Job descriptions and person specifications – how to write them, how to use them



A vast amount of time is spent preparing job descriptions, often to little purpose. This very practical workshop will help you streamline the process, produce better descriptions and specifications and, above all, ensure that they are used appropriately in support of successful recruitment and selection, competency frameworks, job evaluation and performance management.

Please note: we now deliver this programme under a new brand, Maximum HR, so please follow the link to see the latest version of this programme.

Training objectives

This course will ensure that participants:
  • Appreciate the need for job descriptions and person specifications
  • Understand the key components
  • Know how to write them
  • Produce them more efficiently
  • Understand the legal issues
  • Can use them effectively recruitment and selection, job evaluation and performance management


All those involved in preparing job descriptions and person specifications.


A highly practical one-day workshop.

Special features

This course is most effective when based around examples from your own organisation. It is an ideal opportunity to critique your current formats and procedures.

The expert trainer

Toni is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a member with 15 years standing of the Employment Tribunal judiciary (the youngest member ever appointed). Formerly an HR Director within the BAA group of companies, she is an independent HR / employment law consultant of more than ten years’ standing. She has worked with many organisations as a consultant, auditing HR policies, procedures and practices as well as managing complex and sensitive issues such as redundancy, TUPE transfer, reorganisations, etc. An author and trainer, she is also a lecturer for the CIPD graduate qualification.

The organisations she has worked with include, to name but a few, Orange, Ford, AXA Insurance, Westminster City Council, Zurich, OFT, CAFCASS, The White Company, Eurolink Group plc, RDF plc, Canute, BSS, IBIS Hotels, Vinci, British American Tobacco and Brunel Care.

Her programmes are both participative and highly enjoyable and the reaction from participants is always outstandingly positive , as shown by the following client feedback:

‘Exceptional. Feedback from our managers has always been second to none. Cannot be recommended highly enough.’ British American Tobacco

‘Can’t remember when I have enjoyed a day’s ‘work’ so much. It was extremely interesting and informative and it was also a lot of fun – I have spoken to the other delegates and they were of the same opinion. Toni was extremely knowledgeable on employment law and had a great sense of humour – many, many thanks and we look forward to seeing you for more training and development initiatives within Vinci.’ Vinci plc

‘Materials provided are excellent – far exceeded expectations. A great workshop, group energy was brilliant (not easy or expected), which is down to Toni. Great presenter, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.’ The White Company

‘One of the best course presenters I have seen in some time.’ AXA Insurance

‘Toni recently ran a two day training programme for all of our middle/senior managers on a range of leadership skills. The feedback as always was outstanding. The training was informative, engaging and entertaining. Toni used a range of different techniques to ensure we were given the information and skills we needed to improve our coaching and leadership capability whilst inspiring us to adapt the methods to address our own specific issues. We learnt some very valuable skills and had a thoroughly enjoyable two days.’ Brunel Care

Course outline

  1. Role profiles, job descriptions and person specifications
    • Why have them?
    • What are they used for?
    • Who should write them?
    • How do they link in with contracts of employment?
    • What’s the difference between job descriptions and role profiles or accountability statements?
  2. Key components of job descriptions
    • Classic job description structure
    • Strengths and weaknesses of the classic style
    • What style is appropriate for your organisation?
    • Examples
    • Job and role analysis
    • The right to change
    • The need to review and update
    • Practical exercise
  3. Legal pitfalls
    • Avoiding discrimination
    • Varying job descriptions
    • Relationship with contracts of employment
  4. Key components of person specifications
    • Classic structures
    • Strengths and weaknesses
    • Competency frameworks
  5. Recruitment and selection
    • Using job descriptions and person specifications for recruitment and selection
    • Relationship between role profiles and:
      – Application forms
      – Short-listing forms
      – Interview forms
      – Reference request forms
      – Exit interviews
  6. Job evaluation
    • Using job descriptions and person specifications for job evaluation
    • What is job evaluation?
    • Objectives
    • Equal Pay Act
    • Equal value considerations
    • Analytical v non-analytical types of job evaluation
  7. Performance management
    • Using role profiles, job descriptions and person specifications for performance management
    • Relationship between role profiles and:
      – Self-appraisal
      – Training needs analysis
      – Formal appraisal
  8. Review and close

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