Writing a job description that works: the Homebase Hiring Guide

Whenever you’re hiring new employees, you’re in a rush to find someone to fill the open position. We bet that you’ve given an offer to a candidate, only to realize you probably could have found a more qualified candidate to fit the job description. All too often, when an employee quits, managers and human resources officials rush to fill an open position.

Instead, invest 10 minutes to write an effective job description. This takes up time that you probably don’t have, but the 10 minutes of work you do upfront will increase the number of qualified applicants you receive for the job title.

That hastily written job description isn’t helping. We’ve seen inadequate job postings result in too many under-qualified applicants. And qualified applicants are overlooked because they did not highlight their more relevant work experiences on their application.

Instead, write a job description that contains your duties and responsibilities for the role. This will REDUCE the number of applicants you DON’T want (resumes submitted from applicants who don’t meet your needs) and BOOST the ones you DO want (resumes from applicants who have work experience relevant to your job posting). 

This saves hours of time in your day-to-day operations wasted combing through resumes, phone screening and interviewing only to discover the applicant doesn’t have the skill set that is required for the position.

You don’t need to be a great writer to quickly create an effective job description—you simply need a grid like the one below. In one column, list the top five most critical job duties (like greeting customers or solving customers’ problems). Next to that, assign the behaviors required to perform each job duty effectively. Finally, think through any minimum requirements an applicant must have before they can even walk through the door for an interview.

Sample Job Description for a Front of House Host

In this guide, we have included sample job descriptions for some of the most common jobs—feel free to copy them or change them to fit your business.

Pro-tip: Don’t let language barriers get in the way

Because there are fewer job possibilities for non-English speaking employees due to the language barrier, the ability to tap into this market can result in lower turnover rates and more loyal employees. Don’t let language barriers stop you from casting your net in Spanish and other languages popular in your area. Carlos Metzer, manager of Siphon Coffee, says that communicating with non-English speakers is much easier than you might think. With tools like Google Translate and the help of a couple bilingual employees, communicating with non-English speaking employees is a breeze.

Target a Wage Range

When targeting a job-specific wage range, keep in mind that higher pay reduces employee turnover. A study of over 280,000 jobs scheduled on Homebase looking to find answers on this issue revealed that when employees make close to minimum wage ($7.75 to $11 per hour on average), their average stay in a job is less than 200 days. When the wage goes up to between $11 and $14 per hour, an employee stays approximately a month longer. 

Above $14 per hour and the employee stays an additional few weeks on average. Increasing your wage by just 50 cents per hour ($1,000 a year more per full-time hourly employee) will actually save you money since you won’t have to spend it on recruiting potential candidates and training a replacement.

Occasionally, managers will avoid posting the wage rate for an open position because they want to see if they can get the best employee and pay as little as possible. Keeping negotiating options open may seem smart, but, unfortunately, not being transparent about the wage rate can backfire. 

Other businesses are posting the wage rate, and applicants are more likely to apply to those places. By posting the wage range, you automatically screen for applicants who are comfortable with this critical detail of your role. We recommend posting the wage range and asking candidates during the phone screen if they are willing to work within the range you’ve posted.

Pro-tip: Avoid Introductory Wage Rates

DO NOT advertise a discounted “introductory” wage rate. You will recruit from a discounted pool of candidates.
DO hire the best candidate you can find and pay accordingly.
The old adage is right: you get what you pay for. Always communicate the highest amount you’re willing to pay, and you’ll attract the best candidates.

Highlight the perks of working for your company

Companies known for great employee perks, like Chick-fil-A and Starbucks, rarely have to hunt for employees or post a position online. Applicants line up for the chance to work for these companies.According to Nyk Montano, a hiring specialist at Homebase and former retail manager, it’s as simple as including in your job posting the upside of working for you.

Show that your business values its employees. Are there meals provided when an employee is on shift? Are schedules flexible enough to accommodate students or mothers? Do you provide opportunities to train for other positions? 

A business that tells hourly employees they care sets that business apart from hundreds of other potential employers.

Always be hiring

We know there are a million other things you have to do and would rather be doing. Managers are stretched thin and most of your time is spent on actions that immediately impact operations. Even so, you should make time every week to focus on finding quality employees. Your investment will pay off in the long term. 

Identify positions that turnover frequently, or have been difficult to fill in the past. Spend time updating online postings, reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. Your business will run more efficiently and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and headaches in the long run when you make recruitment a weekly priority.

Sample job descriptions


We’re looking for a friendly and outgoing Barista who has a passion for coffee and meeting new people. The ideal candidate has an interest in coffee and exhibits consistently exceptional customer service.

Main Responsibilities Include:

• Prepare hot and cold drinks in accordance with customers’ needs

• Maintain a clean and tidy work area

• Follow health and safety guidelines

• Make our customers feel at home

Qualifications Include:

• Proven work experience as a Barista

• High integrity with a great attendance record

• Strong attention to detail

• Ability to listen and communicate effectively


We’re looking for an eager and detail oriented cook to prepare food and set up stations for further food preparation. The ideal candidate is reliable and able to follow detailed directions.

Main Responsibilities Include:

• Setup and breakdown workstations

• Cook dishes to business standards

• Follow health and safety guidelines

• Prepare ingredients for use during shift

Qualifications Include:

• Proven work experience as a Cook

• Familiarity with kitchen equipment and utensils

• Strong attention to detail

• Ability to listen and communicate effectively

Retail Salesperson

We’re looking for a friendly and outgoing Retail Salesperson who likes talking with our customers and making them feel comfortable. The ideal candidate exhibits consistently exceptional customer service and is able to think on their feet when our customers need additional help.

Main Responsibilities Include:

• Welcomes customers by greeting them and offering them assistance

• Directs customers by escorting them to racks and counters and suggesting items

• Advises customers by providing information on products

• Processes payments by totaling purchases and processing checks, cash, and store or other credit cards

• Contributes as needed to wider team efforts to achieve store goals

• Uses judgment to solve customer problems

• Maintains scheduling commitments

Qualifications Include:

• Friendly and outgoing personality

• Excellent verbal skills

• Able to problem solve as issues arise

The Homebase Guide to Hiring

In the Homebase Guide to Hiring, we cover:​

1. Introduction

2. Writing a Job Post that Works

3. Acing the Interview as the Hiring Manager
4. Effective Employee Onboarding
5. Evaluating Candidates in a Competitive Job Market

Your business can use the tips and tricks in this guide to hire the employees you need, reduce turnover, and save a lot of time.

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