So much of your business's success depends upon your employees. The better you're able to communicate what you want in a candidate during the interview, the better you'll be able to find someone to do the work well and allow you to run your company. That's where the job function comes in.


Job function means the essential list of tasks or activities that someone performs in a job role.

The Definition of Job Function

Job function is the combined list of responsibilities and competencies that you expect from a potential employee. For example, the job function of a waiter may be to:

  • Clean and prepare tables
  • Present and explain menus to customers
  • Inform customers about the daily specials
  • Take accurate food and drink orders and communicate them to kitchen staff
  • Serve food and drink orders
  • Carry dirty crockery, silverware and glasses to the kitchen for cleaning
  • And so on

It takes time, care and vision to create an effective description of job functions but it's well worth the effort. This extra level of attention helps you to narrow down the pool of applicants, focus the questions you ask in a job interview and assess and evaluate worker performance once someone becomes part of your team.

Describes the Primary Job Responsibilities

The description of job responsibilities that you provide in your ads and listings allows you to define the work that you expect from a potential employee. By accurately describing the functions that the people you hire will have to perform, you give prospective applicants a sense of whether the position will be a good fit and whether they can handle the areas you need covered. A strong description of job responsibilities sets the stage for accountability down the line, giving you something to refer back to in routine evaluations and enabling you to better address issues if an employee's performance falls short.

Can Take the Form of a Task List

A task list is an alternate way of expressing what you need from a job candidate. While job responsibilities tend to be expressed in terms of generalized expectations, a task list tells prospective employees how their work days will be organized and just what they will be doing. Task lists tend to be written using active verbs because they describe actions rather than the niche in your company that needs to be filled. A detailed job list should include everything an employee will do during a typical work day, from filing to troubleshooting. A well written job list will also include desired outcomes, such as filing all paperwork or filling all orders for a given department.

Can Take the Form of Job Specific Competencies

The list of competencies included in a job description expresses much of the same information as the description of responsibilities in the task list, but it organizes this information in terms of what the prospective employee brings to the equation. For example, an employee who will be in charge of maintaining and repairing equipment must be a skilled equipment technician, and a menu planner must have knowledge of cuisines and flavors. Job competencies can be expressed in terms of both skill and experience.