Differences between job description and job specification
Job description and job specification can be confusing terms, however, HR professionals differentiate between the two. These two terms help in structuring and defining roles within an organization and in aligning the talent appropriately to these roles. They are important communication tools that assist in setting expectations, measuring performance, and measuring career progression of current and prospective employees.
If you are a job seeker, then understanding the difference between these two terms can give you valuable insight into what employers seek from you. This understanding can guide you to personalize your job application, prepare for interviews and even identify areas of personal development and upskilling.
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What is a job description?
A job description is a tool that gives an overview of the responsibilities, duties, and operations related to a specific job in an organization. Generally, a job analysis is done to determine a clear description of what the job demands. Job descriptions are important for the hiring process because it helps the recruiter to reach the ideal candidate and is the basis for questions asked during the interview.
If you are a job seeker, the job description helps you decide if a job matches your skills, interests, goals, and preferences. The basic components of a job description include the purpose of the job, job duties, objectives, goals, qualifications, scope of work, supervisory responsibilities and working conditions.
What is a job specification?
A job specification has a list of qualities required to perform a particular job. It highlights the personality, skills, educational qualifications, and work experience that a candidate will need to perform the tasks mentioned in the job description. The job specification also includes the demands and credentials of a potential candidate who will fill the position. A job specification is prepared based on the job description.
A job specification could specify physical features (height, weight), demographic features (age, experience, education, skills, experience, gender), psychological features (mental ability, alertness, sharpness, attitude, reasoning), and personal features (attitude, behaviour, etiquette, manners) of a person.
Key differences between job description and job specification
Let us look at the main differences between job description and a job specification:
- A job description is a descriptive statement which describes the role, responsibility, duties, and scope of the job. A job specification on the other hand states the minimum qualifications required to perform a particular job.
- Job description is based on job analysis while a job specification is made based on the job description.
- Very simply, a job description describes the job whereas the job specification describes the job seeker or job holder.
- In essence, the job description is a summary of what the employee will do after getting the job. The job specification on the other hand is a statement that shows what the candidate must possess for getting selected.
- A job description has details like designation, place of work, scope of work, working hours, responsibilities, reporting authority and salary. A job specification will have educational qualifications, experience, skills, knowledge, age, abilities, and work orientation factors.
- A job description helps a recruiter reach the ideal candidate and becomes the basis for questions during the job interview. It also helps the job seekers decide whether a potential job matches their skills, goals, and preferences. A job specification however, helps the candidate outline their abilities and capabilities to perform the tasks mentioned in the job description.
- While the main purpose of the job description is to set clear, defined expectations for an employee to perform their role, the main purpose of a job specification is to help employees analyse if they are qualified for the role they are being considered for.
- The application of both documents is different. A job description allows organizations to identify any gaps in skill sets and overlapping duties. A job specification helps evaluate the performance of candidates during recruitment based on the benchmarks set.
- The origin of both documents is different. A job description is prepared after conducting a job analysis for the role whereas the job specification is prepared based on the job description.
- A job description is used in the first stage of recruitment while a job specification is provided at a later stage, just before the interview.
- A job description is a legal document but a job specification is just an internal document.
- Job descriptions are more fluid and subject to change. Job specifications are more stable and remain consistent.
- A job description sets a standard for measuring employee performance while a job specification shows an employer where the skill gaps are where the employee may need more training.
- A job description is concise, and simple in format while a job specification is more detailed and technical.
- A job description sets a salary range while a job specification indirectly explains what the compensation depends on.
Both terms are important and serve different purposes. Understanding the differences between the two terms will help both job seekers and employers navigate the recruitment process efficiently.
People Also Ask:
1. What is the job specification?
A job specification has a list of qualities required to perform a particular job. It highlights the personality, skills, educational qualifications, and work experience that a candidate will need to perform the tasks mentioned in the job description.
2. What are some examples of job descriptions and job specifications?
Job Description – Tele Marketing Executive
XAP Ltd. is an established sales and marketing company with branches across the country. The company has 800 employees and is into B2B sales with clients who are big business firms and corporate leaders.
Job Title: Tele Marketing Executive
Role: We are looking for a Tele Marketing Executive for the company. The job requires the candidate to make outbound calls to convert prospective customers into clients. It is an office job, but may require the candidate to travel to different cities.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Call prospective customers
- Influence customers to buy
- Prepare sales report
- Handle direct customer inquiries
- Achieve sales targets
- Identify prospects and grab new business opportunities
- Maintain sales record on CRM software
Job Specification – Tele Marketing Executive
Educational Qualification: Any graduate/MBA in Marketing or Sales
Skills and Competencies:
- Excellent communication skills
- Good time management skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Positive attitude
- Excellent negotiation skills
Experience: 0-1 year of experience in sales or marketing
3. Why do we need a job description?
A job description helps a recruiter reach the ideal candidate and becomes the basis for questions during the job interview. It also helps the job seekers decide whether a potential job matches their skills, goals, and preferences.