Writing an accurate and effective job specification to accompany your job description is vital when you want to attract and evaluate the best candidates. Spending a little time crafting a job spec will save your company time later in the hiring process, when hiring managers come to screen applicants. Good job specifications ensure candidates are appropriate, while bad job specifications attract CVs from applicants who are a poor fit, which might mean starting your recruitment process again from scratch.
Here we offer free access to a job description sample and share how to write a job spec, covering:
- Job specification meaning
- How to write a job spec
- Steps for writing a job specification
- The objectives and purposes of job specifications
Job Specification Meaning
The term ‘job specification’ means a list that describes the essential skills and knowledge, required education, experience, and personality traits candidates must possess to apply for a complete the duties and job responsibilities of a position. So, job descriptions state the main duties and key responsibilities of a job, while job specifications state the personal traits and necessary skills candidates need to complete them.
The job title, company summary, job description, and job specification are combined to create a job ad ready for posting.
How To Write A Job Spec
Job specs provide a framework for the recruitment process and candidate selection. So, they must be created carefully and be free from internal terminology to ensure the right candidate is hired.
To be effective, your job specification should include four components:
1. QUALIFICATIONS & EDUCATION
This job posting section covers the qualifications required to apply for and complete the role. You can add qualifications to your job descriptions, such as a high school diploma, GCSE, A-level, and Bachelor’s degree.
To attract the right talent, your business needs to consider what constitutes over-qualified and under-qualified. If you are posting an entry-level job, you probably don’t need to ask for potential applicants with a Bachelor’s degree. Asking for unneeded qualifications or failing to mention essential qualifications will mean hearing from few candidates appropriate for the role (and salary).
2. SKILL REQUIREMENTS
The required skills part of the job spec defines general technical skills, such as software proficiency, and soft skills, including team management, leadership, numeracy, and communication. To quantify skills, your company may want to ask candidates about recognition, certificates, and awards or test and verify them through questioning during the interview stage of the recruitment process.
Adding required experience into your job specification may be helpful when you need a person who has worked in a particular industry or a similar positions. If the position doesn’t require previous experience, you might mention on-the-job training to encourage applications from potential new employees looking to advance their knowledge and career.
4. PERSONALITY TRAITS
Personality traits are the desirable characteristics the ideal candidate should demonstrate. Personal traits are vital because they indicate how a person may act or perform in a particular situation. The candidate’s emotional intelligence and tendencies could tell you if the potential employee is a cultural fit for your team and organisation or can communicate and interact effectively with your customers, suppliers, and business partners.
Steps For Writing A Job Specification
These are the steps to follow to write a job specification:
- Analyse the job description to decide if education and qualifications are required to perform the role.
- Review the job title and job description to determine the seniority of the role and its degree of specialisation. This will help you judge the years of experience talent needs to be successful in the position.
- Read the job description and speak to a line manager or existing employee to create a list of required skills.
- Review your company summary, mission, values, and job description to identify soft skills and personality traits.
- Check that the job specification does not include discriminatory terms or mentions race, sexual orientation, gender, age, or religion.
The Objectives And Purposes Of Job Specifications
Review the objectives and purposes below if you are still debating whether to invest time in creating job specifications to accompany your job descriptions.
JOB SPECIFICATION OBJECTIVES:
- Highlight the necessary skills and education to perform tasks
- Create a framework for identifying the best talent
- Create a framework for screening candidates
- Help managers and HR appraise employee performance
JOB SPECIFICATION PURPOSES:
- Help a job seeker with their job search and decide if they are eligible to apply for a role with your organisation
- Help recruiters during the selection process
- Create a record of skills needed to complete a job
- Create a document that defines situational and behavioural expectations
Job Specification FAQs
Here we answer employers’ job specification questions.
A job specification is a list of education, skills, experience, and traits needed by candidates to complete their job responsibilities and be successful with employers. Discover more by reading What Is A Job Specification?
View our job description examples here, which include a job specification example.
Employers can find an example of what to include by reading our article What To Include In A Job Specification.