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Job Specification Vs Job Description: Everything You Need To Know!

high potential
Hiring Biases
Author:
Pratisrutee Mishra
June 16, 2024

When discussing in terms of job specification vs job description, which one do you think is superior? The job specification and job description difference when viewed closely, seem like inseparable threads of recruitment fabric. 

A job description holds the core frame of duties and responsibilities, inviting candidates to envision their day-to-day tasks. On other hand, a job specification are finer fibers that can be viewed when one zooms in on the individual skills and qualifications ensuring only those with the right weave apply. 

Intertwined together, they form a clear picture of a role, crucial for both employers in search of the perfect candidate fit as well as for candidates seeking the right job fit. 

This blog attempts to highlight the difference between job description and job specification with example. Uncover how these elements not only define individual job roles but also shape the hiring outcomes for organization and their overall workforce dynamics. 

What is Job Description?

When you think about hiring for a fresh job vacancy, your mind automatically wanders to the creation of a job description. It is the first step of the recruitment process, essentially vital to attract the right talent. It's not just an outline of roles and responsibilities, as many as 25% to 42% of experienced employers acknowledge that they need to revise job descriptions post-publication due to an shortage or unqualified influx of candidates. 

Job description is also a powerful foot forth to allure passive candidature. Interestingly, 73% of quality candidates are passively waiting to apply, if only they are prompted by a clear and concise job description. The potency of a well-crafted job description is its catalytic role of enticing already content and engaged candidates to envision a different future within a new organization, that's yours!

The impact of a job description extends beyond attracting candidates, as it affects the entire recruitment lifecycle. From shaping the reputation of the company to influencing the quality and fit of applicants, the job description is a step that needs to be carefully taken. In essence, a job description reflects the company’s aspirations and the embodiment of the ideal candidate’s potential journey. Let's take a closer look at an ideal job description.

Job Description Example

The job description includes all the position related details such as about company, about job role, a day in the team, type of employment (Full Time/Part Time/Freelance), mode of work (Onsite/Offsite/Hybrid), nature of employment (Permanent/Temporary/Contractual), position (Entry Level/Mid Level/Senior Level), etc. Here are some examples of how big companies and job portals highlight the job description:

What is Job Specification?

What powers a job description is a clear job specification. If creation of an accurate job description is a vital part of the pre- recruitment process, so is identifying the right job specification. The role of a job specification is to accurately and relevantly align details of ideal candidates to industry standards and organizational requirement. It's the magnet of your compass in talent pool navigation.  

The above definition encapsulates the essence of job specification: It is more than a list of requirements; it is a narrative that tells the story of who the candidate needs to be in order to excel in the role. A job specification can be any valuable information for a candidate on a job description, such as job title, experience required, salary range, etc. 

The significance of job specifications is further highlighted by the fact that 36% of job seekers use the title of the job as their primary search criterion on job sites/portals. It clearly advocates the need of crafting a job title clear and precise to attract talent attention. 

Moreover, it must be noted that candidates spend an average of 49.7 seconds skimming job applications before deciding if a position is a good fit. This opens up a window for job specification to speak its utmost regarding the job offer. If it's engaging enough to capture the candidate’s interest and convince them that the role aligns with their skills and career aspirations, kudos to you!

Job Specification Example

This includes an overview of a job post, such as job title, role responsibilities, minimum and preferred qualifications, experience, additional information, benefits and perks, recruitment policy etc..Here is how top tier companies keep their job specification to attract the best talent pool:

Importance of Clear Job Descriptions and Specifications

A clear job between the two cannot be overstated,and so does the need to distinguish between job description and job specification in HRM. It benefits both the employer and the employee equally in finding their best professional matches. They guide the recruitment process, enhance employee satisfaction, ensure legal compliance, and facilitate effective performance management. Their clarity and precision are instrumental in building a strong, cohesive, and competent workforce. Here’s more to why you must have a clear job description and specifications:

