The person specification is a development from the job description.
(a) Explain what is meant the terms:
(i) person specification;
(ii) job description
(b) Briefly describe the way in which a person specification differs from a job description.
(c) Summarise the purposes for which a person specification might be used.
A traditional job description can only list or outline the tangible elements of a job. As work becomes more challenging, more information is required about the skills needed to perform that job. A person specification is of greater value in the service and professional sector, especially accounting, where it is inappropriate to assume repetition and where there is a greater degree of discretion in performing the task.
(a) (i) A person specification (sometimes also referred to as a personnel specification) provides the organisation with a profile of the kind of person that would match the needs of the post. It sets out in written detail the education, qualifications, training, experience, personal attributes and competencies a post holder must have to perform the task to the satisfaction of the organisation. It describes the person needed to fulfil the task.
(ii) The job description is based on information gathered from a job analysis and defines the position (i.e. the role) that has to be fulfilled. It is a statement of the component tasks, duties, objectives and standards and describes the purpose and relationships of the specific job together with the physical, social and economic factors which affect it. It describes the job to be done.
(b) The difference between a person specification and a job description is that a person specification sets out the qualities of an ideal candidate whereas a job description defines the duties and responsibilities of the job.
(c) The person specification may be used for a number of purposes:
o In recruitment, to provide an illustration of the type of candidate sought prior to the selection stage.
o In selection, the most obvious and popular use of this document, to assess whether an individual’s personality, abilities and experience match the organisation’s requirements.
o For promotion, to evaluate whether an individual has the necessary ability and personality to move within the organisation.
o In evaluation of performance to assess whether the person has demonstrated the necessary skills to do the job effectively.