If you work in HR or are a small business with hands on the recruitment process, you will likely find yourself writing a job specification. Job specifications are extremely helpful during the recruitment process and make it much more straightforward to identify the ideal candidate for your open role; setting the application requirements for job seekers.
In this article, we explore:
- What is a job specification?
- How to write a job specification
- What to include in job specifications / What to include in a job spec
What Is A Job Specification?
A job spec is a list of requirements and qualifications required by candidates to apply for your position/job ad, and complete its job responsibilities and job duties. The job spec usually sits below the job title and job description and informs candidates of the necessary skills, experience, personality traits, and education. Job specifications are typically determined by analysing what the job entails and through discussion with the line manager/line management.
It is essential for hiring managers to create an effective job specification to accompany an effective job description and include it in the job posting. Emitting job specs can result in applications from candidates that do not have the required skills and required qualifications, adding time into the hiring process and making it harder to screen applicants and call the right candidate in for an interview. In the worst case scenario, hiring managers may end up recruiting a person who won’t be successful in the position and job title.
How To Write A Job Specification
A concise and clear job specification should accompany a good job description. The job spec is usually added as bullet points below a compelling job description to help qualified candidates recognise what the company is looking for in an employee.
To write a job specification, you can begin by writing a job description using a job description template to:
1. LIST THE JOB’S REQUIRED EDUCATION
A job specification should include qualifications needed for the role, such as a college or high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, or necessary skills. To ensure you don’t unnecessarily reduce your talent pool, it can be helpful to list specific skills and qualifications as must-haves and nice-to-haves.
2. STIPULATE EXTRA CONDITIONS
Job specifications can describe any special job requirements, such as physical stamina for jobs where employees are on their feet for long periods, wearing protective equipment for jobs with risks, travel, or remote working.
3. UPDATE A JOB SPEC
The requirements of a position change over time, so it makes sense to update your job descriptions and specifications to be prepared for whenever your organisation needs to advertise a job, hire employees, or expand its team.
Once you have prepared your job specification, proofread and spellcheck it to ensure it is error-free, organised, and makes sense to potential candidates. The result will be more effective job descriptions that attracts the best job seeker, extending their/your employment lifecycle.
What To Include In Job Specifications / What To Include In A Job Spec
Here is a complete list what to include in a job spec.
EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS
Minimum education and qualifications might, for example, include a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing or information technology or required training in a specialisation, such as completing a customer services diploma. When employers prefer to hire by experience-gained knowledge, the business can leave out this section.
REQUIRED LICENSES OR ACCREDITATIONS
Some jobs require the person to have a license, accreditation, or other credentials. For example, teachers must have achieved a Qualified Teacher Status, and delivery drivers might require a specific driving license type.
Required experience is the minimum number of years of experience employers believe a person needs to perform the role. Experience might be defined as in similar positions, the exact role being advertised, or a position one step down in seniority.
Required skills help to build a person specification that candidates can use to assess their suitability. Soft skills include maths, English, and increasingly, software skills are essential skills.
Personal traits are an example of what it takes to perform the main duties and responsibilities outlined in the business’ job description. For example, a company may want candidates who can work in a team (team-working) or maintain concentration (focus or attention to detail).
SPECIAL CONDITIONS OR DEMANDS
Special conditions of a job might include working from a remote location, heavy lifting, or passing a medical exam or background check.
Job Spec Resources
Employers and recruiters can find our other job spec articles and resources below:
- What Is The Correct Format For A Job Spec?
- What Is A Job Specification?
- How To Write A Job Specification
- What Is The Difference Between A Job Specification And A Job Description?
Job Specification FAQs
Here we answer your job specification questions.
A job specification is added to a job description to explain the requirements for applying for the job and completing job tasks.
Job specification examples are included in our job description templates and can be personalised by a business when writing a job description to post as a job advert.
Job specifications will help an organisation hire the best candidates. However, if you set unrealistic eligibility criteria or use internal terminology, the benefits can be lost as few candidates have all of the requested skills and qualifications. A company should determine what is a must-have or nice-to-have to maximise the benefits of adding a job spec to a job’s description, when hiring talent.
Employers and employees often use the terms job description and job specification interchangeably. However, strictly speaking, job descriptions are overviews of jobs, including job titles, key responsibilities, job duties, other key interactions, and information about companies and their culture. A job spec details the eligibility requirements, including personal traits, technical skills, legal requirements, and required education. A job ad includes further important company details.