Position Description Development and Posting Requirements

Developing a new or reviewing/modifying an existing position description (PD) is the first step in the hiring process.  It serves as the foundation for the entire hiring process and is critical to the success of the search overall. 

When developing or modifying a PD, it is important to remember that the purposes of the PD:

  • To outline in detail the minimum and preferred requirements for a position.
  • To effectively communicate the requirements of the position to potential applicants. 
  • To provide the basis for applicant evaluating and selection when completing the required documentation (called the Search forms).
  • To accurately represent the job duties for future employee evaluations and training.

To fulfill these purposes, the PD must clearly and accurately identify the characteristics and functions the position, and should never be written to fit a specific person.  However, analysis of the qualifications of a person to determine what makes them successful in a given position can play a valuable role in the PD development process.
NOTE:  The instructions below follow the general format of the PD within PeopleAdmin, which is the software program used to create/modify/ fill positions.



Creating/Modifying a Position Description to be Filled

Determine the Type of Position

  • Begin the process by determining/reviewing the type of position.  Is the position USS or Unclassified/Faculty?    Hourly or Exempt?  Next, determine the appropriate Classification Title and Position Class Code of the position.  Selection of the Position Class Code will also select the appropriate e-class for the position. (Note:  Questions on these items should be directed to Compensation Analyst.)

Create a Vanity Title for the Position.

  • The vanity title is often called the directory title or the title used on the business card.  It describes the job duties often in more detail than the classification title.
    For example:
    • classification title: Director; vanity title: Director of Admissions;
    • classification title: Assistant Specialist; vanity title: Server Analyst.

Create a Summary of Responsibilities for the Position

  • This should give candidates a high level overview of the responsibilities of the position, the reporting structure for the position, and general information about the department in which the position resides.   A well written summary is critical as this information will appear on internal and external job postings.

Outline Requirements for the Position

  • As you do this, keep in mind that these are the items you will be scoring candidates on to determine who to interview and ultimately, who to hire.  These items should be clear, concise, and written in an objective format.
    • For example, “Must be committed to diversity” is too vague and would be difficult to score.  “Candidate should have demonstrated experience working with diverse populations” would be a better, more objective statement, and would be easier to score from either the applicants written materials or from information gained during the interview process.

Minimum Education

  • What education does a successful candidate need to have upon entering the position?  Remember that this is a minimum requirement, meaning that a candidate MUST meet this educational requirement to be considered.   For all minimum requirements, there are no exceptions.   Caution should be taken when listing specific areas of study as this can result in the elimination of otherwise qualified candidates.
    • For example, a PD requires the following:  Bachelor’s a degree in Business, Marketing, or Finance.   A candidate with a degree in Accounting would not qualify for the position. To avoid this problem, the requirement could have been written like this:  Bachelor’s degree in Business, Marketing, Finance or closely related field.    With this subtle change, the candidate with the degree in Accounting would be able to apply for the position.
    • When including the requirement of high school diploma, the requirement should be written as  “High school diploma or equivalent”.
    • There may be times when you will want to allow candidates to have the educational requirement or an experiential requirement.  Be very specific when writing these types of requirements.
    • Bachelor’s degree in Communication, Marketing or a closely related field, OR 6 years of work experience in a communication or marketing position.

