The development and maintenance of current and accurate position
descriptions is vital to the job analysis process. The position
description is a written statement that describes the work that is to
be done and the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the
work. Position descriptions serve a variety of purposes.
Position Description Benefits
Enhances the understanding of what is expected and required in a job.
- Improves performance and work efficiency.
- Provides a basis for job-related section and performance appraisal standards.
- Provides a basis for identifying career paths.
- Provides a basis for salary survey comparisons.
- Provides a basis for legal defense (such as FLSA exemption status,
equal pay act compliance and definition of essential functions under
the American with Disabilities Act and other regulatory standards.)
Position Descriptions Can Be Used to
- Introduce new employees or applicants to the position.
- Provide basic documentation used in job analysis and compensation planning.
- Set Performance Standards and help employees understand what is expected of them.
- Provide a basis for setting goals and objectives.
- Identify and document essential job functions to ensure compliance with ADA.
- Comply with other legal and workplace requirements.
Position Description General Guidelines
- Describe the position/role/work to be performed, not the incumbent.
- Do not make the position description too detailed or complex.
- The position description should define the minimum standards for effective job performance.
- Write clearly and concisely.
- Position description should not be interpreted too rigidly; they
are not intended to be used as limitations or restrictions on employee
Each position will have a position description describing the
duties, qualifications, nature of the work, know-how, interactions and
supervision received/exercised. Managerial/Professional or
Office/Service Job Description should include:
This section provides the general demographic data of the position to be described. Enter the appropriate information.
Basic Function and Responsibility
This section describes why the position exists. The summary should
state the role the position plays in achieving the department division,
and NU’s mission, goal and objectives. This statement is often used as
the basis for describing the position when advertising for candidates.
The summary should be concise, no more than four sentences.
Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities
This section lists, in order of importance, the principle
responsibilities assigned to the position. Because this is the ;most
important section of the position description, some general rules of
- Write in a consistent format.
- Use clear and concise language.
- Use present tense, action verbs to begin each item.
- Avoid gender-based language.
- Avoid unnecessary words. Example: “Transports inter-office mail to locations throughout facility.”
To meet the legal requirements of ADA, identify essential functions
of the positions. (ADA defines essential functions as *(a) reason the
job exists. (b) a limited number of employees available to distribute
work, or (c) functions are highly specialized and require expertise).
As a general guideline, any single duty/task that occupies 20 percent
or more of the incumbent’s time is considered essential. Place an
asterisk “*” next to all duties considered to be essential.
The purpose of this section is to identify the knowledge, skills,
abilities and experience necessary for entry into a position, including:
- Education, licenses, vocational/special training
- Work experience, both type and amount
- Physical skills and mental abilities
- Core competencies