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  • Writer's picturePhimation Strategy Group

How to Write Job Descriptions for Second Stage Companies

Updated June 2, 2021

Congratulations, Second Stage CEO! You’ve gotten customers, survived cash flow crises, and created a vibrant team. Now, at last, you’ve created job description. You put it off as long as you could, because job descriptions are so un-startup. But, you’ve realized that it’s time to get clear on what people are responsible for, so that there’s more accountability, and so that it’s clear whether that new hire is getting the job done (or not).

From tasks to competencies

If you’re a young second stage company – say, 10-30 people – your job descriptions can focus on people’s responsibilities – what they do…their functional tasks.

But if you’ve passed 30 people, you’re going to need more from your job descriptions – rather than responsibilities, you’re going to need to focus on competencies.

What are competencies? They are the things that people are able to do – which could mean making copies or putting a design into AutoCAD, or could also mean handling angry customers or juggling multiple priorities. Sometimes competencies are the functional tasks, but frequently competencies are behaviors that go beyond the task. Competencies give a much deeper view into what a person, position, or team is capable of.

Responsibility: process assessments

Competency: recognize errors and problem-solve when one is found

Responsibility: respond to customer inquiries

Competency: empathize with customers in pressure-filled situations

You need to know the functional responsibilities of your people. If you look at the competencies you need in a position, you’ll paint a much richer picture of who can be successful, and what training your people will need.

When you’re ready for guidance on creating competency based job descriptions, send an email to and we can talk about your situation.

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