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.
  • When creating and updating position descriptions it is crucial to focus on the essential elements of the position and to use language that is clear, concise and accurately describes the nature of the work.