Now Viewing: Job Guides > For Employers > Writing the Job Spec 










Job Specification

Writing the Job Specification


Invest some time in evaluating the skills and type of person you want for a position before placing a job advertisement or registering a job vacancy with an employment agency.


The job specification (spec) is a tailored description of the vacancy including the responsibilities of the incumbent and goals of the job. The person specification is a profile of the person you consider best fits the bill. Preparing a detailed spec helps you focus on exactly what skills you seek. The finished document assists your HR or personnel department or recruitment consultant in identifying candidates for you to interview. It's also a great exercise in re-evaluating your departmental needs; therefore, giving you the opportunity to juggle around responsibilities within your team if necessary.


Job and person specs also help job-seekers. They provide a better grasp of the job being advertised and help attract those who might not otherwise apply. The specs also narrow the field by hopefully excluding those who don't fit the bill or who don't like the sound of the job. Many employers make the mistake of advertising a vague-sounding job with the intention of seeing 'who turns up'. This often leads to lost time spent sifting through irrelevant applications or interviewing candidates who, when confronted with the reality of the position, discover the role is not for them after all.


The specifications you prepare will help you evaluate CV's faster and more ruthlessly as well as providing a list of appropriate questions for the interview.


The Job Spec


- Department and job title
- Salary range
- Key job description
- Goals of the position
- Specific responsibilities

Range of responsibilities:
- Day-to-day duties
- Who the job reports to
- The 'job process' from start to finish
- A 'typical day' (if appropriate)

Examples of one-off projects (livens up the job - livens up the spec)


The Person Spec


Skills & abilities:
- Abilities you expect your ideal candidate to demonstrate
- Think in terms of technical, organisational, communication or creative skills
- Apply each skill required with the specific job tasks

Qualifications & experience:
- What particular education or course background do you need?
- What level of experience (if any) is required?
- Should the candidate have held a prior job of similar description?
- Length of experience gained – in which specific industries and departments

Character & personal qualities:
- What sort of personality would fit in with your team?
- Use descriptive words that would describe the nature of your ideal candidate
- Think of traits that would help them complete the job efficiently
- Character traits of a person with a love of the industry or a similar role

Ideal qualities:
- What other qualities would you like your employee to display?
- Include any other areas of the person and job that you have not included

Think laterally in your descriptions – delve into the underlying nature of the person and job


Be specific

Being specific about your exact needs will help applicants understand what the position entails and enable them to show how they fulfil your expectations. This approach should prevent the problems that can arise once the successful applicant has actually started work. Vague (or non-existent) descriptions can even result in an employee leaving prematurely because they have found that the job has not met their expectations. On the other hand, you could end up continually frustrated due to mistakes that have been made in the job because the employee has not known the job requirements. Essentially, a job or person spec is a vital document that assists you, your department, your HR or personnel officer and your job applicants.


Christine Young (aka Young Writer) is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne , Australia and founder of Meap Careers premier human resources service for the Media, Entertainment, Arts, Public Relations and Publishing industries.

Article Source:








Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions   © Coast eMedia Pty Ltd 2006