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Job specification, your key to improving recruitment

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Job specification – your key to improving recruitmentIt seems easy to simply tell a recruitment consultant over the phone the sort of person you’re looking for and what they’ll be doing. However, there are benefits from developing a good understanding of who constitutes the right person and what they’ll be doing by preparing a detailed job and person specification before making that call.

Why this is important
The job specification is a tailored description of the vacancy, including the responsibilities of the position and goals of the job. The person specification is a profile of the person you consider would best fit the role. Preparing detailed specs help you to focus on exactly what skills you seek. The finished documents help 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, giving you the opportunity to organize responsibilities among your team, if necessary.

Job and person specifications also help candidates. They get a better grasp of the job for which they are applying. This helps attract those who might not otherwise apply and narrows the field by excluding those who don’t have the skills or who don’t like the sound of the job. Many employers make the mistake of advertising a vague job posting, with the intention of seeing “who turns up”. This 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 resumes more efficiently and effectively, as well as providing a list of pertinent questions for the interview.

Your spec should cover the following:

Overview
•    Department and job title
•    Salary range
•    Core job description
•    Aims of position
•    Specific responsibilities
Range of responsibilities
•    Day-to-day duties
•    Whom the employee reports to
•    The “job process” from start to finish
•    A “typical day” (if appropriate)
•    Examples of typical one-off projects (details liven up the job spec)
Individual skills and abilities
•    Abilities you expect your ideal candidate to demonstrate (think in terms of technical, organizational, communicative or creative skills)
•    Apply each skill required with the specific job tasks

Qualifications and experience
•    What specific education or course background do you require?
•    What level of experience (if any) is needed?
•    Is the candidate required to have held a prior job of similar description?
•    Length of experience gained, and 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 already
•    Think laterally in your descriptions – delve into the underlying nature of the person and job
•    Be specific. By specifying your needs, jobseekers will know exactly what the job entails and be able to say better if they fulfill your expectations. By specifying exactly who it is you are looking for, you are avoiding 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 fulfilled their ideals. You might feel continually frustrated due to mistakes that have been made in the job because the employee has not known the job requirements. In essence, a job or person spec is a communicative document between you and your department, your HR or personnel officer and your job applicant.

Related to job specifications
•    Pre-screening job applicants
•    Interviewing potential employees
•    Behavioural interviews
•    Work design methods
 

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