Information on how to draft a 'person specification' to help you recruit a new member of staff or employee.
When drafting a person specification, you must be specific in the standards you describe. For example, it is not enough to state 'good communicator'. Instead, use terms such as 'clear and concise written communication' or 'able to express ideas logically and coherently'.
Skills and Abilities
The emphasis should be on skills and abilities; for example, if you require a candidate to speak reasonable French, you might be better off with someone who is unqualified but goes to France regularly on holiday and converses in the language, than someone who passed a GCSE in the subject five years ago and hasn’t spoken a word of French since. Qualifications don’t necessarily prove skill.
Always state a minimum length of experience as well as the level at which it must have been gained; for example, 'a minimum of two years experience of managing a retail unit of at least 7,000 square feet' rather than 'experience of retail management'.
It is essential to weight the specified criteria in order that you may gauge the suitability of applicants against it and each other. In other words, if you have ten criteria listed, it is unlikely that each merits a score of 10% toward the total; perhaps the most important should be rated at 30%, with the rest ranked to suit.
Writing the Person Specification
Once you have prepared the job description you can define the person you need to do the job. In writing the person specification it may help not only to consider the expertise and experience required but also to think about desired behaviours, such as decisiveness, teamwork, leadership, delegation, creativity and initiative. Think in terms of competence, skills, experience, values, behavioural characteristics, etc. At all times, you need to be clear about your own objectives in recruiting additional members of staff. Lastly, it may help to consider the organisation’s values and culture when recruiting people. Will they fit in? One way is to use the seven point plan, which covers:
- Attainments - education, qualifications, training, relevant experience;
- General intelligence - fundamental intellectual capacity;
- Special aptitudes - numeracy, literacy, manipulative skills and dexterity, mechanical, musical or artistic;
- Physical make-up - health and fitness, physique, appearance, bearing and speech;
- Disposition - acceptability, influence over others, reliability and steadiness, dependability, self-reliance, team player;
- Interests - intellectual, practical - constructional, physically active, social, artistic; and,
- Circumstances - domestic situation, eg ability to travel, occupations of family, etc.
You may also need to specify likely expectations, such as salary level.