The Importance Of Writing An Effective Job Specification For Your Ads

Position yourself for recruiting success by leading the process with a well-written job specification.

The Importance Of Writing An Effective Job Specification For Your Ads

Writing a clear job specification is something that every HR practitioner and recruitment professional should be able to do. It’s a vital part of fine-tuning the recruitment and selection process to attract top talent. Get this right, and you set yourself up for success with better-quality applicants and fewer unqualified chancers.

Here are five things to bear in mind when you write a job specification in 2021 and beyond.

Five Things To Write Into A Job Specification In 2021

1. Hiring Limitations

If your business has any hiring limitations in place, or you envision a very particular person for a specific role, be clear about it right from the start. For example, if your company falls into either the BEE or Employment Equity employer category, state this at the top of your job description.

Doing so saves job seekers who don't meet the requirements a lot of time. Instead, they can forward the job opening to someone who may be more suited to your needs.

2. A Salary Bracket

What Specs To Include In Job Description

The truth of the matter is that people need to know what they can expect to be paid for doing a given job before they apply. ‘Salary dependent on experience’, or ‘market-related compensation’ keeps the door open for HR to land on a suitable number once they’ve made their way through their list of candidates, but it’s not really fair on job seekers - especially in the current economic climate.

Play fair by deciding what you can spend on talent in the position that you need to fill, and share this information when you post your ad. This is also a good time to check what other people in similar positions are being paid in your area by referencing resources like these, so you can be sure to offer a competitive rate.

Whatever you do, do not place an advertisement for a 'unicorn' (i.e. a mythical employee who can do the work of five different people despite earning a salary that would suit half a person staying at home with their parents who also happen to cover their medical aid and car insurance). Serious candidates want to know what will be expected of them when they join your crew, as well as what is in it for them in return.

Make a clear list of the responsibilities that will fall under the jurisdiction of the chosen candidate. Sit down with the direct manager to whom they will be reporting and take your time to really get down to the nitty-gritty of the day-to-day tasks and KPIs. This step will also allow you to understand whether you are perhaps expecting too much of one person and whether the role should be split in two, or three.

Job Expectations

4. Real Perks and Benefits

If you want to list perks and benefits, be sure that you are listing the real kind. 'Great coffee', 'striking view', 'fast-paced learning environment’, and ‘pizzas on Friday’, are great perks, but they only touch the surface of what quality candidates want from a career. Serious job seekers are looking to find employers who offer things like ongoing learning opportunities, student loan support, flexible work schedules, mentoring, etc.

5. Information On Application Processes

If your company's application process is quite involved, it's best to be upfront about it from the word go. For instance, if you are planning on having your chosen candidates complete a type of test somewhere along the hiring funnel, or have them come in for a group interview at some point, be sure to mention this in your initial job ad.

When applicants know what to expect, they can plan accordingly, or opt-out early if they don't feel comfortable investing a lot of their professional time into something that may or may not result in employment.


Ultimately, a clear job specification will help you narrow down to a more suitable candidate list quickly by making all of your requirements known.

Start by informing prospective job seekers of what you envision in terms of salary bracket, KPIs, perks and benefits, as well as the actual application process. Be as detailed as possible for best results.