Person specification

What is a person specification?

A person specification:

  • is a screening document - an analysis of the skills and knowledge that are required for competent performance in the job

  • sets out a number of criteria which candidates must meet, and others that it is hoped that candidates will meet

  • is an explicit and objective yardstick against which applicants can be measured

Unless the criteria against which candidates are to be measured is written down and understood, it will be difficult to select an appopriate method of recruiting and appropriate tests to use in selection.

Writing a person specification

  • Go through each of the requirements in the job description and convert them into criteria for the person specification framework - ask yourself, in respect of each duty: what knowledge is required, what skill is needed to carry out this job, are there any physical requirements or special circumstances needed?

  • Divide the criteria into essential and desirable

  • Consider how you might test/check that candidates meet the criteria

Key points to remember when writing a person specification

  • don't overestimate the characteristics of the job

  • don't forget that job candidates can be trained in aspects of the job

  • all criteria must be examined to ensure that they meet best practice standards