Job description and person specification

The recruiting manager will need to review the current job description to ensure that it remains current and reflects any change in needs.

If the recruiting manager wishes to make changes to a generic job description (Professional Services generic job descriptions, Academic generic job descriptions or Research generic job descriptions), they will need to consult with HR.

If the vacancy is for a new position, the recruiting manager will need to write a job description. The link HR Manager will be able to provide advice and guidance with this. See Guidance to writing job descriptions.

All new job descriptions, and job descriptions that have been significantly changed will need to be reviewed and graded as appropriate by the Grading Review panel before being advertised. See Grading Review panel dates.

Person specification

The person specification is of equal importance to the job description. The person specification forms the basis of the selection decision and enables the selection panel to ensure objectivity in their selection. 

The person specification provides a profile of the personal skills and abilities needed for the role and acts as a framework to assess each candidate against. It will form the basis for the advert, along with the JD, and candidates will be shortlisted and interviewed against these criterion so it is essential they accurately reflect the skills and experience required of the role.

Points to consider

  • ensure the requirements are relevant to the JD
  • the requirements cannot seek to exclude or diminish certain groups unnecessarily as this may amount to unfair indirect discrimination
  • the requirements need to be clear, specific and justifiable so that the meaning cannot be misinterpreted
  • they should be quality based – explaining skills, abilities and relevance of experience rather than length of experience (avoid criteria such as ‘must have at least five years line management experience’)
  • experience specific to Brookes should be avoided as well as Brookes acronyms
  • think about how each requirement can be assessed, measured, checked or tested, as candidates will be considered against these. Consider removing any criterion that it is not possible to assess or speak to your HR team for advice.
  • be specific and realistic about what is essential, remember when it comes to short-listing, candidates can only be short-listed if they meet ALL of the essential criteria to be assessed at application stage.
  • think about how skills and experience might be demonstrated other than through qualifications
  • it should be clearly indicated on the PS at which point in the process each criterion will be assessed eg. application form, skills test, interview etc.
  • If you cover a topic as a skill then don’t ask for it as experience and vice versa.
  • The Person Specification has little direct impact on the grading of the post so don’t make it more demanding than it needs to be, you will be potentially preventing good applicants from applying because they do not have what you have said you are looking for when it wasn’t necessarily essential.
  • A Person Specification does not need to detail every possible attribute a person should have, some items are implicit e.g. honesty, professionalism
  • Person Specifications shouldn’t be voluminous. Don’t include everything you can think of as the person that meets all the criteria may not exist.