Before you recruit, understand your employee needs Email
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 04:00 AM

Now Hiring signBefore you begin the search for an employee, you should have a clear idea of the job you wish them to do. A good job description is a useful tool for recruitment, hiring, and staff development.

It is important to keep in mind that the job description is considered a legal document. It should clearly define the role that an employee will play in the workplace. It should not contain any language that can be construed as discriminatory. Phrases related to race, color, religion, age, sex, ethnicity or nationality, or disabilities do not belong in the hiring process--they are illegal.

Start with a job analysis

In order to write an effective job description, it’s a good idea to conduct a job analysis. In other words, you need to decide:

  • What the employee does. What are the duties, tasks, and responsibilities associated with this position?
  • How they do it. What tools and techniques will they need to use in order to complete those duties
  • Why they do it. What products and services does your business provide that are dependent on the employee completing their job tasks?
  • What qualifies them to do it. What knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience are necessary to be successful in the job?

While you are answering these questions, it’s a good time to ask if this position is the best for your company.

  • Does this position contribute to the success of your organization?
  • Are there too many responsibilities and duties for one person?
  • Are the skills needed for each task related, or should they be divided among different jobs? Is it unrealistic to think that one employee could have all of those qualifications?
  • Can one employee realistically handle all of the work their position requires?

Once you’ve analyzed the position and developed a solid list of duties, techniques, and qualifications, it’s time to write your job description.

The components of a quality job description

Job Title
While the landscape industry may not have as many “Managers of Fun” or “Directors of Disruption” as other industries, it’s still important to be sure that job titles don’t become creative writing exercises. They should be clear and respectful of the responsibilities of the position. It might sound fun in a boring meeting, but “Landscape Wizard” is not a helpful job title for anyone.

Responsibilities and duties
Be sure to list the most common tasks required by the position. Be specific and use clear terminology, not a lot of jargon. DO: Mow lawns, repair irrigation DON’T: Landscape maintenance

However, the list should not be so specific that it creates a list of duties that are overwhelming or unrealistic.

List the required skills, credentials, licenses, and/or certification required for the job.

Briefly discuss the position’s relation to their team. To whom do they report? Will they be responsible for supervising other team members? Will they collaborate with other employees? Explain the role of the position in the company’s organizational structure.

Salary Range
To determine the appropriate wage or salary for a position, you need to consider a couple of factors:

Budget. You need to be sure that you have the funds available to pay the new hire. Check your budget to be sure you can afford a new employee.

Competition. Research your local business community (a small business development center is a good place to start). Find out who the local competition might be—it might not be simply “other landscape companies.” Oil & gas, construction, and the hospitality industry could be vying for similar candidates. It’s helpful to know what wages are being offered by competitors before setting a starting wage or salary range.

Your competition and the wages offered by those competitors will not be the same for every position. ALCC has some info about industry wages, but you will need to conduct research to find out who your local competition is (oil/gas, hospitality, etc). Understanding the current wages available to candidates with the skills you seek can help your business recruit competitively in your community.

Keep in mind that the job description is not the same as a job posting. It is more detailed and should be shared with those whom you’ve identified as a viable prospect. You may choose to hold the job description until you have made an offer to a candidate. An advertisement is an overview of the job, while the description helps candidates get a better sense of the day-to-day life of the new hire.

You may use the job description to discuss long-term goals that your business has set for the position. You can also offer information about career path opportunities that may arise from the job.

More recruitment information is available to ALCC members at

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Do you lock your digital doors at the office?
Internships pay off for students and employer
ALCC members climb the Inc. 5000
Golf tournament is fun for a good cause