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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 explore the question in further detail, covering:

  • What is a job description?
  • What is a job specification?
  • Job description and job specification similarities
  • Job description and job specification differences

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 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

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.

Job Description And Job Specification Similarities

The similarities between a job description and job specification include:

  • Both are used by recruiters
  • 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 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.

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