The purpose of the Person Specification is to clearly define the evidence that is required of candidates to prove they are able to undertake the role, as described in the Job Description.
It is important that due care and time is spent upon the preparation of the person specification. This document will provide the framework for the rest of the recruitment process. If the person specification is carefully prepared it will make each subsequent step of the recruitment process easier for those involved.
Care must be taken when writing the Person Specification to ensure that there can be no discrimination in the criteria. Each criteria must be required for the role so that it is fair. For example :
The requirement for full time working could discriminate women if the requirement is not justified and applicants could suggest alternative suitable working patterns.
Good communication skills as a requirement could discriminate applicants with a disability such as Autism (for further information see http://autismworkbarrier.org.uk/home/) so the actual requirement should be explicitly described eg.
- The ability to give clear directions may be a requirement of a front line reception post.
- The ability to deliver high quality presentations to staff and management
- The ability to write concise and accurate management reports
- The ability to log accurate incident reports
The Person Specification should be seen as the cornerstone of the Recruitment and Selection process and should be included/referred to at each of the following stages:
- Advertisement - included with any information sent to prospective candidates
- Shortlisting - to assess whether candidates reach required levels of education, experience and competencies to enable them to undertake the role
- Interview - questions should relate to the contents of the Person Specification and therefore assist the interview panel to assess whether candidates reach required levels of education, experience and competence to enable them to undertake the role.
In applications where the essential criteria of the person specification are not met, the individual should not be shortlisted.