What Is the Person Specification?

Whitney Leigh White

When businesses and organizations hire employees, many times, they create a summary of the ideal type of person who can best fulfill a job position. Within this summary is found a list of the necessary skills it takes to effectively complete the duties of which the job consists. Most companies refer to this type of summary as a person specification. Creating a detailed person specification provides benefits to employers, but it also has drawbacks. There are certain guidelines to follow in order to create an effective person specification.

A person specification can make the hiring process for a business much simpler.
A person specification can make the hiring process for a business much simpler.

Within a person specification is a detailed list that usually entails all of the required skills, education, and experience that a person needs to have in order to effectively fulfill a job position. Most specifications include the title of a job position and on what level it falls within the company. The location of the job and the upper-level employee to whom the new employee will report is also listed. Since all job positions are created with a purpose in mind, the objectives that the employee must achieve are listed, as well as the duties to be completed.

Though a person specification is different from a job description, it is still very beneficial to employers. Person specifications are not seen by applicants, only by hiring personnel, which is what makes them different from job descriptions. After an employer creates this type of specification, he or she is able to easily identify which job applicants have the potential to best fulfill the corresponding job position, as well as those candidates who are not ideal. This enables a business to complete its hiring processes in the most time-efficient manner possible.

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Even though a person specification can make the hiring process for a business much simpler, it still has its drawbacks. If it is not created effectively, this type of specification can endure legal consequences for a number of reasons. The terminology listed within person specifications can never disclose biases which are not applicable to the job position. Doing so could cause the specifications to be considered discriminatory.

Any time an employer creates person specifications for job positions, he or she should adhere to several guidelines. The employer should never include any requirements or specifications that are not applicable to the job position being filled. Any criterion that can be impartially or neutrally assessed should also never be included. In order to hire on the most suitable person possible, overstating job duties and requirements should be avoided. An employer should also include the reasons as to why each requirement is included. A person specification should also be updated and reviewed on a periodic basis to ensure its validity.

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