The Importance of the Job Description and Person Specification when Recruiting

9 years ago

The Importance of the Job Description and Person Specification when Recruiting

Recruitment, although an essential part of growing or replacing the workforce, can be a very costly process. Regardless of which method is undertaken, costs are involved; in both sourcing and time expenditure.

Imagine the costs involved when recruitment then proves unsuccessful either before or indeed after hiring an employee ?

Recruiting people who are wrong for the organisation can lead to an increase in staff turnover and lowering of morale in the existing workforce.

The biggest mistake made by most SME employers is not investing time in re-evaluating the role and producing an accurate Job Description and Person Specification before the recruitment process takes place.

In the first instance, challenge each vacancy that occurs whether it be an existing role or a newly created opportunity.

Questions need to be asked such as:-

Have the duties changed ?
Have new technology and products or company and staff changes altered the job ?

A thorough, detailed and accurate job description needs to be produced. Too many employers produce a standard job description which has remained on file and unaltered for a long period of time.

An updated job description will provide an excellent basis for the recruitment process, defining the person specification and indeed for ongoing assessment/ training of the new hire.

Putting together the Person Specification enables the employer to profile the ideal person to fill the job. It is important that the skills, experience and knowledge included are absolutely relevant to the needs of the job. It can be tempting when creating the “ideal person” spec to inflate these requirements, this then runs the risk that someone may be employed on the basis of false hopes and aspirations; resulting in unhappiness/ frustration for both employer and employee.
Another good reason not to set unnecessary requirements is to avoid any possibility of discrimination against particular groups of potential applicants; fairness and equality are paramount.

Key areas to focus on in the Person Specification include:-

  • skills and knowledge
  • necessary experience
  • competence level
  • education & training
  • personal qualities and circumstances

Any criteria which is essential must be directly related to the job and must be applied equally to all groups irrespective of age, sex, race, age, nationality, religion, belief or disability
Remember before embarking upon any piece of recruitment, firstly define your need, evaluate the job description and put together a person specification. It will assist with the correct focus within the recruitment process and save both time and money; hopefully resulting in a successful long term hire to the business.
For further recruitment advice and support please contact us on 01254 239363 or email 
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