The Job Specification

Jobs change over time partly because of organisational changes but also according to the personality of the individual who is carrying them out. Their temperament, intelligence, drive and enthusiasm means that in many instances the jobs develop to 'fit' the person rather than the other way round. In this way individuals may happily take on greater responsibility which is not reflected in the job description. Because of the dynamic nature of the world of work, jobs need to be analysed regularly to ensure that job descriptions and employee specifications are up to date.

The Job Specification will identify the key features of the job against which to match job applicants and help clarify those aspects of the job that a future recruit needs to know about or would like to know about; in the advert, during the selection process, at appointment and on joining

To obtain a balanced view of the job and prepare a Job Specification it will help to reflect and answer some of the following points:

  • What exactly is the role of the job holder in the overall scheme of things?
  • What do they spend most of their time actually doing, how and where is it done, with whom do they come in contact. It will help to be specific about anything that can be: 

- quantified such as customers dealt with or 
- stated as a fact e.g the job holder has to operate a lathe.

  • Where does the work come from, and who initiates it, and where does it go from the job holder?
  • What are the risks involved in the job for the individual, the department or the company?
  • What are the opportunities?
  • With whom does the job holder come in contact, how frequently and what can the repercussions be?
  • What resources are available to the job holder - of people, money, materials or facilities?
  • What does the job holder need to know about the job? What could they be trained to know and how long would it take?
  • What skills will they need initially, or need to acquire eventually? Are there any special skills, competencies or aptitudes they will need that may be difficult/impossible to acquire on the job?
  • Are there any attitudes or sets of values that are so implicit in the job that it would rule out anyone not possessing them?
  • What changes are foreseeable in the job and what are the implications for the analysis of the future knowledge and skill requirements?