How to create a great Job Spec in 7 easy steps

How to create a great Job Spec in 7 easy steps

Creating a job specification (also known as job description or job requirement) is the first and most important part of hiring. We often ‘copy and paste’ from other job adverts out there, or from previous employee who left that role. But this can be the biggest mistake in hiring!

Yes, life is busy, work even busier, add lockdown, Covid-19 and working from home. You have gone from 24 hours a day to feeling like you only have 8 in a day. But ‘copy and pasting’ a job specification is going to add much more time to your hiring process.

  • First up if you copy someone else’s job specification, you will not get the right person as they will be looking to work somewhere else;
  • Second if you copied from a previous employee, we could almost guarantee that role has changed (most roles change monthly);
  • Lastly a copy and paste does not ‘speak’ in your language, it does not show the culture or who you really are looking for.

Here are 7 easy steps to creating the job spec that attracts the right candidate – and saves you time in the long run:

  1. Its all in the Title

People all over the world search for jobs by 1) Job Title and 2) Area. If your ideal candidate is out there and you are in their area (something you cannot change unless you allow remote working), it is all in the Job Title. Using new great titles like CSO (meaning Customer Success Officer), Sales Ninja, or ‘Keeper of all files’, may get some laughs but unfortunately will not get you the right candidate. Keep the job title, clear in what they will be doing and stick with common job titles. When they get the job then you can make it more fun/catchy/innovative.

2. A heading grabs attention

The first few words under the Job Title decides if the candidate continues to read it or not. Example if you were a HR Manager which one would appeal to you:

  1. We are looking for an HR Manager in Cape Town, to manage our HR team. Please note if you do not get a response from us in 2 weeks please take note your application has been unsuccessful.
  2. Do you enjoy building people? Are you a passionate individual that wants to make a difference in the world? Do you want to work for a business that changes lives daily – for real? Well read some more below.

Writing a job spec is like marketing – you are SELLING a job. Speak the words that the candidate YOU want, would read, and apply.

3. List the Top 5 Job Tasks/Duties

Write out what the job is going to do, at least 5 duties/tasks. If you are not the line manager, ask for these in writing. Candidates who are job searching will read the top 5 duties to see if the job is what they WANT to do. Ensure the top 5 are the actual duties/tasks they do most in a day

4. Yes, jobs do pay money

After 24 years in business, I do not understand why people do not add a salary band to their job specs. The person you are advertising needs and wants to earn a salary. And you are going to pay a salary (unless you are asking for volunteers).

If you leave it with no salary you get everyone, and their children applying, but not the caliber you want. If you have a salary and it does not fit the ideal candidate, then they will contact you if interested. Or even better put a range down, what you would start at, your ideal budget and a bit more to catch some exceptional expensive talent. ‘Market related’ is saying you have no idea what people earn for this type of role. Questioning what the salary should look like? Use salary benchmark tools – they free – try or

5. What do you need to be successful?

List your ideal experience and qualifications that you would like the candidate to have. If you do not know what they should have, then go looking on LinkedIn. See if you can find the person you would like, then look at their background and education. If you leave it to the fluffy items like must be passionate and adaptable, you will again be flooded with people you are not looking for. Be specific and list the ideal. A secret, most people look at the top 3 requirements and if they meet those they will apply.

6. So why work with us?

A reminder you are advertising your business/job. You need to inform people why they want to work for you – you are SELLING a job. If you do not have the most well-known brand out there or pay the highest salaries, then what else do you offer? Some ideas:

  • Become part of a family not a business, we all work towards a shared vision that we all believe in
  • Get to join a high-performance team – if you want to shoot the lights out then this place is for you
  • Celebrate every win and learn from every failure
  • You get to learn from a range of amazing team members
  • We give you a career ladder
  • You get to change the world in a real way
  • You get to work from home
  • We offer flexible hours
  • We treat our staff like they are family

7. Its all in the detail

You want people who apply to be serious about the role and want them to have attention to detail. Then list at the end of the job spec:

Should you be interested please send an email to with a copy of your latest CV and please add your answers to these questions: 1) Why are you the best person for this job?; 2) Do you have the minimum requirements?; 3) Please list your required salary and notice period.

If they reply and do not answer your questions, you can then filter out the ones not looking at the detail.


Be unique and stand out from the other job adverts. There are over 200,00 job adverts out in South Africa at any one time. Catch the right candidate with the right job description that makes them want to apply and want to work for you. Getting the right job spec puts you leaps ahead in the hiring process.