Compensation Resources

  • Writing an Effective Job Description

    Writing an Effective Job Description



    A job description should accurately describe and reflect the duties and responsibilities of the position. When written well it defines why the position exists and a realistic picture of “what does this position actually do?”

    A job description describes the responsibilities, but also sets the foundation for recruitment, development and training, and market pricing a job externally and determining internal worth.

    The job description should contain sufficient information to describe major responsibilities and essential functions as the position exists today. These details provide the information necessary to classify the position, not the person and should be incumbent neutral and not based on any specific quality of an incumbent.

    Parts of a job description

    Job Title

    The job title describes the general nature and level of work performed.

    • Titles such as Analyst, Assistant, Mechanic indicate the general nature of the work.
    • Other components of the job title such as Senior, Specialist, and Lead indicate the level of the work.
    • Refrain from inflating titles to ensure the nature and the level of work is easily understood and does not cause internal inequity perception.
    • Consider internal and external status issues.
    • Consider HRIS character limitations in systems.

    Job Summary

    The job summary provides a high-level overview of the role, level, and scope of responsibilities consisting of three to five sentences providing a basic understanding of the role. A concise summary of why the job exists. The summary does not need to include all the essential duties in sentence form, nor does it need to list position titles of whom this role supervises. The idea is a brief overview.

    Job duties and responsibilities

    Include current duties and responsibilities which account for more than 5% of the incumbent’s time and are critical to the successful performance of the job.

    • Arrange these job duties and responsibilities in some logical order such as: Sequence in which the job duties are performed and order of importance.
    • Reference any areas of decision making.
    • Identify areas of direct or indirect accountabilities.
    • Use clear and concise language using present tense, action verbs.
    • Avoid any unnecessary words (too wordy of sentence)
    • Replace proprietary names of software, systems, forms, and such with generic terms.
    • Describe the nature of contact, the people contacted and the extent to which the incumbent will interact with others within and outside the University.
    • Describe the type of supervisory responsibilities that are expected from this role (no need to name the titles of the positions). Detail the extent of the job’s authority to hire, discipline, terminate, and assign work, train, and evaluate the performance of other staff.
    • Other job duties are those job functions that are not essential but considered part of the job. Remember that essential functions/duties are to meet legal requirements that include: the reason the job exists, a limited number of employees available to distribute the essential duties, and functions are highly specialized and require expertise.
    • Duties that are less than 5% of the time should be listed under other duties as assigned.
    • Job descriptions do not include every single duty or responsibility that an incumbent may be asked to perform. Please use disclaimer statement such as: other duties as assigned.

    Level Cutters

    Examples of modifying words or phrases when drafting essential duties

    Compensable Factors

    Lowest level                                                                             Highest Level







    Follows established routines under direct supervision

    Assigned work with limited employee latitude

    Receive general guidance on work priority with substantial employee latitude

    Employee works independently

    Impact of decision

    Restricted to employee

    Impact on the unit

    Impact on the dept

    Impact on the organization


    Hazard free environment

    Exposure to minor discomfort

    Exposure to injury of illness

    Life threatening situations




    Required Qualifications

    This section of the job description lists the required level of job knowledge that includes education, experience, and KSA’s required to perform the job. Think of what does this role minimally need for the individual to be productive and successful in this role?

    Required Education

    List the educational qualifications that the incumbent must possess to satisfactorily perform the duties and responsibilities. State the educational qualifications in terms of degree type and concentration(s) that would provide the knowledge required to perform in this position.

    Required Experience

    Identify the minimum number of full-time years of experience required and the type of work experience that an incumbent would need to be qualified for the job. If you are counting internships, undergraduate work, or graduate experience then this should be specifically stated.

    Preferred Education and Experience

    Make additional requests for education and experience that would enhance the qualifications for the position.

    Knowledge, skills, and abilities

    Include the required knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the job competently. This describes information, proficiencies, expertise, or demonstrated performance competencies related to the completion of the essential functions of the job. These should describe what a candidate must have to successfully complete the essential functions of the job. List no more than 7-10 KSA’s on a job description.


    • Special training, licenses, or certifications
    • Analytical or interpersonal skills
    • Physical or mental abilities
    • Demonstrated competencies.

    Knowledge- An organized body of information, usually of a factual or procedural nature, which if applied makes adequate performance on the job.

    Skill- The manipulation of data, things, or people through manual, mental, or verbal means. Skills are measured through testing, can be observed, and are quantifiable. Often refers to expertise that comes from training or practice.

    Ability- The capability to perform a physical or mental activity at the present time. Typically, abilities are apparent through functions completed on the job.

  • Reclassification

    Reclassification-Reclassifying a position is a process designed to review a position’s existing duties and responsibilities to determine if the primary functions align with their current title and classification. A new title may be appropriate when the duties of a position have changed or been increased significantly over time.

    Reasons for a reclassification review

    • The majority (30% or greater) of the position’s current duties and scope of responsibilities have changed both in variety and complexity or there has been an increase in supervisor responsibilities.
    • A department has reorganized and there is a need to restructure positions and duties.
    • Changes in the volume of work assigned or an employee’s performance are not considered justifications for a position reclassification.
  • Promotions

    Promotions- A promotion occurs when an employee moves to a position with a higher classification, title, and pay grade. Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (CEPEWA) has qualifiers that deem what is considered a career progression promotion.

  • Lateral Transfers

    Lateral transfers- A lateral transfer is movement from one job to another in the same or similar classification within the same job grade.

  • Acting and Interim Assignments

    Acting and Interim Assignments-Additional pay when an employee is appointed to an interim role beyond the employee’s current classification level/pay grade for a period expected to exceed thirty days but not last longer than six months. For interim assignments, the employee must meet the minimum qualifications of the higher-level position they will be performing the duties.

  • Temporary assignment of additional duties

    Temporary assignment of additional duties- When an employee is assuming additional duties in addition to their own responsibilities on a temporary term (less than 6 months) due to the absence of a co-worker or supervisor. Such additional duties must be short term in nature and clearly beyond the scope of the employee’s primary duties.

    Reasons not eligible for temporary salary increase:

    • When an employee assumes responsibilities for a subordinate.
    • For a period less than 30 days
    • Where the employee is participating in committee work, such as a search committee.
    • Where an employee is completing a project that falls within the scope of their current responsibilities.
  • Signing or Relocation Bonuses

    Signing or Relocation Bonuses

    • Signing or relocation bonus-A lump sum payment offered to a candidate of unique or hard to fill position to address extraordinary and validated circumstances associated with the candidate’s current compensation or the challenges of the recruitment efforts.
  • Position Review Request Form

    Position Review Request Form-Submitted by the business officer or manager to review posting of a vacant or new position, promotional opportunities, equity considerations, reorganizations, title changes and reclassification reviews.

  • Additional Pay Request Form

    Additional Pay Request Form- Used to request temporary increases or interim assignments. Form submitted by the business officer to compensation in advance of the employee taking on additional duties. The policy can be found here.

  • Position Action Request (PAR)

    Position Action Request (PAR) - Used for positions that are primarily vacant. The business officer submits inside banner workflow for new position, changes to a position, and positions needing to be posted. May also be used to update a position description.

  • Special Recognition for Employee (SRE)

    Special Recognition for Employee (SRE) - A onetime bonus payment (Sign on bonus, faculty, or staff awards) that gets submitted by the business officer inside the banner workflow.

  • Job Change Request (JCR)

    Job Change Request (JCR) - Used primarily for positions with an incumbent. The business officer submits inside banner workflow when making changes to employee classification (position group or position type), supervisor, budget, FTE, Salary, temporary salary changes, or office location.