it combines social commerce, geolocalisation, and gamification. And cats.
✅ Provide a timeframe
Give a date and more importantly, the reasoning behind this date.
Example: We’re hoping to launch the app in time for Christmas sales, so we really want to get it done in the next month or so.
❌ But don’t define the timeline
It’s not your job to lay out a complete timeline for the project. Again this is part of what you’re paying an expert to do for you. Deliverable due dates for the project should be created later by the freelancer or agency once they build their process around your targets.
✅ Ask for references
Talking to people that have hired this person or team is a great way to get unfiltered thoughts on working with them.
❌ Don’t ask for spec work
If you ask someone to create work for you without full understanding your goals or constraints, they’re very likely to get the solution wrong. This means you don’t get an accurate look at what they can do. The person or team you hire should begin with a discovery phase and deep understanding of your problems.
✅ Create a paid test project
Test project, unlike spec work, are a great idea. You get to test-drive working together in a real way. Things like personality, style, and communication are a big factor in successfully working together — so bite a tiny piece of the project off together before you do the whole thing. You can even give the same test project to multiple candidates and compare the results.
✅ Allow for questions and conversations
Giving people an open communication chanel is huge. It creates the best proposals because you allow potential partners to learn about you in a natural way. You’re going to be working together for months. Enjoy each others company, and make sure you’re able to communicate clearly and openly.
❌ Don’t invite the whole world
You don’t want to get into a deep conversation with more than 5 people. More than 5 conversations simply takes too much time. So be quick on the filtering. Give people a chance, but if they don’t improve, move on to the next applicant.
✅ Share your budget
To truly provide the best solution, a freelancer or agency needs an accurate look at your price. This helps them determine what’s possible. It will allow them to develop a custom solution that’s best for your situation. Don’t hide it!
And that’s it! I hope this guide helps you accomplish amazing things with your hires. If you have a project you need help with make sure you check out Folyo, it’ll save you a ton of time and headaches.
And that’s it, you’re done!
This is the best place to find freelancers and agencies who specialize in your project. It’s also free, curated so you waste less time, and allows you to chat instantly with numerous candidates in one place. As an added benefit, it’s the only place applicants can add a portfolio piece that’s specifically related to your project. (Disclaimer, it’s my site – obviously – since you’re on it… right now).
This is the best place to find full-time employees because you’re not limited to a specific location’s reach.
About Rob Williams...
I run Folyo which can help your remote company find the right designer in the next 7 days. I also host Freelance, a podcast about how you can be more effective at independent work featuring remote companies like Basecamp, Converkit, Highrise and more. If you're a designer looking for clients, you can also get a free 14-day trial of my referral newsletter today.
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