Minimum Experience

  • What experience must the candidate have upon entering the position to be successful?  Remember that this is a minimum requirement, meaning that a candidate MUST meet all listed experience requirements to be considered.   For all minimum requirements, there are no exceptions.  Also note that any proprietary information (WSU specific) should be included in the preferred experience section, not in the required section.  All positions must have minimum experience requirements.
    • For example, “Must have I year of experience working with budget analysis and financial reporting” would go under the Experience or Knowledge, Skills and Abilities section.   A requirement of “Must have I year of experience working with budget analysis and financial reporting in Banner” would go under the Preferred experience section.
    • Each requirement should be listed separately for scoring accuracy.
      • “Candidate should have excellent verbal and writing skills, including the ability to deliver presentations to large groups and develop a variety of written materials for distribution” should be broken into two requirements.
      • Candidate should have excellent verbal skills, including the ability to deliver presentations to large groups.
      • Candidate should have excellent writing skills; including the ability to develop a variety of written materials for distribution.
    • Here are a few other examples of minimum experience statements. Detail is important when designing these items to ensure scoring accuracy.
    • Three years of experience in a clerical, administrative, or support position within an office setting.
    • Two years of experience in a supervisory role.
    • One year of experience working in financial aid or academic advisor role.
    • 2-3 years’ experience working in an academic environment
    • One year of experience in a customer service environment as first point-of-contact for customers and/or prospective customers.

Required Licenses, Certifications and Registrations

  • Items listed here will be required as minimum qualifications, meaning that candidates MUST have them to be considered for the position.  Examples include:
    • Valid driver’s License.
    • Professional certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
    • Dental hygiene license in Kansas.
    • Current Certification/Licensure by Kansas State Board of Nursing as advanced practice nurse practitioner
    • CPR certification (Healthcare provider BLS or Advanced) – current or to be completed within one month of starting position

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • What else does the candidate need upon entering the position to be successful?   These items also represent minimum requirements, meaning that a candidate MUST meet all items listed here for consideration without exception.

Example statements are provided below:

  • Demonstrated ability to use Microsoft Office products including but not limited to Word, Excel and Outlook.
  • Effective written communication skills using appropriate grammar, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation.
  • Proven ability to work within a fast-paced work environment including excellent time management and organizational skills with a high attention to detail.
  • This is also the area in which you will want to include the important “soft skill” requirements.
  • For example, “Experience with diverse populations” is not a good statement as it is too general.  A better statement would be; “Demonstrated commitment to diversity and successful experience working with diverse populations”.
  • Other examples of good soft skills statements include:
  • Demonstrated ability to lead promotional projects, coordinating the efforts of team members and stakeholders to complete strategic, measurable promotional campaigns.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and sustain effective professional and courteous interpersonal relationships with a diverse constituency of faculty, staff and students.
  • Demonstrates effective and efficient organizational skills and aptitude for detail work.
  • Demonstrates effective multi-tasking skills, such as the ability to move between tasks and interruptions seamlessly.

Salary/Hourly Rate Information

  • For USS positions, this is a predetermined hourly rate.  You should select the appropriate grade and step from the USS salary chart. However, for Unclassified and Faculty positions, the salary for a position is determined by the department. 
  • You may choose to indicate a salary or to leave this field blank, using a phrase such as “Commensurate with Experience.  From the candidate perspective, having a salary or salary range listed here is helpful in determining whether to apply for the position.  For some departments, using the experience phrase may work best as the salary range is very flexible, depending on the qualifications of the candidate under consideration.  When you are entering your PD into PeopleAdmin, you will need to determine which method is most useful for your position and department.
  • For positions that will be supervising others, you will need to collect all the position numbers of all those reporting to this position to be posted.  This information will be required when the position is entered/modified through People Admin.

Preferred Education Requirements

  • Here you will identify what level of education you would prefer for candidates to hold. These are essentially “extra credit” for candidates as they will receive additional points for meeting these criteria.  These items are NOT required for candidates to receive consideration.  This section may also be left blank if there is no other education desired other than what is listed in the Minimum Education section.

Examples:  

  • Minimum Requirement is a Bachelor’s degree; Preferred Requirement is a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, Public Relations, or Marketing.
  • Minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling, Social Work or a related field.  Preferred Requirement is a Master’s degree in Counseling or Social Work.

Preferred Experience Requirements

  • Here you will identify what additional experience you would like for candidates to hold.  Again, these items are “extra credit” for candidates as they will receive additional points for meeting these criteria.  These items are NOT required for candidates to receive consideration.  This section may also be left blank if there is no other education desired other than what is listed in the Minimum Education section.  This is also the section where you may place proprietary or WSU-specific information.

