Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are action-oriented documents that clearly and concisely state the primary duties performed, responsibilities carried out, and requirements of a particular job.

Human Resources needs to review all newly created or updated job descriptions to determine the appropriate grade or level. The job description template (below) should be used when preparing descriptions. The classification process is interactive — requiring input from Compensation, the Human Resources Officer, and the manager or the appropriate department administrative officer. Typically, a job should not be posted until it has been titled and graded through this process.

In all cases, the classification process should be completed with Human Resources before having any discussions with employees or prospective employees.

Keep in mind

  • Job descriptions are used for:
    • hiring
    • evaluation and classification
    • market pricing
    • performance appraisal
    • career pathing
  • The job description should first note the most important duties and those that require the most time. Remember, job descriptions are not meant to be an encyclopedia of every task performed. See our tips for writing job descriptions or take our self-paced online course, Writing Effective Job Descriptions.
  • Routine review of job descriptions is necessary because the primary duties (essential functions), skills, and knowledge requirements for a job may change over time to keep pace with the dynamics of the changing work environment.

Using the job description template

It is critical to provide an accurate and up-to-date reflection of a job so that it can be classified appropriately. The job description template below should be used when preparing descriptions for administrative, support, and SRS positions. We've also provided a sample completed job description.

For additional help, see our tips for writing job descriptions, our online web course Writing Effective Job Descriptions, as well as our glossary of terms.

Note: To comply with regulations by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), the principal duties in job descriptions must be essential to the job. To identify essential functions, focus on the purpose and the result of the duties rather than the manner in which they are performed. The following definition applies: a job function is essential if removal of that function would fundamentally change the job.