Position Descriptions

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Position Description Information

Definition

A written summary of the most important features of a position including:

  • the general nature of the work performed,
  • the specific duties and responsibilities, and
  • the qualifications needed to do the job.

Uses

  • To help employees understand their jobs.
  • To clarify relationships between jobs, avoiding duplication and gaps in responsibilities and specific duties.
  • To provide information for classifying positions.
  • To assist in performance appraisal by providing a standard against which individual performance can be measured.
  • To clarify lines of communication, authority and responsibility.
  • To assist in organization planning.
  • To introduce new employees to their jobs.
  • To assist in hiring and placing employees in the job for which they are best suited.
  • To establish lines of upward mobility.
  • To identify training needs.

Writing a Position Description

A Position Description describes the knowledge, skills, abilities, and duties of a specific position, not the characteristics or traits of the current incumbent. It must include a breakdown of essential job functions with the estimated percentage of time devoted to each responsibility. Before writing a position description, consider the following:

  • Keep the sentence structure simple. Omit unnecessary words that are not relevant. Focus on the responsibilities associated with the position.
  • Be precise. That is to say, think about how this document will serve as a model for position evaluation and analysis.
  • Focus on critical activities, disregard occasional tasks that are not unique to the specific position.
  • Refer to job titles rather than actual incumbents, e.g., "Reports to the _____ manager" as opposed to a specific individual.
  • Refer to the importance of diversity on our campus.

The HSU Position Description Consists of Six Sections:

Section A: Position summary: A short statement that discusses the purpose or objective of the position.

Section B: Essential job functions: A percentage breakdown of duties and responsibilities. Example: 25% Provides technical support to end-users.

  1. Installs desktop applications and software.
  2. Trains end-users on new software and technology.

Section C: Minimum qualifications required to perform all essential functions: Refer to the Classification Standards or call Human Resources at 826-3626.

Section D: Knowledge, special skills and abilities required: Refer to the Classification Standards or call Human Resources at 826-3626.

Section E: Equipment used in the performance of the assignment: Example: Standard office equipment, PC/Mac computer, Forklift, etc.

Section F: Specific physical and/or environmental working conditions that relate to the essential job functions of the position: Example: The ability to sit for prolonged periods of time, or the ability to move equipment weighing up to 40 pounds.

Use the following form below to submit a new Position Description:

  • A Position Description describes the knowledge, skills, abilities, and duties of a specific position, not the characteristics or traits of the current incumbent.