Job Descriptions and Person Specifications

Job descriptions 

A job description...

  • Summarises the main purpose of the role in one or two sentences.
  • Lists the key tasks and responsibilities using active verbs.
  • Describes the scope of the role - who it reports to, who it works with, supervisory responsibilities, degree of precision required etc.

Active verbs are an effective way to communicate about the job. Examples include;

Negotiate, influence, supervise, evaluate, design, train, motivate, organise, create, promote, persuade, plan, manage, identify, produce, delegate, research, time-manage, facilitate, review, analyse, problem solve, direct, monitor, advise, initiate, present, arrange and develop...

Sample headings

When writing your job description, it may be useful to use the following:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Department / section
  • Duration (if not a permanent appointment)
  • Normal working hours per week (you could mention that some flexibility will be required)
  • Main purpose of the job (short description of why the job exists)
  • Key responsibilities / tasks
  • Key contacts / relationships (internal and external)
  • Challenges (what are the most difficult, complex or challenging parts of the job?)
  • Responsible for (staff, equipment, budgets etc)
  • Responsible to (line manager)
  • Additional information (working to appropriate policies etc)

You can also download our sample job description.

Person specifications

A person specification...

  • Lists the skills, knowledge and behaviour that the candidate will need to bring to your organisation.
  • Breaks down your list into qualifications, knowledge, experience and skills.
  • Prioritises this list - which are essential and which are desirable?
  • When writing your person specification, you can refer to our downloadable sample person specification.

Sample headings

You may find it useful to use the following:

  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Knowledge (including qualifications and experience)
  • Skills
  • Attributes
  • Other