Reviewing Position Descriptions
Qualifications for a job are determined by the information present on position descriptions. Reviewing the position description should become a part of the annual performance evaluation, thereby ensuring that position descriptions reflect what the jobholder is actually doing. By incorporating the review into this existing process, maintaining current position descriptions should be fairly easy. When reviewing position descriptions, department heads should ask certain questions:
- Are the functions described in the position description still a part of the actual job?
- Are all “essential functions” of the job included in the position description?
- Do the employees currently doing the job have the skills or education listed in the position description?
- Is the position description written in simple and understandable language?
- Does the job content demand greater or less technical knowledge that is actually needed to perform all the job functions?
- Are realistic educational requirements listed? What level of education is necessary for employee to perform essential job functions successfully?
Why are position descriptions important?
Position descriptions are important because they document essential job functions and requirements associated with each job at Seminole State College. Furthermore, having this information available in a consistent format ensures accuracy in many important activities including:
- Job Classifications
- Market Pricing
- Performance Evaluations
- Job Postings
Who will be responsible for writing position descriptions?
- Department deans/directors/vp’s are responsible for ensuring that current, accurate and complete position descriptions are written for all employees within their respective departments.
- The actual writing/revising of the position description should be a collaborate effort between the employee and their immediate supervisor. This gives the employee and supervisor an opportunity to develop a position description that accurately and clearly describes the essential functions and other job content information, and that the job content reflects both the needs of the department and the overall mission of Seminole State.
Commonly Used Terms
The following terms are appropriate for describing job responsibilities. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of acceptable terms as other terms that “accurately” describe job responsibilities may be used.
- Administers – Performs or directs in a prescribed manner
- Advises – Counsels, recommends or suggests
- Analyses – Studies methodically to determine solutions or alternatives
- Appraises – Evaluates or judges
- Approves - Authorizes action; exercises final authority; acts independently without further consultation
- Audits – Examines to verify accuracy, or conformity with requirements
- Authorizes – Gives others the power or right to act with final or definite authority
- Conducts – Directs the course of
- Controls – Exercises authority over; regulates
- Coordinates – Breaks parts into proper relationships and harmonizes in a common action or effort.
- Counsels – Gives advice and guidance to others
- Delegates - Entrusts to another person’s care or management
- Designs – Conceives, invents or forms a plan for
- Determines – Obtains definite and firsthand knowledge of
- Develops – Brings gradually into existence; expands or realizes potential
- Ensures – Makes sure or certain
- Facilitates – Makes easier or expedites
- Implements – Provides a plan, procedures or guidance to ensure completion or fulfillment of.
- Maintains – Keeps in existence; defends or sustains; preserves or retains
- Manages – Plans, organizes, and controls functions by leading and directing colleagues without giving detailed supervision.
- Monitors – Watches, observes or checks for a special purpose; keeps track
- Plans – Formulates a scheme or programs for the accomplishment or attainment of
- Promotes – Contributes to the progress or growth of; advocates or urges the adoption of
- Proposes – Offers for acceptance or adoption
- Provides – Furnishes necessary information or services
- Oversees – Watches over and directs; supervises
- Recommends – Counsels or advises that something is to be done; promotes something as reputable, worthwhile or desirable.
- Reviews – Examines with an eye to criticism, correction or approval
- Serves – Actively carries out duties within the framework of specialized activities, such as committees.
- Supervises - Directs and inspects the performance of associates; instructs associates in details of the work they perform (either directly or by enforcement of established rules), allots work, observes performance in detail and works with associates to improve performance and set goals.
Note: Position descriptions should not be used as a method to justify salary or promotional decisions unless it can be demonstrated that a higher skill level is necessary to perform the essential functions of the job. Often position descriptions are valuable for exhibits in EEOC hearings or disputes under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and CRA (1991) as amended; therefore, it is important that they are reviewed annually (during performance reviews) and updated accordingly.