Role Specification

Role Specification

The Role/s

Once the discovery phase is complete, it’s now time to put clarity and structure around the roles and requirements.  This is important because it enables you to communicate clearly to potential new team members (candidates).

There are a few key components to make sure there is clarity:

  • Job analysis
  • Job description
  • Person specification

While this may seem ‘clunky’, if you limit the detail in any of these elements then you may end up with ambiguity and uncertainty about what is required for the role in question.  

There are many moving parts during the scale up phase, yes, but having talent acquisition clarity will help limit any recruitment misalignment. 

Job Analysis

This is about really understanding the work that the role/s will undertake, essential and desirable skills, relevant experience, and attitude individuals need to be successful.  

Useful ways of collecting this data include:

  • Interview the person currently in the role
  • Interview the line manager
  • Observe them in role
  • Discuss with peers

Job Description

This should paint a clear picture of the job and why it exists. Keep in mind: what difference you want this person to make in the business through their actions.

Why you need a job description; even in a scale up:

  • Consistency: You get to agree on consistent interview questions and scoring criteria (if appropriate)
  • Accuracy: you present the role accurately, consistently, and positively to candidates
  • Clarity:
    • provide clear expectations to your candidates
    • Anyone interviewing candidates understand the role clearly

Person specification

The key ingredient. This outlines what are the essential and desirable criteria that the person needs to have to be successful in the role.

Benefits of a great person specification include:

  • Culture match: This can facilitate not only a match of skills and experience but more importantly, your organisational culture, values, and beliefs.
  • Focus: enables you to focus on what is truly essential and desirable to be successful in both the role and your business
  • Planning: can help plan interview questions and competencies

In addition to the above we suggest being clear in terms of the deliverables you expect from the candidate in the next 3, 6, 9, 12 months.  It’s often difficult given that there are so many moving parts whilst scaling but it means you focus on your expectations from this individual so both parties know success when they see it.


What is a person specification?

This is a vital part of understanding and articulating what the right person for the job would need to be successful.  It should outline the ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ criteria a person would need.  Make sure you avoid any stereotypical or discriminatory language or criteria in this part of the process.  It is always useful to have a number of people involved to ensure there is also no bias in the process.

How do I start to write a job description?

Think about someone doing the role you are about to recruit for.  What would they be doing over the coming days, weeks, months.  What are they responsible for, what will they deliver, who will they work with, who might they be responsible for.  We know it’s difficult to list everything and this isn’t absolutely necessary (make it clear in the document that there may be additional responsibilities as the business requires) but the more clarity you can provide the easier it will be for both you and the candidate to understand whether they are the right person for the role.  It will also help you to structure your interview process.

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‘What makes Nici a specialist is she understands people, she spends her time getting to know you and finding the right person for your organisation, taking the stress out of recruiting completely.’

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