Person Specifications

A Person Specification should be used in conjunction with a Job Description to specify skills, experience and other personal attributes for the ideal candidate.

The person specification more fully describes the type of person needed to fulfil the demands of the job by providing an outline of the characteristics and attributes considered essential or desirable in the ideal candidate.

The specification ensures all candidates are judged systematically, and ensures that the selection decisions can be justified using the same objective criteria should they ever be called into question.

The person specification and job description can also be used as the basis for staff development, appraisals, or promotions in the future.

The following sub-headings are a good starting point for a Person Specification:

  • Knowledge and qualifications
  • Skills and experience
  • Motivation and other relevant interests
  • Personal qualities, physical attributes, behaviour or attitude*
  • Transport and availability
  • Other requirements

* Be objective and ensure these characteristics are relevant to the job. For example, in science jobs, good eyesight and lack of colour blindness can be key requirements. In any event, be objective and do not use discriminatory criteria. The job description must not specify a preference according to age, gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, religion, or physical ability.

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