Difference Between Job Specification and Job Description

Job Description vs Job Specification: Differences

The main difference between job description and job specification is that the former focuses more on listing the job tasks and responsibilities while the other explains the skills and the level of education required. A few differences between a job description and job specification are listed below.

BasisJob DescriptionJob Specification
MeaningA job description is a formal document that explains the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a particular job.A job specification is an official document that outlines the skills, traits, experience, and education required to perform the tasks listed in a job description.
ContentsJob descriptions typically include duties, responsibilities, tasks, objectives, goals, scope of the work, working conditions, and other responsibilities.Job specifications contain skills, qualities, traits, qualifications, education, experience, certifications, training, credentials, and other requirements.
OriginA job description is prepared after conducting a job analysis for a job/role.This document is prepared after preparing the job description.
PurposeThe main purpose of a job description is to set clear, defined expectations for an employee to perform their role.A job specification’s main purpose is to help employees analyze if they are qualified for a role in an organization.
ApplicationA job description allows organizations to identify any gaps in skill sets and overlapping duties.A job specification helps evaluate the performance of candidates during the recruitment and selection process based on the benchmarks set.

What is Job Description?

A job description is an official written document outlining a particular job’s duties, responsibilities, tasks, and qualifications. It is used in the recruitment process to inform the candidates about the requirements of a role. A well-written job description explains the performance standards, describes clearly the skills required, and defines the tasks such that an individual is able to perform their job correctly.

A job description is written by conducting a job analysis to identify the knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise required to perform a job. Organizations will also have to understand the business goals and identify the competencies needed for a particular role. This helps in finding the right person for the vacant position.

What is Job Specification?

A job specification is an informative document that gives an overview of the qualities, skills, traits, education, experience, and other training requirements needed to qualify for a job. It aims to list the capabilities necessary to perform the requirements in the job description. As opposed to job descriptions, job specifications have more to do with the skills required rather than the tasks to be performed. A job specification is listed below a job description after the tasks have been explained.

Closing Thoughts

Job specifications help identify talent based on the established criteria. However, they alone are insufficient to conclude if an applicant is qualified. Job specifications are used alongside job descriptions to understand if an individual is the best fit for various aspects of the job while referencing the criteria listed in job specifications. Even if they have different purposes and provide particular information, it is necessary to provide both job descriptions and job specifications in job postings. Clearly, listing down such information will reduce the number of unqualified applicants, which saves time and effort for an organization.

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