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How to write an HR job spec (with a free HR job spec template)

How to write an HR job spec (with a free HR job spec template)

As a small business, appointing the right people into HR roles is especially important. You need to be able to trust in their knowledge, skills and instincts, and feel confident that you’re putting the care of the rest of your employees in capable hands. 

The HR team takes on a lot of the work that a small business founder or CEO initially does — so effectively, they’re an extension of you. 

As one of Charlie’s HR advisors, I give small businesses and startups the best possible people advice, and that includes helping them craft HR job specs.

So if you want to understand what goes in an HR job spec then this is the blog for you

Download our HR job spec template-01.webp

What is an HR job spec? 

A job spec, or job specification, sets out the skills, qualifications, experience, attitude and abilities required for a job vacancy. 

And an HR job spec lists everything that’s required for an available role in HR

An HR job spec also includes information about the position to attract candidates and maximise advertising, like location, perks and benefits, salary, company culture and holiday allowance. It will detail the requirements of the role depending on its level. 

For example, an HR administrator job spec (also known as an HR officer job spec) will include responsibilities like hiring, onboarding and training up new team members, and an HR manager job spec will have additional tasks like line managing the HR team and reporting to the CEO. 

Why do you need an HR job spec? 

Businesses need an HR job spec when they’re recruiting for an HR position — typically this will be an HR administrator job spec for an administrator or officer role, and an HR manager job spec for a role in management. More on these two HR job specs below. 

Small businesses are likely to have specific concerns around HR, which a well-crafted job spec will help to mitigate. Concerns like:

  • Attracting qualified candidates - a lack of clarity or specificity in the job spec can lead to unqualified or mismatched applicants.
  • High turnover - frequent turnover may suggest issues with job satisfaction, workload, or workplace culture. Refining the job spec will attract candidates who are a better fit for the role and business.
  • Mismatched expectations - disconnect between the expectations of the hiring manager and the qualifications outlined in the job spec can cause frustration. Plus, new employees will be disappointed if the role does not match their expectations.
  • Lack of skill - HR roles require particular skills, such as knowledge of labour laws, employee relations, and talent acquisition. Without them, a new employee is likely to struggle, especially in a small business setting. 
  • Ineffective recruitment - outdated or ineffective recruitment strategies are unlikely to attract the best HR talent. 
  • Competitive landscape - good people are in high demand, so employers need to make their job specifications stand out from the crowd.
  • Retention - aligning HR roles with career aspirations and professional development will improve retention.

Why is an HR job spec important? 

An HR job spec is important because it:

  • Outlines the HR role and its requirements
  • Lists the necessary skills, qualifications, experience and attitude
  • Shapes applicant expectations
  • Assists in the writing of the job advert
  • Advertises you as an employer

Hiring the right people is vital for any small business. And HR appointments are potentially the most important you’ll ever make, because these are the people who set the tone for the rest of the company to follow. 

The job spec needs to clearly outline the HR role and what it involves, so that applicants can assess whether or not they’re a good fit. A well-written HR job spec will ensure you’ll see more of the talent you want in the room with you.

What is an HR administrator job spec?

An HR administrator job spec outlines the requirements and responsibilities of a vacant HR administrator position. 

Also known as an HR officer, an HR administrator is typically responsible for hiring, onboarding and training new members of the team

What is an HR manager job spec?

An HR manager job spec outlines the requirements and responsibilities of a vacant HR manager role.

Like HR administrators and officers, HR managers are responsible for hiring, onboarding and training new employees, but they’ll also have additional tasks like line managing the HR team and reporting to the CEO or founder

How to write an HR job spec 

At Charlie, we help small businesses with what we think is most important: people, processes and policies. And we do this through our HR software, our HR advice service, and by sharing our knowledge. 

We believe the world of work is changing — a monthly salary is no longer enough to keep the best people — and this needs to be reflected in your HR job spec. People want to know why they should apply to work at your company over all the rest. 

Here’s what we include in our HR job specs at Charlie:

  • Intro to Charlie (who we are and why) and a summary of the role
  • ‘In this role you will’ - a bulleted list of role’s responsibilities and remit
  • Requirements - skills, experience, qualifications, and type of person we’re looking for
  • ‘Why Charlie?’ - list of perks awarded to all Charlie employees (why you want to work here)
  • Benefits of the role - including salary, holiday allowance, perks and benefits (why you want this job)

Getting an HR job spec right will help to find the right person for the job, but it’s not all that easy to do. That’s why I’m including a free HR job spec template with this blog

HR job spec template 

The template below is an example of how we recruit for our HR roles at Charlie. As a fellow small business, it’s free for you to adapt.

Download our HR job spec template-01.webp

And if you need to just copy and paste it from the below:



Intro to your company

At Charlie, we believe the world of work is changing - a monthly salary is no longer enough to keep the best people. We’re ready to help small businesses with what we think is most important: people, processes and policies. We’re on a mission to Make Work Better.

With our beautifully designed, easy to use HR software, as well as our on-demand HR Advice service, we help over 3000 small companies with the people side of their business.

Summary of the role

We're looking for someone to join us on an initial 6-month fixed term contract, with the potential to stay on with us full time for the right person. Do you thrive off of building relationships with people? Do you want exposure to the inner workings of everything HR and people-related within a variety of different small businesses? If you do, then this could be an exciting role for you!

In this role you will (role requirements and responsibilities):

  • Create and review job descriptions, post recruitment adverts and oversee the hiring process
  • Help to manage employee performance
  • Support the development of new HR initiatives 
  • Champion and support learning and development


  • CIPD Level 3 qualification
  • HR experience, including experience in employee relation issues
  • Experience working with fast growth or small businesses is desirable
  • An understanding of modern and current HR best practices
  • A self-starter with initiative and ambition to do things differently
  • A confident communicator 
  • Passion for the startup sector, as well as small businesses and how they work

Why Charlie? (Why you want to work here)

You’ll be joining a company that:

  • Works in small cross-functional teams with OKRs, so your work is always focused, goal-driven and agile
  • Is at an incredibly exciting stage of growth
  • Is made up of 30 close-knit, ambitious and dedicated people who genuinely enjoy spending time together!
  • Has a clear and transparent career progression framework
  • Believes in helping every employee develop professionally along their chosen career path

Benefits (Why you want this role)

  • Salary from £30,000 - £32,000
  • £500 personal learning and development budget
  • Co-working office space in the heart of Spitalfields
  • Great company culture - weekly team breakfasts, lunches, drinks and monthly socials
  • Company wide retreat twice a year
  • Monthly "Exploration days" where you can work on whatever you want
  • Access to Spill - a message-based therapy service
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • 25 days paid holiday, plus closed between Christmas and New Year

As a fellow small business, we wanted to share with you how we recruit HR specialists at Charlie. Use this template as a framework for writing your own HR job spec.

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