The importance of a job specification

19 September 2019

This term refers to how you state the characteristics and qualifications that you require for the duties in any given role you’re advertising.

It’s important to get this right to ensure you attract candidates with the skill set you’re looking for.

The term also varies from job descriptions, so your business should make sure to distinguish between different forms of job analysis. This guide explains everything you need to know.

What is job specification?

It’s a statement of requirements your business expects from job candidates for a role. These include:

  • Emotional characteristics.
  • Sensory demands (such as making judgements).

“Employee specifications” is another term for the process. The purpose of it is to:

  • Help job candidates understand whether they’re eligible to apply.
  • Enable your recruitment team to understand the qualifications and characteristics a candidate should possess.
  • Detail the responsibilities in the role, along with the technical and physical demands it’ll require.
  • Understand who the best candidate for the role amongst your applicants.

The aim is to guide you and your potential employee through the hiring process and understand whether it’s a suitable match.

The importance of job specification is how it provides essential indicators for applicants, who’ll understand if they have the relevant experience.

Conversely, your job description includes information about a role to catch the attention of candidates.

The basic difference is a job description defines a role, such as with the duties and responsibilities. A job specification is a certain skill set that a candidate needs to do their job.

The difference between job analysis and job specification

It’s also important to remember the distinction between these two areas of the recruitment process.

The purpose of job description and job specification are to create effective job advertisements that can reach relevant and talented candidates.

Job analysis is the process of gathering details about a specific job. What you gain for this will include the:

And this relates to the incumbent for the role. And with this information you can go on to specify your job description and specification. 

Writing a job description and job specification

As there’s a notable difference, how do you go about writing each one?

If you’re looking to support your job specification data, you can read our guide on how to write a job description. In summary, the process involves a:

  • Job title.
  • List of responsibilities.
  • Candidate requirements.
  • Details on company culture.
  • Potential wage.
  • Miscellaneous details.

Job specifications are different. Remember, each role depends on varying levels of skill—it depends on the position you need to fill.

But what does job specification include? It’s useful to take a look at a job specification examples. These will help you to understand how to apply these as part of your job analysis:

  • Education requirements: You may only be looking for basic GCSE grades, or a PhD. Make it clear to gain the applications you require.
  • Licenses, certifications, and credentials: Depending on your industry, you may require certain qualifications to allow any candidate to proceed to a job interview stage.
  • Work experience: How much relevant time they require in the industry for you to consider them.
  • Skill set requirements: The various instances of expertise you expect from them, depending on your industry.
  • Personality: The traits a candidate possesses, which will depend on your business requirements. You may look for high levels of professionalism, a candidate who can deal with pressure, or who has a laid-back demeanour.

To write your specification, you’ll need to detail what you’re looking for from the above central points. These will then explain to employees what they need.

The benefits of job specification

The more comprehensive your detailing of requirements the better. And it can provide the following advantages for your hiring strategy:

  • Highlight all the specific requirements you expect out of candidates to receive relevant applications.
  • Provide your HR managers with a framework for finding the best applicants.
  • Save time with the screening of CVs.
  • Set a benchmark for evaluating potential employees, including spotting any skills gaps and potential training opportunities.

However, there are some disadvantages to consider. As you have to be thorough in your detailing of information, the process can be time-consuming.

It’s also important that any requirements are non-discriminatory, for example requiring candidates to be English nationals.

Need our help?

If you’re looking for a guide through your recruitment process, get in touch for immediate assistance: 0800 028 2420.

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