A job specification could be considered a more precise job description that details the exact educational degrees, experience, skills, and requirements for a role. In most cases, these terms are used interchangeably and nearly always describe the same document.
When detailing qualifications on job descriptions, employers typically require certain knowledge, skills, aptitude, training, and previous experience. Employers should remember that these qualifications might be gained in a number of ways. For example, knowledge may be gained through education, training, or experience. In addition, other requirements, such as the possession of a driver’s license could be considered discriminatory. For example, it may be necessary to specify that an individual must be "available to attend evening meetings throughout the community" and "possess a driver’s license” but an employer should distinguish between need and convenience and consider any discriminatory effects. An employee with a disability may be able to attend a meeting via teleconference or access public transportation to attend the meeting on site.
A job description typically consists of six major components: 1) essential job functions; 2) knowledge and critical skills; 3) physical demands; 4) environmental factors; 5) the roles of the ADA and other federal laws such as the Occupational Safety Health Act (OSH Act); and 6) any explanatory information that may be necessary to clarify job duties or responsibilities.
A bank of job descriptions can be instrumental in supporting the development of other organizational documents and standards as well. Descriptions may offer a framework for developing performance evaluations. In addition, the information gleaned may provide a common thread for developing employee resumes, policy manuals, annual reports, and organizational media.