Lia Boyland Blog - Writing a great job spec

Job specifications (or ‘specs’ as they are known in recruitment) are central to every open role. They are the first thing a person will read before applying for a role and gives them a sense of the responsibilities and requirements. But, many job specs are too long, unclear or unappealing. It is important to display your organisation’s brand and personality in the spec, and clearly describe what working with your company is like.

Here are six steps in preparing a great job spec:


1. Include the 3 core aspects of the role

As part of my job, I read job specs every single day. Making the role as clear as possible is crucial. Before writing the spec, decide what the 3 core aspects of the role are, and then make sure they are included.

2. Make sure the tasks are clearly stated

Before you write the job spec, do your research. What are the key tasks of the role and how can you make them stand out in the spec? If you are altering an existing spec be sure to review it thoroughly and make sure that the details are still applicable. It is amazing how many errors are made in copying and pasting from previous specs!

Speak with key stakeholders to determine the core tasks and ad-hoc tasks. This will help you to identify the most important responsibilities and create a spec that details the role perfectly.

3. Do your market research

It is vital that you understand the market. Where is your target candidate working? What salary and what benefits are they getting? Why are they working there?

You need to align your role with the motivations of your target candidates. Talk about you as a company and the reasons people might want to work with you. For example, someone that wants to work in a large multinational may be motivated to work within an organisation that has offices globally, large teams, and set processes in place. You should outline structures like these and your work environment to appeal to your audience.

4. Does the budget match the requisition?

I often see job specifications come in with roles that are under-budgeted, making it difficult to attract the right person.

It is important to figure out the market worth of the role. Consider the requirements of the role and your budget for the position. The market worth of the candidates can change, so before you get sign-off on the requisition be sure that you have the right role matched against the right budget.

5. Don’t follow the standard, be different

Try to be creative when you are writing your job spec. Finding existing drafts or templates online outlining the role responsibilities and requirements might be convenient, but it’s boring!

I often work with clients to help them sell the job in the best possible light. I always encourage them to break away from the standard and make it their own. This will really help you to attract the right candidates not only from a skills perspective but from a company culture perspective.

6. Give it some sparkle

After all the effort of writing a job spec, you should make sure that it reflects you and your organisation. Talk about your work environment and the things that candidates want to hear: what is the salary scale, what are the benefits, talk about the company culture, values – make it fun!

For example, one of my clients had written in the job spec that candidates needed to have a sense of humour. This worked very well as it was different and it gave the spec and the company some personality!

If you are struggling to write that job spec get in touch with your Collins McNicholas Recruitment Consultant as they would be happy to give their insights and guidance. View all of our employer services to learn how we can assist you.


Lia Boyland is a Recruitment Consultant with Collins McNicholas Cork. As part of our Commercial Recruitment Team, Lia covers a wide range of roles, and all of her current vacancies can be found here. 

Lia Boyland

Recruitment Consultant

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group