FAQs - Position Description

For a general overview of Position Descriptions and its function, please refer to the Position Descriptions Guideline.

Q: Why do I need a position description?

A: A position description describes the work that is to be performed by the incumbent in a position. The position description is the basis for classification (which drives the salary). It describes typical responsibilities, setting expectations for the employee and the manager. It lists knowledge, skills, and abilities which are important considerations when hiring for a vacant position, and which would be important in cases of ADA compliance. And, the position description becomes an official record in an employee's personnel file.

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Q: What should be described in the position description?

A: Position descriptions should describe:

  • The primary purpose
  • The essential functions
  • The knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the job
  • Minimum education required
  • Minimum experience required
  • Preferred qualifications

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Q: Who writes position descriptions?

A: The manager writes a position description with input from employee or a subject matter expert.

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Q: Who approves a position description?

A: Position description is approved by:

  • The manager of the position
  • Human Resources (Equal Opportunity & Workforce Planning Analyst)

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Q: Who is required to sign the position description?

A: Position description requires a signature from the following:

  • The employee
  • The manager
  • Human Resources (Equal Opportunity & Workforce Planning Analyst)

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Q: How do I begin to write a position description?

A: Consider the nature of the work and the primary purpose. List the essential duties. Then list the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform those duties. Lastly, indicate the education and experience you believe is reasonably required to perform the essential duties of the position.

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Q: What should be included in the primary purpose section of the position description?

A: The primary purpose section of the position description is intended to describe the general nature of the position, the purpose and objective of the job, and from whom and to what degree the position receives direction.

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Q: What should be included in the essential duties?

A: These are the fundamental duties of the job and are critical to the successful performance of the job. The most important duties are to be described first. The duties are described in task statements.

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Q: What is a task statement?

A: A task statement describes an important action of the job. A task statement includes - performs what action? to whom or what? to produce what? using what tools, equipment, processes or procedures?

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Q: How do I know what to include in the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) section?

A: This section of the position description should include the knowledge, skills, and abilities an applicant posses when being considered for the job. This is the area of the position description which expresses knowledge and skills that may be specialized for the position. KSAs should be related to and support the essential duties of the position. The degree of knowledge or skill should also be reflected (i.e., basic, thorough, advanced).

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Q: How do I know the level of the position?

A: It is important to realistically describe the degree level of knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. Human Resources will make the determination of the level of the position.

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Q: How do I know the classification of the position?

A: You do not have to know the classification of the position. You can view the Classification Standards for guidance. However Human Resources will make the final determination of the position classification.

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Q: What are the classification standards?

A: All work performed at the university is classified under the Classification Standards. These standards are developed from the Chancellor's Office and in conjunction with the bargaining and the Public Employee Relations Board.

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