It's beneficial for job seekers to understand the ins and outs of the recruitment process when they're actively looking for work. Applicants who use job boards and online job sites are likely to read many job descriptions and specifications during their search.
So, what is the difference between job descriptions and specifications, and which is most important? Job descriptions and job specifications are two similar tools, which are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between them. We explore everything a job seeker needs to know to be properly informed when applying for a new job.
The job description is a brief statement that tells the general information about the job. In plain English, it is where the nature of the job is described. The job description is briefly taken from the job analysis, and it comprises of information about the workplace, duty-timing, salary, responsibilities, and other general information.
The job specification derives from the job description; it is one of the most important readable information for the job-hunter as it tells about the eligibility criteria for the certain post. The job specification holds information regarding the eligibilities for the vacancy. It lets applicants know what skills, level of experience, education, and abilities are required for the role. As mentioned in our Candidate series, a good CV (curriculum vitae) is one that is tailored to a job’s specifications. Using a job’s specification in an application is like answering a recruiter’s questions before they have even asked them and sets those apart from others.
Definitions of a job description and a job specification
A job description is a document that states an overview of the duties, responsibilities, and functions of a specific job in an organisation.
A job specification is a statement of the qualifications, personality traits, skills, etc. required by an individual to perform the job.
Differences between a job description and a job specification
A job description usually lists out the job title, location, job summary, working environment, duties to be performed on the job, etc.
A job specification lists out the qualifications, experience, training, skills, emotional attributes, mental capabilities of an individual to perform the job.
A job description measures the tasks and responsibilities attached to the job.
A job specification measures the capabilities that the job holder must possess to perform the job.
A job description offers ample information about the job which helps the management in evaluating the job performance and defining the training needs of an employee.
A job specification helps the candidates who are applying for a job to analyse whether they are eligible for a particular job or not.
A job description statement helps the organisation to be clear about 'Who should do what'.
A job specification statement helps the management to make decisions regarding promotion, bonuses, internal transfers, and salary increases.