Examples: 

  • Minimum Experience is Two years of Event Planning Experience; Preferred Experience Requirement is 3-5 years of Event Planning Experience.
  • Minimum Experience is Three years of demonstrated accounting/payroll skills; Preferred is Minimum of three years demonstrated accounting/payroll skills in an academic, or government work environment.
  • Experience working with Ellucian Banner
  • Understanding of WSU business processes, such as admissions, advising, registration, enrollment, and financial aid.

Contact with the Public (USS positions only)

  • For USS positions, you will need to address the following question concerning contact with the public;
  • • For what purpose, with whom and how frequently are contacts made with the public, other employees or officials?

Environmental Factors

  • What Hazards, risks or discomforts exist on the job or in the work environment (i.e. noise, temperature, dust, lighting, chemicals, etc.)?
    • Example:  Office can be noisy during busy seasons. Detailed daily tasks may strain eye sight. Prolonged sitting and computer work may cause discomfort.

Machines and Equipment

  • List machines or equipment used regularly in the work of this position. Indicate the frequency which they are used
    • Personal computer and printer used daily. Email and telephone are used daily. Copy machine used frequently. Fax machine used occasionally. Scanner used occasionally.
  • For USS positions, you will need to select a statement concerning employee errors, and then provide examples of the consequences for employee errors.
    • Errors in transfer evaluations can delay a student completing their degree and lead to enrollment in unneeded courses. This can cause significant financial waste and burden and deter career progression for students. Errors reflect poorly on Wichita State and how it serves students.

Job Duties

  • In this section, you will outline the major job responsibilities for the position and indicate a percentage of time spent working on this responsibility.  You will also indicate whether this is an Essential or Minimal responsibility.  Once all high level duties have been entered, the percentage should total 100. There is no limit to the number of items that can be listed.  However, responsibilities should be grouped as appropriate so that no item has less than 5%.   Most jobs have 4-8 major categories of duties.

Job Duties Photo

 

  • For many employees the job duties become part of their evaluation.

Funding

  • When creating a PD, you will also need information concerning how the position will be funded.  Specifically, you will need the Org number, the Fund, the Funding Source (RU or GU), and the Account (1000 is USS, 1010 is USS Temp, 1100 is Unclassified, 1110 is Unclassified Temp).
    • NOTE:  You may split funding between two funds, but you may NOT split funding between Orgs.  
    • For example, you MAY have funding from ORG 101912 from Fund A0003 for 25 % and Fund D10139 for 75%. 
    • You CANNOT have ORG 101912 from Fund A0003 for 25% and ORG 102164 from Fund D10139 for 75%.  In this case, funds would need to be transferred so that the funding could be pulled from a single ORG code.

Physical Job Requirements

  • Here you will enter all physical requirements for the position and indicate the frequency of use.   Most positions will have at least 10 items in this section. 
  • For USS positions only, you will need to address the following questions:
    • How much latitude is allowed employee in completing the work?
    • What kinds of instructions, methods & guidelines are given to the employee to help do the work?
    • State how and in what details assignments are made?

Search Committee/Chair

  • The selection of the search chair and search committee is the next item for consideration.  The partnership between hiring manager and search chair is key to a successful search and to ensure that the search process moves along in a timely manner. The hiring manager and search chair should discuss the position, the requirements, the overall search and advertising strategy, the interview process and any other relevant topics before the PD is approved and posted for applications.
    • Verification of acceptance as a search chair or search committee member role should be attained before the PD is entered into PeopleAdmin.   If necessary, changes to the search team can be made by HR at a later time.
    • A search may have co-chairs.  The PeopleAdmin system allows multiple search chairs for a job posting.
    • A director my serve as the "face" of the search, conduct interviews and host all events with the applicants. Their Admin can also be listed as a search chair to facilitate reviewing and scoring of applications.
    • Only those people listed as a search chair or search committee member will be able to access the posting and its applicants.
    • Anyone outside of WSU who is serving on the search team should be included as a guest user within the PeopleAdmin system.

