While a job description is suitable for many companies, there will be times when an organisation wants to be more succinct in their recruitment activities. When it is vital you bring the ideal candidate into your company, you should consider creating a person specification as opposed to a general job description.

The purpose of a person specification is that it describes, in detail, the type of candidate you believe will be best suited to the job. A person specification is likely to include:

  • The education the person has enjoyed
  • Qualifications
  • Relevant training
  • Personal qualities
  • Stand-out features

A job description focuses on a role and allows candidates to explain why they would be the ideal candidate for the post. For some jobs, there may be many approaches that can generate success, and companies may be open to who they welcome to the organisation. In these cases, a general job description is suitable.

However, there may be times when a company only wants to hear from a select type of candidate. This approach saves considerable time, as it should reduce the number of candidates for the role. For a position when the quality of the candidate is critical, a person specification may be the best approach for an organisation.

What should a person specification include?

The beauty of a person specification is that it can be tailored to your exact needs and requirements. If your organisation is keen to find a particular type of person, the more detailed and informed, the better. There is a need to include a range of competencies, which helps to narrow in on the ideal candidate.

A person specification may include physical attributes, the ability to speak various or specific languages, qualifications and grades and aptitudes. It may be the position requires a patient candidate. It may be challenging to find this candidate with a general job description, but through the use of a person specification, the importance of this attribute can be brought to the fore.

Personal qualities and prior experience can be also be included, helping you to find suitable candidates for the job at hand.

Prioritise the criteria

It is often helpful to split the criteria into desirable and essential criteria. Some aspects are likely to be more critical than others, while all features would be nice to have. Before you create a person specification, make sure you know the candidate you want to find, and then develop a specification around your ideal candidate.

If you have never created a person specification before, it may seem like a daunting prospect. However, by creating the criteria of your ideal candidate, it becomes simpler to develop a picture of the person you wish to employ.

When you believe a person specification is the best way to advertise a post, follow the above tips, and hopefully, you’ll find your ideal candidate. If you require further guidance in reaching your perfect candidate, contact The Recruiting Office, and we’ll be happy to help.

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