How to Write a Person Specification

A person specification states the minimum set of capabilities a person (the new recruit) needs to have in order for them to be appointed into a position. The primary use of the person specification document is to assist in the recruitment and selection of a new employee.

The person specification works hand in hand with the position description and the content in the person specification needs to be derived from the position description. The position description is a document covering off the duties and responsibilities required to be carried out by the job holder which relate back to key accountabilities on the job. A well written position description will ensure that the person specification covers off all of the necessary information accurately and completely.

A person specification covers off on the experience, qualifications, skills, knowledge, abilities, personal attributes, physical qualities, behaviours and competencies that are required for a person to be appointed into the role.

It is a key tool in creating job advertisements, and most importantly, to confirm the criteria and suitability in which the applicant will be judged upon.

You must ensure that this document is specific and lists the minimum person requirements necessary for the applicant to be appointed to the role. Using a list of headings (as below) is a good way to start in creating this document.

Qualifications- What particular qualifications are required for this role? This may include any particular trade qualifications or education required for the role. For example a Bachelor’s Degree in a particular field.

Experience-What particular experience is considered to be an essential minimum requirement for the successful applicant in order for them to be able to perform the role? This may include at least 5 years experience working on the tools within the plumbing industry or at least 3 years working in a face to face customer service role in a fast paced environment

Skills-What particular skills are required to be able to perform the job? This list can be endless but it is key to focus on the main skills required. This can include speaking a second language, typing skills, computing skills, negotiation skills, etc. Remember here to be specific!

Physical-What (if any) physical skills are required to be able to perform the job? This is only if applicable but for some roles such as painters they need to be able to lift furniture within the client’s home-therefore need to be physically fit and able to lift.

Personal Attributes-What personal attributes are required to be able to perform the role? This may include things such as their level of personal presentation and grooming as well as their personality characteristics such as their level of self motivation, polite and courteous, and empathetic etc.

Competencies-What competencies are required to be able to perform the role? Competencies are the specific capabilities that are required for the person to be able to succeed in their role. For example a Business Development Manager would need to be a relationship builder, a networker, and a strategic planner.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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