Difference Between Job Specification and Job Description

Difference Between Job Specification and Job Description

Sugandha SrivastavaJanuary 5th, 20245 min read

While job descriptions and job specifications may appear similar, they serve distinct purposes in recruitment. While a job specification may be a component of a job description, the reverse is not true. Distinguishing between the two can be challenging, but it is essential for a skills-based hiring strategy. This approach ensures the attraction of highly qualified candidates and sets clear expectations for the role. Navigating this distinction may seem intricate, but fear not—we are here to assist. This article comprehensively covers the nuances between job specifications and job descriptions, offering insights on their effective use. Additionally, we elaborate on leveraging Intervue to streamline your recruitment process.

Aspect Job Description Job Specification
Focus Explains the essential needs, tasks, and responsibilities of a job. States the minimum qualifications and skills required for a job.
Content Includes job title, tasks, duties, roles, and responsibilities. Enlists qualifications, skills, and abilities of the job holder.
Purpose Describes what the job entails and its primary responsibilities. Specifies the minimum requirements for a person to perform the job.
Emphasis Task-oriented, detailing what needs to be done in the job. Qualification-oriented, specifying what the job holder needs to have.
Applicability Applies to every position in the organization, irrespective of level. Applicable to all positions, from top-level managers to entry-level roles.
Example "Finance Manager: Responsible for financial planning, budgeting, and reporting." "Finance Manager: Requires a Master's in Finance and 5 years of experience."

Job descriptions focus on the tasks and responsibilities of a job, while job specifications emphasize the qualifications and skills required for the job holder. Both are essential in HRM and apply to positions throughout the organizational hierarchy.

What is Job Description?

A job description serves as an official document that outlines the duties, responsibilities, tasks, and qualifications associated with a specific role. It plays a crucial role in the recruitment process by providing candidates with insights into the requirements of the position. Effectively crafted job descriptions articulate performance standards, clearly specify necessary skills, and define tasks to ensure individuals can fulfill their roles accurately.

To create a job description, a thorough job analysis is conducted, identifying the essential knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise required for the position. Organizations must align these requirements with their business goals, pinpointing the competencies necessary for each role. This strategic approach aids in selecting the most suitable candidates for vacant positions.

What is Job Specification?

A job specification is an informative document providing an overview of the qualities, skills, traits, education, experience, and training required for a specific job. Its focus is on outlining the capabilities needed to meet the requirements outlined in the job description. Unlike job descriptions that emphasize tasks, job specifications concentrate more on the necessary skills. Typically, job specifications are presented below the job description, offering detailed insights into the qualifications essential for the role.

Crafting a job specification can be challenging as it involves determining whether specific requirements are mandatory or desirable. This process is crucial for establishing the criteria upon which recruitment and examination are based. Common specifications cover various aspects:

  1. Physical features: Includes requirements like height, weight, vision, etc.
  2. Demographic features: Encompasses age, experience, gender, education, skills, and abilities.
  3. Psychological features: Assessing mental ability, alertness, sharpness, aptitude, and reasoning.
  4. Personal features: Examining attitude, behavior, etiquette, manners, etc.

These specifications collectively help define the criteria for selecting candidates that align with the needs and expectations of the role.

Key Differences Between Job Description and Job Specification

The distinctions between job description and job specification are evident based on the following points:

  1. Nature:
    • Job Description: Describes the role, responsibilities, duties, and scope of a job.
    • Job Specification: States the minimum qualifications required for performing a job.
  2. Relationship:
    • Job Description: Arises from Job Analysis.
    • Job Specification: Derives from Job Description.
  3. Focus:
    • Job Description: Describes the job itself.
    • Job Specification: Describes the qualities of the person performing the job.
  4. Content:
    • Job Description: Includes designation, place of work, scope, working hours, responsibilities, reporting authority, salary range, etc.
    • Job Specification: Includes educational qualifications, experience, skills, knowledge, age, abilities, work orientation factors, etc.
  5. Purpose:
    • Job Description: Summarizes the tasks post-selection.
    • Job Specification: Specifies what a person must possess to be selected.
How They Are Used In Recruitment

