Job Description vs Job Specification – The Key Differences

Job description and job specification are an integral part of the hiring process as they are required for each and every position of the organization whether it is an HR manager, business analyst, finance manager, marketing manager, production manager or any other position in lower ranks like a cashier.

Job description and job specification are the two main documents which are used interchangeably, but they are distinctly different from each other.

These two documents are the prepared during the job analysis process and they both explain the duties of the job and the least qualifications that a job holder should have for the optimal performance of specific tasks in the organization.

In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between job description and job specification. Let’s define these two terms before we jump into the differences.

What is Job Description?

A job description is a document which includes a full explanation of all the duties and responsibilities that a specific job position must perform in an organization.

It is basically used to advertise a vacant position to attract talent pool. It includes basic job-related data like designation, job location, working conditions, job summary, nature of the tasks to be performed, equipment or software to be used,  reporting relationship, qualifications and overall objectives of the job position.

What is Job Specification?

A job specification is a statement of minimum qualifications required, specific qualities, communication skills, level of experience, physical and emotional traits required by the individual to perform the job. It is derived from the job description document.

It may also include physical and mental health, memorization capabilities, aptitude, leadership skills, flexibility, adaptability, ethics, manners, values, creative ability etc. It is also known as Employee Specification or Man Specification.

It is written in consultation with the human resource manager and supervisor. A job specification document forms the basis for prospect examining or recruitment process.

Job DescriptionJob Specification
The job description is a descriptive document prepared from job analysis that describes the duties, responsibility, role and scope of the specific job position.Job specification is derived from job description which states the eligibility, minimum qualifications and skills required for performing a specific job position.

 

The job description describes the job positon. It is a summary of what kind of tasks the employee is expected to perform after getting selected.

 

 

The job specification describes eligibility of the job holder. It states everything that the candidate must possess for getting recruited.

 

 

The job description includes information about work times, workplace, responsibilities, salary range, work environment, reporting authority and some general information.

 

 

The job specification comprises of specific information like the level of experience, age-limit, least qualification, certifications and personality traits and work orientation factors.

 

 

It is prepared by the HR management team to list out the sufficient information about a particular job position required in an organization.

 

 

The job specification document is helpful for the recruiting team to analyze the kind of candidate the organization wants to hire.

 

 

Job description explains the job position

 

 

Job Specification explains the ideal fit for the job position

 

 

Job Description Structure

The job description must be clear and concise. Make sure that it has all sufficient detail to let the candidates assess whether they are suitable for the role.

  • Job title: It’s the title of the job position. Ex: Cashier, Business analyst, marketing manager, etc.
  • Job summary: What’s the purpose of role? It explains the purpose and scope of the role.
  • Location: The city and area where the job position is located.
  • Reports to: It outlines the line management to which the candidate has to report.
  • Responsibilities: Outlines the key responsibilities.

Job Specification Structure

A good job specification must be clear and succinct just like a job description. It’s important to avoid indefinite terms and be specific about the requirement.

  • Qualifications: State the educational qualifications and certifications needed to be eligible for the role.
  • Experience: Specify the level of experience required. Mention whether the job position requires a responsible and complex experience like managerial or supervisory experience.
  • Skills: State the knowledge and skills required to perform the job. It also lists out the personal characteristics of the ideal candidate for the job.

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