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What Is The Difference Between A Job Specification And A Job Description?

What Is The Difference Between A Job Specification And A Job Description?

The main difference between a job specification and a job description is a job specification is an overview of the skills, qualifications, and personality traits required to complete a particular job. In contrast, a job description is an overview of the duties, responsibilities, and functions of a particular job.

job advert comprises both a job description and job specification. The first helps candidates understand what they will be expected to do, and the second tells applicants what mental capabilities and educational qualifications they should have in order to apply for and be successful in the role.

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An employer, Human Resource Manager, or recruiter leverages job descriptions and job specifications during the recruitment process to encourage the right candidates to apply for a vacant position. In this article, we delve deeper into the nuances of what is a job description and job specification.

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Highlights And Key Takeaways:

  1. A job description is a summary of duties, responsibilities, and operations of a role, forming part of a job posting.
  2. A job specification is a summary of personal and professional qualities a job seeker needs to complete the role effectively.
  3. A job description and person specification play a crucial role in the recruitment and selection process, providing clarity that helps employers and employees save time.

What Is A Job Description?

A job description is a job summary that defines the duties, operations, and responsibilities involved in a job role in a particular organisation. Usually, an HR Manager or Human Resources professional goes through a job analysis process, often with a job holder, to determine the job duties and create a clear job description statement.

Job descriptions play a significant role in the hiring process, relaying to candidates the working environment and responsibilities attached to the position. Providing ample information helps recruiters reach the best candidates, and the points in the job description are typically used as the basis for interview questions.

Read: Key Questions To Ask Candidates In Interviews or visit our employer interview resources hub.

In the case of job seekers, a job description and job summary enable them to assess if they have interests, preferences, and goals that align with the job position. It helps candidates understand what the company expects of them and allows them to compare the components of a specific job with those of other jobs.

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The components of job descriptions include the job title, job’s purpose, job location, salary range, working hours, goals, objectives, job duties, tasks, working environment, supervisory responsibilities, reporting authority, the scope of work, and any exceptional circumstances.

View an example of a job description here and learn how to write a job advert.

What Is A Job Specification?

Job Specs For A Particular Organization And Job

What is a job specification? A job specification lists the specific qualities required to perform a certain job. The job specification statement shows the eligibility criteria for a particular job, covering educational qualifications, emotional attributes, work experience, and skills. A job specification helps recruiters target qualified candidates for a specific job. Once a candidate is recruited, a job specification helps employers measure the job performance standards and targets for the job holder and identify training needs.

Read: What Are The Duties, Tasks, And Skills To Include in Job Descriptions.

Candidates can use what the job specification states to outline their person specification and show how their capabilities will help them complete the tasks and duties outlined in the job description. The employee specification also helps job seekers identify their training needs. Existing employees can see the key differences between roles within their organisation and assess if they have the skills for internal transfers. Likewise, employers can use the job specification to assess an employee’s suitability for internal transfers. If you are looking to advertise a job post on job boards or social media, we recommend reading What Is The Difference Between A Job Description And A Job Advert.

Job Description And Job Specification Similarities

What is a job specification and job description: The similarities.

The similarities between a job description and job specification include:

  • Both are used by recruiters in the recruitment process
  • Both help recruiters attract the best candidates for a particular job

Job Description And Job Specification Differences

The Difference Between Job Description And Job Specification

The differences between a job description and job specification include:

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  • A job description outlines the purpose, tasks, and responsibilities attached To a specific job
  • A job specification is a statement showing the required personality traits, skills, experience, and qualifications for a particular job

Job Description vs Job Specification FAQs

Here we answer your questions on well-written job descriptions, specifications, and job analysis.


A job description comes first in job ads and is created by making a job analysis or using a job description example for the specific job title.


You can discover the skills and responsibilities for a job description and job specification by reading How To Define What People Do In Their Jobs and What To Include In A Job Specification.


When approaching this through Quizlet, a platform renowned for its educational clarity, one would find the difference between a job description and specification distinctly outlined. The job description is akin to a narrative, detailing the role’s responsibilities, job’s duties, and the working conditions in which it operates. It’s the story of what the job entails on a daily basis. Conversely, the job specification is the character sketch of the ideal candidate. It lists the necessary qualifications, skills required, experience, and personal attributes required by potential candidates to perform the job effectively. While the job description focuses on the role itself, the job specification concentrates on the potential applications who will fill that role, presenting a clear picture and clear expectations for the selection process.


When presented as a group of answer choices, the basic difference between job specifications and job descriptions becomes evident. The job description is a detailed account of the job’s duties, scope, and working conditions. It outlines what the job entails and the expectations from it. On the other hand, the job specification is a detailed account of the attributes of the person who can fulfill these duties effectively. It focuses on the job requirements, educational background, experience, skills, and personal traits. In summary, while the job description is about the particular role itself, the job specification is about the ideal prospective employees for that job.

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