Posting Options

  • Next, you will need to consider the posting options for your position.  Will it be open to external candidates or only open to WSU employees?  How long will it be posted?  Where will I advertise?  Will I choose to advertise?  How do I ensure a diverse candidate pool of candidates?
    • Note that student and temporary employees are not eligible to apply for positions advertised for WSU employees only.  To apply for internal positions, you must be a current benefits eligible WSU employee with an active myWSU ID.
    • Jobs must be posted for a minimum of 7 calendar days for both internal and external postings, but may be posted for a much longer period of time if desired. This is true for local, regional and national searches.
    • You may also decide to have the position Open Until Filled. 
    • If you use this option, the position will be open to candidate application submissions throughout the hiring process.  However, the use of a priority consideration date should be used in conjunction with the Open Until Filled option.   An example of a priority consideration date:  This position will remain open until filled.  However, priority consideration will be given to those candidates who complete the application process by January 20, 2014.
    • A priority consideration provides a way to begin the screening process of candidates while still gathering additional candidates.   When the screening process begins, all candidates who applied by the priority date are included in the initial screening.  If the hiring process is completed without the identification of a viable candidate, the candidates who applied AFTER the priority date would then be considered.

Search Plan

  • A search plan will also need to be developed for the position. Part of this process is determining the length for posting, which is outlined above. Many times, the best way to develop the plan is to work backwards from the proposed start date.  The plan will need to include the following:
    • Beginning Initial Application Review Date – Consider how long you will need to review all of the candidates who apply for the position. 
    • Beginning Phone Screenings Date – Determine whether phone screens will be used in your search.  If you plan to use them only if necessary to narrow down your candidate pool, make sure to include this in your plan.
    • Beginning Live Interviews Date – When do you plan to conduct face to face interviews?  Make sure to allow ample time for scheduling, travel, etc. when developing your plan.
    • Interview Details – Will there be a presentation required?  Will there be a tour?  Will the initial set of candidates be interviewed and then narrowed down to two for a second interview?
    • Sources and methods required insuring a diverse applicant pool – What actions are you taking to ensure that diversity are a factor in your candidate pool?

Advertising

  • Depending on the type of position, you may decide to advertise for positions posted externally.  When determining where to advertise, targeting a diverse population should be a major consideration.  Other groups that should be considered in the advertising plan include Veterans and the disabled.
    • There is no requirement to advertise your position externally.  Many positions receive ample traffic through the posting to the WSU website.
    • Once you have decided to advertise externally, you will need to draft your ad copy.  This information should be included on the PD when it is routed for approval within PeopleAdmin.  
    • The Office of Human Resources can assist you with placing ads with U.S. Military Pipeline (free), the Wichita Eagle, and CareerBuilder (cost to department).  Other advertising should be placed by the search chair or departmental designee. Advertising sources and cost information are available.
    • All positions listed in PA automatically post with the Wichita Workforce. This network includes:
Butler CC Kansel
Catholic Charities KETCH
Cowley CC MidCAP
CPRF Mirrors Inc.
Department for Children & Families Salvation Army
Dress for Success Sedgwick County
Episcopal Social Services Senior Services
Goodwill Industries SER
Heritage College Urban League
Hutch CC US Air Force
Job Corp USD 259
Kansas Dept. of Corrections Veterans Administration

Final Review

  • Once all of this information has been compiled, a comprehensive final review should take place.  It may be helpful to have other concerned parties review the PD to make sure all requirements have been accurately included. 
  • Once the final review is complete, you are ready to enter/modify the PD in PeopleAdmin.  

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All instructions are based on general procedures. College/Department or Divisional direction should be followed when instructions differ.

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SME: MH/JW/MJ/MW/LH

Revised: 09/04/2018 DC