  • Attracting the Right Talent: They ensure that the role is accurately represented, which helps in drawing in individuals whose skills and aspirations align with the job. 
  • Efficient Recruitment Process: A clear and concise job listing can capture their attention and interest within a critical attention timeframe.
  • Reduced Turnover: When employees know exactly what is expected of them and what they need to succeed, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and are easily retained. 
  • Legal Compliance: It provides documented evidence that hiring decisions are based on relevant qualifications and skills, not on discriminatory factors.
  • Performance Management: These documents serve as a reference point for setting individual and team goals, which are essential for assessing an employee’s performance and growth within the company.

Job Description vs Job Specification: Differences

When you wish to distinguish between job description and job specification in HRM, it’s essential to understand that they serve complementary yet distinct functions in the recruitment process. It's already clear to us that, job description outlines the role’s responsibilities and scope, while a job specification details the attributes of the person who would be ideal for the job. Let’s dissect more of job description vs specification to understand and implement recruitment strategies better:

Finding your new hire with PMaps

Preceding the first step of choosing the superior component of job detail, job description vs specification, how can you ensure that your candidates actually have those skills specified? To make the candidate matching easier, tools like CV parsing and psychometric assessments are 24/7 available at employers' service. 

These tools are not just a means of evaluating candidates; they are a window into the minds and potential of applicants, ensuring a fit that goes beyond the resume.

Job assessments like PMaps scientifically designs screeners that filter irrelevant candidates and shortlists top talents based on their skills, competency, behavior, and cultural fitment. Many employers utilize these assessments to gain deeper insights into a candidate’s personality, cognitive abilities, and whether they can thrive through the job’s requirements. This holistic approach ensures that a candidate fits not only the job description but also the job specification.

Conclusion

Irrespective of the difference between job description and specification, employers must implement the right strategies to gain top applicants. It is important to recheck and data support the hiring decisions to ensure the HR team's recruitment goals are reached. Data support for this can be obtained through psychometric assessments like those offered by PMaps. 

This is the best way for employers to ensure that the candidates they consider are not only qualified on paper but are also likely to thrive in the role and contribute positively to the company’s culture. This strategic integration of psychometric assessments into the recruitment process can lead to more informed hiring decisions, ultimately benefiting both the organization and its employees. To learn more about assessment tools and integration connect now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about this blog through the commonly asked questions:

Is it the Job Description or Job Specification that comes first?

In a job detail for recruitment the development of job description comes first, which includes the employment type, work nature, industry about, roles and responsibilities, etc. Then comes the job specification that covers the job role, qualifications required, and eligibility criteria for the job.

What is the difference between a job description and a job specification?

The job specification and job description difference are majorly dependent on the information it covers for the candidates: 

Job Description: This document provides a comprehensive overview of a specific job role. It includes the job title, duties, responsibilities, and the scope of the job. It may also outline the working conditions, reporting relationships, and tools or equipment used in the job.

Job Specification: This document focuses on the qualifications and attributes needed for a candidate to successfully perform the job described in the Job Description. It includes the required education, experience, skills, abilities, and personality traits. The Job Specification ensures that the right candidates are identified for the role.

Why are job descriptions and job specifications important for employers?

Job descriptions and job specifications help employers clearly define roles, responsibilities, and required qualifications, ensuring they hire the right candidates and set clear performance expectations.

How can job descriptions and job specifications benefit job seekers?

Job descriptions and job specifications provide job seekers with a clear understanding of the role, responsibilities, and required qualifications, helping them determine if they are a good fit for the position.

What should be included in a comprehensive job description?

A comprehensive job description should include the job title, duties and responsibilities, reporting relationships, working conditions, and any tools or equipment used in the job.

How often should job descriptions and job specifications be updated?

Job descriptions and job specifications should be updated regularly, ideally annually or whenever there are significant changes in job roles, responsibilities, or required qualifications.

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