Job Description vs. Job Specification: An In-depth Guide

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 February 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The job description and job specification play an important part in the hiring process. Whenever there is a vacancy in a company, the hiring manager generally creates job listings for open job roles, describing the duties, responsibilities, skills, experience, educational qualification and other requirements. Although the job description and specification may seem similar, there are some key differences between the two terms. In this article, we discuss the difference between job description vs. job specification and understand their importance in the recruitment process.

Related: How To Write Job Descriptions (With Example And Tips)

Job Description Vs. Job Specification

When discussing a job description vs. job specification, we can review the differences between the two. A job description is a factual statement of all job-related content, usually summarising all relevant information for the job seeker. It may include the name of the company, job title, purpose of the job, duties and responsibilities, salary, incentives, allowance, working policies, compensation and benefits. A job specification is a section in a job listing that mostly lists the qualifications and qualities required for the job.

It usually follows the job description and lists the qualities that every candidate is required to possess for the job and may include educational qualifications, work experience, soft skills, aptitude, reasoning ability, leadership skills, adaptability, value, ethics, creativity and flexibility. Although both are a part of the job listing and are intended to give the job seeker a clear idea of the job, they discuss different aspects of the role. While a job description lists details like duties, tasks, goals and policies of a role, a job specification discusses the requirements that potential candidates are required to meet.

Related: How To List Job Responsibilities In Job Listings

Job description example

Here is an example of a job description:

Company name: Wavewood

Job title: Business development associate

Work location: Remote

Overview: Looking for a business associate who can explain company products to students or their parents effectively, set up online meetings and sell courses.


  • Showcasing the unique ways of learning

  • Teaching and mentoring

  • Selling education courses

  • Guiding students for better educational growth and result

  • Working in a team to spread awareness about our ways of learning

Job specification example

Here is an example of a job specification:

Company name: Wavewood

Job title: Sales head

Educational Qualification: A graduation degree is essential; MBA is preferred

Skills Required:

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Leadership skills

  • Negotiation skills

  • Positive work attitude

  • Keen interest in and deep understanding of the sales process

Experience: Minimum three years of work experience in leading a sales team

Related: How To Make A Resume For Your First Job

Key Differences Between Job Description Vs. Job Specification

Here are some key differences between job description and job specification, and understanding them can help you highlight the right elements, skills and achievements when applying for a job:


A job description explains all the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of the vacant role. It talks about the day-to-day actions that a candidate may be required to perform after being hired. The goal is to help potential applicants understand the demands and requirements of the job profile to determine whether they have the qualifications and experience to fit the role.

The purpose of a job specification is to list the required capability and eligibility and help candidates understand whether they are qualified for the role. Since it clearly mentions the required educational qualification, certifications, technical knowledge, and non-technical skills needed for a particular role, it makes it easier for the candidates to determine whether they are a good fit. It also helps the recruiters shortlist candidates faster.

Related: How To List Certifications On A Resume (With Examples)


A job description can help the company management and HR define the scope of a role and evaluate job performance. It is used to clarify any questions the candidate may have regarding the role and set the right expectations during the interview process. A well-written job description defines a clear set of expectations for both candidates and employers. It may explain the duties and responsibilities of the advertised role in great detail.

A job specification helps match the right candidate with the right job. It is relevant during the job search process as it helps candidates determine whether they qualify for a job. It can also be a useful benchmark for hiring managers to compare and shortlist candidates objectively. Employers can also design training and development programs based on qualifications mentioned in the job specification. For candidates, the job specification is also a helpful reference for writing a customised cover letter or highlighting relevant experience in their resume.


A job description includes details about the job, the company, the work profile and everything else that may help a candidate understand their professional duties. Occasionally, it may also include details about the reporting officer for the potential employee. A job specification lists all additional information regarding specific skills required from a candidate, such as education details, work experience, technical skills, soft skills and certifications.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions And Examples

Creation process

A recruiter may create a job description based on an analysis of the requirements of the company. To write the job description, the hiring manager usually identifies the tasks to be performed, defines the particular role, decides the associated responsibilities for a person in that position and the appropriate job title.

A job specification originates from the job description and helps with preliminary shortlisting in the selection process. But, the job specification may require to meet certain industry or regulatory standards as well. For example, certain skills or certifications might be necessary for niche roles in the manufacturing, medical or construction industries. Thus, the required skills, capabilities and aptitude of candidates may depend on external yardsticks and parameters like education qualification or training.

5. Role in performance measurement

The job description helps organisations set the right expectations and enables an objective performance assessment. It reduces ambiguity in roles and helps candidates understand exactly what they might be doing. With a clear job description, it becomes easier to evaluate employee performance.

A job specification may be important for the management while deciding on an internal transfer, salary increase, promotion or bonus. It may provide a standard threshold for measuring performance to evaluate progress and selecting employees for leadership roles based on past experience.

Related: How To Write Requirements For A Job (With 3 Examples )

Comparing Job Description And Job Specification For The Same Job Listing

Here is an example comparing the job description and specification for the role of an HR manager:

Job description

Job summary: Wavewood is looking for an HR manager who would efficiently direct and lead the routine function of the human resource department.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Recruit, interview and hire new company staff

  • Train new employees according to work profiles

  • Undertake timely performance evaluation for employees

  • Understand and execute talent strategy

  • Handle discipline and termination of employees according to company policy

  • Maintain knowledge of trends, regulatory changes and new technologies in HR management

  • Maintain compliance with state and central government employment laws

  • Recommend best practices, reviews policies and practices to maintain compliance

Job specification

Educational details:

  • Bachelor's degree in human resource management, business management, business administration or in any related field

  • Basic computer knowledge is desirable

Job Experience:

The candidate is required to have a minimum of two years of experience in human resource management.

Skills and abilities:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • Interpersonal and negotiation skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Conflict resolution skills

  • Ability to act with integrity and confidently

  • Proficient with digital organisational and collaboration tools and other software

Here is an example comparing the job description and specification for the role of a restaurant manager:

Job description

Job summary: We seek a hardworking and enterprising restaurant manager who would lead all our catering services, motivate our staff to provide excellent customer service and develop our high-quality menu.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conduct daily staff meetings

  • Coordinate day-to-day restaurant management operations

  • Deliver superior food and beverage service

  • Maximise customer satisfaction

  • Respond efficiently and accurately to customer complaints

  • Organise and supervise shifts

  • Appraise staff performance

  • Provide feedback to improve productivity

  • Estimate future needs for kitchen utensils, goods and cleaning products

Job specification

Required educational qualifications:

  • A degree or diploma in hotel management or hospitality

  • Extensive knowledge of the food and beverage industry

  • A degree in business administration or culinary schooling is a plus

Work experience:

Proven experience of a minimum of two years as a restaurant manager, general manager or hospitality manager.

Skills and Abilities:

  • Ability to recall and remember food ingredients, recipes and cuisines

  • Familiarity with restaurant management software and POS devices

  • Strong leadership skills

  • Self-motivated

  • Financial management skills

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Customer service skills

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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