The Describe phase helps you to get crystal clear on the purpose and responsibilities of the role, and also serves to communicate what the job is all about to candidates and other players in the company. There are three broad headings that your job description should focus on: Purpose, Responsibilities and Qualities.
Purpose describes why the role is important and aligns the role to the vision of the company. Most formal job descriptions are adequate in the format that they follow; however they fall short in describing why the role is important and where it fits in the big picture.
Responsibilities describe the results and outcomes that the person filling in the role must achieve. Most managers make the mistake of listing tasks under this heading. Task dictates ‘how’ to do a particular job. Over time the how to changes and evolves, while the ‘where to’ often remains constant. Focusing on outcomes and results (where to) gives the employee more autonomy over how they do their job, which increases motivation and performance.
Qualities describe the skills, experience, qualifications and personal attributes that the candidate will need in order to be successful in the role. This is where your must haves and nice to haves come into play. List each quality in priority order and be specific as possible. By having an effective job description, you will give yourself clarity about what the job is and what you want. You’ll also give candidates a better understanding of the role and how it fits into the bigger picture.