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What is a Job Specification: Definition, Components, and Examples

What is a Job Specification: Definition, Components, and Examples
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Crafting a job description is a complex process. If you take it lightly or aren’t fully aware of the common job posting mistakes, it will make a difference in attracting quality candidates and saving your business time and money. A job specification is a key aspect of filtering the right talent for your job openings since it allows candidates to know what qualities the employer is looking for from the start. 

What are job specifications? 

A job specification is a statement that contains the recommended qualities a potential employee needs to qualify for the position and perform the job. According to each author, you can find some differences in the job specification definition, but in essence it’s about sharing with candidates the desired traits for the role, such as educational background, hard and soft skills, and work experience. 

Unlike a job description, job specifications are more related to the job-seeker than to the company, even though among the list, hiring managers can include attributes or features that match not only the role but also the company. The main goal of listing specific skills and knowledge for a role is to help candidates outline and evaluate their capabilities for the job role. 

Why job specifications are important for postings? 

Job specifications are essential for both hiring managers and job seekers since they provide key details related to a position, such as education, skills, prior work experience, management abilities, personality traits, and more; all this information will ultimately help the employee to adapt faster and accomplish the role goals. 

For companies, it’s a resource to streamline the hiring process, making it easier and faster to identify potential employees for job openings. Internally, a job specification allows the HR executives and recruiters to understand what the manager of the opening role is looking for in a candidate. 

From a candidate’s standpoint, a job specification will attract them to apply for the role or opt-out from the moment they read the job description. On top of that, job specifications also help to set clear expectations about potential hires, as it sets a clear precedent about the role’s tasks and responsibilities from the start. 

Components of a job specification

Even though a job specification may vary depending on who the writer is, there are a few common elements that you have to make sure to cover so candidates understand clearly what the role is about so you can get top talent to fill the opening faster. Here are some of the vital elements of job specifications:

Educational background

One common element of job specifications is the level of education required to qualify for the position. Although it may seem obvious for some roles, if your opening requires a degree in a specific field or just a high school diploma or bachelor’s degree, you should include it in your job specification. By doing so, you’ll filter your talent pool to attract only the candidates who check this qualification and have the proper knowledge to perform their duties.  

Certifications, credentials, or special training

For some roles, certificates and certifications are more important than a degree or educational level; therefore, it’s essential to include this item in job specifications as it lets job seekers know if they need a specific license to apply for the role. 

Even if a candidate doesn’t have the required certification prior to applying, you can indicate in the job specification that you’ll provide it as on-the-job training so they feel encouraged to apply if they fulfill the rest of the job specifications. 

Work experience

Some C-level positions require relevant experience in management roles, while most entry-level jobs grade work experience as a less relevant item for applicants since most of them. Nevertheless, it’s essential to clear out this information in the job specification so both candidates and hiring managers spotlight the most vital features of the job role. 


This job specifications item is a game-changer for both job seekers and employers. From the candidates’ standpoint, this is arguably the most tangible aspect for them to know if they’re qualified for the job role; on the other hand, to define the employee’s desired skill set, the collaboration of managers, coworkers, and HR professionals is necessary. 

The skills included in a job specification should be based on the job level. They can go from the necessary abilities to complete job tasks to social qualities that reflect the company culture or how the candidate will fit into the team. 

Personality traits

A candidate’s emotional intelligence, conflict-resolution personality, or leadership within a team are essential parameters when evaluating if their character matches the job role’s demands. Make sure to list them as a job specification. By now, you shouldn’t be surprised by how relevant these are for employee productivity

Physical demands

Although these can be skipped on some job specifications, some roles require particular physical demands. If that’s the case for your job posting, make sure to include any details about tasks such as carrying packages, lifting boxes, or even sitting at a computer for long hours. 

The importance of noting physical demands on a job specification relies on being straightforward about the ins and outs of a job role. As an employer, this will allow you to be aware of any conditions a candidate may have that you should consider keeping your workplace inclusive

How to write a job specification

Depending on the role you’re promoting and your company’s industry, you can write different variations of a job specification. If you’re new to writing job specifications or you want to improve them, here are a few tips to ensure they are effective. 

  • Review other job specifications: Checking samples before you start writing your own job specification will give you insight into what you should be looking for, especially when they are related to your industry and opening role.
  • Make periodical cross-checks: Work environments and job roles are ever-changing elements. Hence, it’s vital to have different people from your company reviewing job specifications every now and then to keep them updated.
  • Keep it inclusive: work discrimination is a severe issue in the US, so you have to ensure you’re not excluding any talent pools, especially those with protected characteristics by law: age, gender, marital status, maternity, religion, beliefs, etc. 

If you have already checked these tips but still want to review how requirements, qualifications, or other modifiers, such as time or expertise level, look, here is a job specification example to consult before you start writing. 

  • Education: “Must have a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Business Administration, or related field.” 
  • Certifications or training: Digital Marketing certifications and SEO training are necessary.” 
  • Work experience: “A minimum of 3 years in sales or related fields is required.” 
  • Skills: The ideal candidate must have strong attention to detail, customer service skills, and be proficient with Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.”
  • Personality traits: “Being assertive with coworkers and open to feedback is a must for this role.”
  • Physical Demands: “Must be able to spend most of the work schedule sitting and viewing screens for long periods.” 

Job specifications are one of the most eye-catching elements in job descriptions. Although other items, like salary or compensation, will make your job opening attractive to job seekers, a job specification will let them know if they’re qualified to apply for the role. 

Including an improved job specification will allow you to compare a candidate’s skills to the ideal new hire’s profile. On top of that, if you want to grow your talent pool and speed up your hiring process, you can work with a recruiter to get insight and help on all stages of your talent search.

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Contributed by Luis Arellano

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