Job specifications and job descriptions play distinct roles in the recruitment process. The job description, featured in a job posting, provides a comprehensive overview of an open position, enabling potential candidates to grasp daily requirements and evaluate the alignment of the role with their skills and career aspirations. By delineating specific responsibilities, job descriptions aid hiring managers in evaluating applicants' ability to meet operational requirements. In contrast, job specifications, often embedded in job descriptions, offer a clear view of expected qualifications and attributes, ensuring the selection of candidates with the right technical skills and compatible behavioral traits. Job specifications serve as effective screening tools, establishing criteria for assessing applicants' skills and qualifications. By directly comparing candidates against these specifications, recruiters can pinpoint the most suitable individuals. Combining job descriptions and specifications streamlines the recruitment process, providing a precise profile of the desired candidate and reducing the likelihood of mis-hires.

Job Description Example

Company: Wavewood

Position: Business Development Associate

Location: Remote

Overview: Seeking a dynamic Business Development Associate to proficiently communicate company products to students or parents, organize online meetings, and drive course sales.

Responsibilities:

  1. Presenting innovative learning methodologies
  2. Providing teaching and mentoring support
  3. Sales of educational courses
  4. Guiding students for enhanced educational growth and outcomes
  5. Collaborating within a team to promote awareness about our unique learning approaches
Job Specification Example

Company: Wavewood

Position: Sales Head

Educational Qualification: Graduation degree required; MBA preferred

Skills Required:

  1. Excellent communication skills
  2. Leadership abilities
  3. Strong negotiation skills
  4. Positive work attitude
  5. In-depth understanding and keen interest in the sales process

Experience: Minimum three years of experience in a leadership role, leading a sales team.

Comparing Job Description And Job Specification For The Same Job Listing

HR Manager Role Comparison:

Job Description:

  • Job Summary: Wavewood seeks an HR manager to efficiently direct and lead routine HR functions.
  • Duties and Responsibilities:
    • Recruit, interview, and hire new staff
    • Train employees based on work profiles
    • Conduct timely performance evaluations
    • Implement talent strategy
    • Manage discipline and terminations
    • Stay updated on HR trends, regulatory changes, and technologies
    • Ensure compliance with employment laws
    • Recommend best practices and review policies

Job Specification:

  • Educational Details: Bachelor's degree in HR management or related field; basic computer knowledge desirable.
  • Job Experience: Minimum two years of HR management experience.
  • Skills and Abilities:
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Interpersonal and negotiation skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Conflict resolution skills
    • Integrity and confidence
    • Proficiency with digital tools and software.

Restaurant Manager Role Comparison:

Job Description:

  • Job Summary: Seeking a dedicated restaurant manager to lead catering services, motivate staff, and develop a high-quality menu.
  • Duties and Responsibilities:
    • Conduct daily staff meetings
    • Coordinate day-to-day restaurant operations
    • Ensure superior food and beverage service
    • Maximize customer satisfaction
    • Efficiently handle customer complaints
    • Organize and supervise shifts
    • Appraise staff performance
    • Provide feedback for improved productivity
    • Estimate future needs for kitchen supplies and cleaning products

Job Specification:

  • Required Educational Qualifications: Degree or diploma in hotel management or hospitality; business administration or culinary schooling is a plus.
  • Work Experience: Minimum two years as a restaurant manager, general manager, or hospitality manager.
  • Skills and Abilities:
    • Recall and remember food ingredients, recipes, and cuisines
    • Familiarity with restaurant management software and POS devices
    • Strong leadership and self-motivation
    • Financial management skills
    • Excellent communication and customer service skills
Final Thoughts

Understanding the distinctions between job descriptions and job specifications is crucial for an effective recruitment strategy. While job descriptions outline the tasks and responsibilities of a role, job specifications focus on the qualifications and skills required. Combining these elements ensures a clear and comprehensive profile of the ideal candidate. Employers should leverage this knowledge to attract qualified individuals and streamline the hiring process. Additionally, using tools like Intervue Qcan enhance efficiency in candidate evaluation. By navigating the intricacies of job specifications and descriptions, organizations can build a skilled workforce that aligns with their goals and expectations.

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