The importance of a Person Specification

The Importance of a Person Specification



The recruitment process can be daunting for many businesses. Roles need to be filled and you want the best person for the job. And with job vacancies reaching an 8-month high last month, coupled with agencies reporting a fall in the supply of candidates, it’s more important than ever to attract, hire and retain the right staff.

However, it can be hard to pinpoint your exact requirements – after all, where do you begin when you’re trying to find someone with the right qualifications, relevant experience who will also be a good fit in your office?

A person specification could be the answer to your recruitment woes. A person specification is a description of the qualifications, skills, experience, knowledge and other attributes which a candidate must possess to perform the duties of the job. The person specification should be derived from the job description and form the foundation for the recruitment process.

Person specifications can allow you to begin hiring for the best candidate from the word go. Applying candidates can see if they have the required ‘soft skills’ and relevant qualifications, training and experience to apply for a role and identify from the outset if they are suitable for a position or not. Candidates assessing their suitability against the criteria provided can save time for employers in the recruitment process and help streamline the operation, by only applying if they feel they have the skills appropriate for the role.

What do I include in a person specification?

It is important to know what is and isn’t important to include in a person specification for a vacancy. For example, some roles have legal requirements which necessitate a certain skill set and level of training.

Person specifications should cover the basics which include:

  • Attainments – i.e. Qualifications, experience, positions held etc
  • Soft skills – i.e. relationship building, public speaking, time management etc
  • Job-specific capabilities – i.e. use of software or different programmes/ team management
  • Personality traits – i.e. proactive, patient, motivated, attention to detail etc


In order to attract the best and brightest candidates, here are our top 5 tips:

  1. Have a clear job title: Think about a job title that will translate outside of your organisation and be eye catching to the applicant. Outline a brief description of the role, who it reports to, does the role have a team reporting into it?
  2. Is your salary competitive? Do some external benchmarking and see what your competitors are offering. To attract good quality candidates, don’t be afraid to put a salary range in the advert or advertising with an “up to” salary.
  3. Are there any employee benefits you can add into your advert? I.e. a nice office environment/equipment, flexible working, free car parking, access to a medical scheme, corporate memberships to gyms, cycle to work scheme etc. Remember an advert is a two-way process. As much as you are looking for that perfect candidate, they are looking for an employer of choice.
  4. Provide a brief overview of your company. What key selling points does your company have? What gives you that competitive edge?
  5. Think carefully about where to advertise: Was your last advert successful? Did it bring in the right sort of candidates? Do you need to consider other options?


For further information on recruitment please contact or call +44 (0) 7702 864227.


Debbie McCordall

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