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Job Specification

The first task upon a vacancy arising is for the recruiting manager to assess whether a new person is in fact required. Assuming this is necessary then the next step is to pull together all available information about the position to be filled.

In larger organisations a job can be described in terms of a Job Description sometimes called a JD and a Person Specification sometimes called a Person Spec.

The job description sets out the job title, relationships and key tasks of the job.

The person spec sets out the essential qualities necessary to undertake the job and the desirable qualities the ideal candidate might bring to the role. These are then used to help compare the suitability of candidates for the role.

Across a larger organisation it is possible that different departments would have varying styles of how to write job specifications. An idea is to at least have a template that allows a consistent approach. Having an online template means that job specifications can be easily found and reviewed. It also means that the organisation can present a uniform representation of similar jobs in different areas.


Advertising is a way of bringing vacancies to the attention of the widest possible audience. Advertising can also be a useful way of showing the organisation's brand to a wide geographic area and for many potential candidates helps display the organisation's approach to public relations.

A good advert will be brief, engaging and omit organisation specific jargon. It should be easy to read and written in such a manner as to welcome suitable applicants. The advert should be accompanied by a job specification so that anyone applying can get a better understanding of what the job entails and what qualities they should possess.

As with the person specification having an online advertisement template allows uniformity.

Application Form

People who see your job and feel both attracted to it and believe they possess the appropriate qualities can submit their details to you by filling in an application form. This allows them to show how they meet the job that you want filled.

There is a tendency to allow people to apply for jobs online these days rather than completing paper forms. An advantage of an online application form is that the information they enter is captured straight into your computer system.


An online, web based, way of working means that the organisation needs to have some controls over when things are released (or published) for general access. The fact that things can be made available for immediate general access does not mean there should be a free for all where absolutely anything can be put online by anyone with the appropriate access. If this were to happen the situation could very easily arise where templates might be filled out with information that is either wrong, embarrassing or even legally unsound. With this in mind organisations would normally have a separation of duties that allows the creation of documents like job specifications and advertisements and then the subsequent release for publication by a separate person.

The person who releases a document for publication would normally be a level of officer charged with understanding the way the organisation wishes to express itself and also the legal rules that underpin, in this instance, employment matters.

We have tried to show the separation between preparing a document and releasing by setting our templates up so that all documents are only visible to the author or their team until a box is ticked to authorise publication. You may have noticed that in this demonstration system the person preparing the document can also release it. In a proper full scale production system the Publish tick box would only be visible to a person or team that holds a role that allows them to review and release.

As a person who might be interested in doing HR systems work it is hoped that you have noticed the concept of systems users having different roles. At the very basic level two roles immediately spring to mind.

  • Creation - Person allowed to create for example job specifications and adverts.
  • Authorisation - Person who reviews work before allowing it to be published.

This is obviously a model for a larger organisation. Note also that the separation between creation and authorisation means that the authorisers must agree a level of service with the creators. Why?

Answer:- Think through a situation when a person has created an advert on Monday that needs to be online by Wednesday. Imagine what it would mean if the authoriser did not get around to reviewing it until the following Monday.


An online application form means that the information people submit goes straight into your computer system. This has the significant advantage of meaning that you do not have to burden staff with having to re-key information. This avoids the chances of errors creeping in from typing mistakes or inputters putting their own interpretation on things.

In ideal circumstances information should only be keyed in once at source and then flow through systems. Key once and use many times.

A goal of automation and electronic systems is to reduce repetitive tasks and free up resources to improve services.

If a job advert closes on a particular date then this is not quite as simple as putting a date into the system. This is because in computer systems the date includes a time element. To avoid the embarrassment of a job closing or an advert coming offline first thing in the morning it is important to set the time the job should close.

There is an interesting dimension to application forms. When forms were paper based and then moved to word processor documents the applicant could easily scan the pages and subconsciously prepare their response to the different sections. In moving to fully electronic documents it is important that this simple benefit of being able to flick between pages of a form is not lost.

In moving to an electronic way of working it is not simply about replicating a paper based process, there should be some benefit for the user. Take for example application forms. A person applying for jobs has probably thought wouldn't it be easier to re-use a previous application form and tweak it sightly? We have tried to show this in the demonstration forms on this site. Basic personal information already held on a person is pulled through to the application form. Just as the organisation does not want their staff re-keying information the same courtesy should be extended to applicants. There should however be the option for applicants to change their information. The system we have implemented works in the following way:

  • If the person has never applied previously then a blank template is presented.
  • If a person has one or more existing application forms then a list of forms is presented the next time they apply for a job and they can start with the one that is best for the role.
  • If the person wants to start off a fresh application then they can ignore the list of previous forms and start from a fresh blank template.
  • Once a form has been submitted or the closing date for the job has passed then that particular application form cannot be changed. In technical terms we say it can be read but not updated or deleted.

