How to Write a Job Specification

Posted by | March 5, 2017 |

To attract the perfect candidate to your job opening, you’ll need a flawless job specification. That’s why it’s important to allocate a good portion of time to writing an overview of the role; the last thing you want to do is misinform candidates about what the job entails. Not only will it save you time – the candidates’ expectations will be met when we come in for an interview – but you’ll also attract people with the right skill set for the job. It’s essential that your description is accurate and true.

Evaluate the job role

To provide an accurate job specification, you must fully understand the role on offer. Break down the individual components of the position to get an idea of the different responsibilities that the employee will have. This is a crucial step to take whether you’re writing a job specification for a new role or an existing one; you must bear in mind that companies constantly grow and change. Responsibilities that the position had two years ago could be very different to now.

Include all the basic details about the position

Most job specifications follow a similar structure. This is because there are a few essential details that all candidates will look out for prior to applying for a position. Firstly, you must include the job title, the department that they would report to, and the location of the business. These points seem very obvious, but can sometimes be overlooked. Next, you should specify the type of employment – whether the position is full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary – and what the salary is. Many employers may be nervous about initially disclosing this information, but it’s crucial that you do. You could write the best job summary in the world, but if the working hours, pay or type of contract is not right for the candidate, your time and their time could be wasted further down the line.

Summarise the employee’s major duties and responsibilities

This is where the first step comes in handy. Firstly, summarise exactly what you’re looking for. Describe the industry or job sector that they’ll be working in and why the position exists. Then, writing in bullet points, outline the successful candidate’s main duties and targets. What does the job role include or entail? Who will they be working with or reporting to? What software, programs or machinery will they be expected to use? What will the outcome of their work be? How could the role develop even further? Try to answer any questions that the candidate may have about the role.

Include a list of candidate requirements

In addition to gaining an understanding of what they will be expected to do in the job role, the candidate must also recognise what experience and qualifications they’re required to have already. This section will save you a great deal of time in the future – a candidate is less likely to apply if they don’t fulfil your requirements. Writing again in bullet points, list the attributes you seek in a candidate. How many years’ experience do they need to have working the field? What level of education should they have? Are there any special skills required? Do they need to have experience working on specific campaigns, with certain programs, or completing similar duties? Must they have knowledge about a particular thing? Should the candidate have any special interests? Will they need a full UK driving licence to work for you? Here, you should really think about what you as a company requires. As well as job requirements, consider including any desirable personality traits.

Give an overview of your company

This is a section that many employers miss out on job specifications, however it’s one that could be incredibly advantageous for you. This is your opportunity to make your company seem desirable to candidates. A great thing to bear in mind is that candidates will likely read through numerous other job specifications besides yours, so you want to make your company stand out. What makes your business unique? How many years have you been in operation, and how much have you grown since the beginning? What values does your company have? Do you have any company benefits or staff incentives? This is your chance to get your company’s personality across to candidates. You want them to conclude that this is the place that they want to be, but, importantly, do remain truthful.

What not to include in a job specification

We’ve listed all the right things to include, but what about the wrong things? Above all, you should remember that a job specification shouldn’t be too long-winded. You can’t expect candidates to read a novel about the position on offer – that could only alienate them. Instead, try to keep your job description as concise as possible. You don’t need to tell them absolutely everything about your company, that comes in the interview stage. Another way to alienate candidates is by outwardly discriminating against certain ages, genders, races, disabilities or sexual orientations. Not only does that go against a number of legalities, but it’ll also repel potentially great candidates from applying. Finally, it’s important to remain relevant. Don’t over or under hype the role – just tell it as it is. Try not to fill your job specification with difficult terminology or internal phrases. What makes sense to you may not make sense to the reader. Keep your job description factual, but simple to understand.