How to Write Job Descriptions for Startups

The first step to building out your amazing team for incredible success is to write a solid job description. Never written one before? Looking for some tips to give your startup the competitive edge in the fight for talent in this candidate-scarce market?  Justa’s got you covered with this job description builder guide.

We’ve put together a list of key bullet points we recommend be included in a JD. We wouldn’t necessarily rank them in order of importance; ideally, you’d be able to include all of them. If you can’t yet, these points can give you perspective on where your startup is at and serve a list of concepts or ideas that you probably need to build into your startup soon.

In the upcoming part 2 of this post, we’ll go over the function of a job description, i.e. different ways you can employ the JD based on the needs of your startup at any given point. Enjoy!

Important Points to Include Startup Job Description

  • Clear Vision and Mission Statements
  • Funding and Investment Details
  • Winning Description of Your Product/Service
  • Window onto Your Company Culture/ Core Values
  • Expansion/ Growth Plans
  • Duties and Responsibilities of the Role


Nailing Your Mission and Vision Statements

vision statement for startups


If you haven’t solidified these already, there are many helpful posts that can help you put together a great ones.   What are they?

The mission statement should be a concise statement of business strategy and developed from the customer’s perspective and it should fit with the vision for the business. The mission should answer three questions:

  • What do we do?
  • How do we do it?
  • For whom do we do it?


From Mission Statements for New and Small Firms

You can tackle this like a kind of Mad Lib,

For example

_______________ (company name)   _______________(verb) for  _____________ (noun plural/ occupation) by _______________(verb gerund)______________(noun plural)___________________(adjective)_______________(product/service).

So then you might get something like

Startalike promotes cleanliness among Generation Y’ers by providing comprehensive 24-hr laundry pick up/delivery services, accessible via app.

A vision, however, usually states what problem you are trying to solve long term, perhaps a greater purpose to fulfill. A mission is more of the steps you will take to achieve the vision. A lot of tech startups are disrupting or changing the world. How is yours doing it?

Startalike — Aiming for cross-generational universal convenience and presentability.


Funding: Let People Know Where Your Startup Stands

Who are your investors? How much funding have you received to date?

It helps to know what stage your startup is at and what security/risk is associated with joining your startup at this point in time. Have you raised a round of funding recently? Which stage?  Are the investors reputable? Are you a safe bet? Are you a more risky bet? The stage your startup is at may not only determine the type of individual that you want to hire, but also provide some efficient self-selection.

Accurately Describe Your Product and/or Services

How do you make revenue?
What is your business model and what is exciting about it?

You’ll want to be as clear as you can, but this is also a great place to sell your company to applicants.

A  B2C product might be easier because people tend to relate to it much more easily – they can download your app or play your game! The potential applicant could be a user already. For B2B and especially highly technical products, e.g. a content delivery network or big data platform, it might take more finesse to make the message easy to understand for a potential applicant.  Take your time on this one. Again, it could help filter appropriate candidates through self-selection if you need talent from a specific industry or  with a specific knowledge base.


Go Deep: Company Culture and Core Values

startup culture

The beating heart of your startup is your team. What are they like? Many applicants really want to know what kind of culture the company has and the kinds of values the team share.

This question can be hard to answer or state. Try and use examples of activities, initiatives or processes that help illustrate what types of cultures and values have been established organically or intentionally as your team has been coming up.

Whatever the answer, it’s always helpful to be able to back this up through content whether on the website directly or social media posts over time.  If your content or social media presence is thin, try to frame your posts in terms of culture and core values as you go.

Present and Future

What is your business situation in Japan? What are your global expansion plans? Where is your HQ now, planning to be in future?

Being a global business or playing on the global market is what the most exciting startups aspire towards. Some Japanese startups have developed success with a story that begins in Japan but HQ based abroad, as it shows their intention to be truly a global player.  Describe your game plan in the short, mid- and if you can, the long term.


The Nitty Gritty : Details of the Position

description of duties


What is the role type that you are looking for? What are the main responsibilities? Who is the report line?

How much detail you decide to include here is subjective to your stage (do you need more flexible generalists or specialist skills?) and your hiring mindset (do you like interviewing with an open mind, inspired by who you meet and tend to create new positions or hybrid positions based on that individual or team? or do you prefer a more rigid execution of a predetermined strategy?).

What are the requirements (need to have / nice to have)?

Here you can create the basis for screening questions in an actual interview. Usually it helps to have quantifiables – e.g. has marketed a product to 1,000,000+ users, or exceeded sales revenue targets YoY, has passed N2 of the Japanese language proficiency test, has 3+ years of experience coding on an e-commerce platform.

What are the conditions / benefits (full time, salary range, special benefits)?

Whilst it may not be common to put a committal salary in a job description a range might be included. If you have any unique and special perks or  benefits, be sure to include them. Things like flex time, remote work ok, unlimited holidays, pet friendly office, annual training expense etc, bonus, stock options (remember in Japan a lot of candidates are not familiar with this concept so be sure to explain it or if you have content around this it could be useful) all have the potential to ring especially valuable to that candidate you’re looking for.

Put all of these elements together, and you have a functional description! Stay tuned for part two, when we’ll advise you on all the ways you can leverage the power of your JD.

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