The purpose of a person specification

Why you should have a person specification alongside your job description

The recruitment process can seem daunting for many businesses. Roles need filling and you want to find the best person for the job, but it can be hard to pinpoint the exact requirements.

The first step is to advertise the role with clear and accurate information about the position available. Something to work alongside the job description is the ‘person specification'.

The person specification is an important part of the recruiter’s toolbox. It allows the company to communicate the exact traits they find desirable in their ideal candidates: such as education, previous work experience and any extra traits that are needed in the role.

The five purposes of a person specification are:

  1. It makes the interviewing process more refined and therefore easier
  2. Job seekers are able to assess themselves before applying and understand how they will fit in with the role and your business. This allows them to match themselves according to suitability and not just skills.
  3. It clarifies the two types of personal qualifications important to the employer: essential and desirable. This enables the employer to be explicit in what they want and how the candidate matches this criteria.
  4. It helps to communicate equal opportunities policies within the recruitment culture of a business. The law is very clear about discrimination. A person specification ensures you are assessing a candidate on their abilities related to the role.
  5. It means you test all of your candidates against the same list of priorities set out in advance. This helps remove bias, prejudice and personal interest, all of which can be problematic for recruiting successfully.

Once a candidate has been chosen, the person specification makes the process of onboarding and training much more organised because you will already be aware of what the candidate is able to do. For example, if your specification required someone with excellent computer skills as being essential to the role then you would only need to give a brief induction to the computer systems of your business. 

Recruitment agencies are experts in creating person specifications. Get in touch with one of our specialists for more advice on finding the best person to help reach your business goals.

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