If you are interested in going further into storing information in relation databases hopefully by now you have become confident of the computer programming concepts of create, read, update and delete. We won't go any further with these concepts at this stage but just remember them. Create, Read , Update, Delete.

The application form is possibly the first formal opportunity that a prospective employee will have to use one of your business systems. This will help form a view as to how much thought the organisation has put into user experiences.
Remember that an online system is potentially open to the widest possible audience.

Key Legislation Underpinning Employment Contracts

The Employment Rights Act 1996 underpins contracts of employment in the United Kingdom.

The terminolgy to use is a written statement of particulars of employment. This summarises the main particulars of the employment relationship and must according to the legislation be given within two months of the person's first day of service.

Whilst the law states two months it would actually be poor form to encourage a person to give up an existing job or prior state of affairs without actually presenting them with the contractual terms of their new role until two months after it has started. The law is quite flexible but if we are truly focused on the quality of the engagement with the prospective member of staff the written statement of particulars really should be issued as soon as possible after the decision to appoint has been made.

Issuing the written statement of particulars at the earliest point means the person is aware of what they being contracted to and can clarify any uncertainties before accepting. Starting a relationship in this manner where possible helps ensure a more harmonious contract.

The key aspects of a written statement of particulars are as follows:

  1. The names of the employer and employee.
  2. The title of the job which the employee is employed to do or a brief description of the work for which they are employed.
  3. Where the employment is not intended to be permanent, the period for which it is expected to continue.
  4. Either the place of work or, where the employee is required or permitted to work at various places, an indication of that and of the address of the employer.
  5. The date when the employment began.
  6. The date on which the employee’s period of continuous employment began (taking into account any employment with a previous employer which counts towards that period). The continuous employment date is often the same as the start date. Where it is earlier this may give the new starter certain employment rights that come with longer service.
  7. The scale or rate of remuneration/pay or the method of calculating this.
  8. The intervals at which remuneration is paid (that is, weekly, monthly or other specified intervals).
  9. Any terms and conditions relating to hours of work.
  10. Entitlement to holidays, including public holidays, and holiday pay.
  11. How incapacity for work due to sickness or injury will be handled, including any provision for sick pay.
  12. Pensions and pension schemes.
  13. The length of notice which the employee is obliged to give and entitled to receive to terminate his contract of employment.
  14. Any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of the employment. In large organisations trade unions negotiate with the employer on behalf of staff, the agreements they reach with the employer are called collective agreements.

Key to the Organisation Chart

An explanation of the symbols used

collapsed icon This icon represents a unit that has child units. Click it to see the child units.
expanded icon This icon means that a unit has its child units visible. Click to close the child units.
Unit name Click on a unit to get more information on it. If the unit has child units it will open a page showing them too.

Organisation structure details Clicking this icon takes you to some basic theory on organisation charts and structure.
collapse all button This button is Collapse All and when clicked closes all units that have been opened up.
expand all button This button is Expand All and when clicked opens all units so you will see every aspect of the tree.

Welcome to Learning in Small Bites

YouTube page

Welcome to the free website for people who want to learn about the technology used for keeping staffing details in offices. Using this site you can learn as much from the comfort of your arm chair as you could in two years at work. Here is your chance to practice with systems that you may only have heard about. Get a behind the scenes view of what happens with your information and how it is stored.

This site is aimed at people from school leaving age and above who may be interested in working with what are known as Human Resources (HR) information systems.

If we can help even one person to secure a job in HR or specialise in HR systems as a result of using our free development site then the creators of HRMISolutions and Learning in Small Bites will have achieved what we set out to do.


You will get the best out of this site if you have:

  • A little experience of using a computer, a tablet or a smart phone.
  • A desire to help people to use less effort to achieve more.
  • An interest in office systems (don't worry if you are not sure at the start).



This section deals with the process of preparing for getting a new member of staff. What we will cover in this section is how an organisation might takes steps to attract the best skilled person who may wish to work with the organisation.

It starts with an existing member of staff leaving and a review of the job. We will touch on some basics of how to write a job specification that tells interested people about the job with sufficient detail so that they can work out whether they may be able to do the job or not.

The next step will be writing an advertisement (advert) and placing it online. The advert tells people that the organisation has a vacant job and is looking for someone to join.

The final bit will be an application form that allows job applicants to fill in an application for the job. The application form that we use will be useful for anyone to practice with who wants to experience applying for a job online.

Job Specification

When someone hands in their notice it is your chance to review the job.
Let's look at how to write a simple
job specification

Job Advert

Once you have decided what the new job is it needs to be advertised.
Let's look at how to write a simple

Application Form

People that like your job will need to let you know.
Let's look at a simple
application form.
Any job advert that you create in this section will appear on a simulated advertisements page once you click Publish. To view the advertisements page please click here Go to jobs page  

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