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Human Resources

Physical Address:
415 West 6th Street
Moscow, ID 83844

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 4332
Moscow, ID 83844-4332

Summer Hours:
Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Academic Year Hours:
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phone: 208-885-3638

Fax: 208-885-3602



Staff Job Description Resources

A job description is a formalized statement of duties, qualifications and responsibilities for a position. A well written and accurate job description benefits the department, hiring manager and both potential and current employees by:

  • Defining the position’s scope and content.
  • Providing all necessary information that potential applicants need to assess whether the position and unit are a good fit.
  • Helping the hiring committee quickly identify and assess qualified applicants.
  • Creating a shared understanding of the position’s responsibilities and expected results to help with performance evaluation.
  • Helping maintain an equitable compensation system and ensure legal compliance.

Job descriptions should be updated as needed to reflect significant changes in responsibilities.

Before starting to draft or update an existing job description, check to see if the position falls within a published job family.

For assistance, please contact:

Human Resources Classification and Compensation Team


  • Be positive! When recruiting, the job description is the applicant’s first impression of the unit and the supervisor.

Be concise and direct:

  • Use a simpler word rather than a more complicated one.
  • Keep sentence structure as straightforward as possible.
  • Avoid jargon, abbreviations and acronyms. If abbreviations and acronyms are necessary, define them the first time you use them.
  • Do not use ambiguous terms. If you use terms such as “assists, handles and performs,” describe how the position assists, handles or performs. Using the word “by” and then detailing the tasks or operations performed will usually clarify the ambiguity.
  • Avoid writing the job description as a step-by-step guide on how to do the work.

Be inclusive:

  • Avoid gender-specific language such as “he manages” and “she is responsible for.”
  • Avoid restrictive language that would preclude accommodating employees with disabilities.
  • Focus on the business needs of the unit; don’t tailor a job description to an individual you'd like to hire.

Be accurate:

  • Focus on primary job responsibilities, leaving out trivial duties and occasional tasks.
  • Only include assigned duties as of today. Do not include potential future duties or any duties no longer required.
  • Do not write the job description based upon the desired job classification or market rate; express realistic levels of authority, responsibilities and duties.
  • Reference job titles or departments instead of employee names.
  • Keep in mind that the current incumbent likely has more skills and experience than is necessary for a new hire.
  • Being too specific about technology, processes or procedures will cause a job description to become prematurely outdated.

A working title is the title an employee uses on a daily basis. It will display in the university directory.

Unless a position falls within an established job family with defined titling options, working titles are assigned at the unit level and subject to dean or vice president-level approval.

Working titles should:

  • Describe the function or work performed.
  • Be consistent with professional/industry practice.
  • Be consistent with other working titles within a job family and/or work unit.

Working titles cannot:

  • Duplicate a position title used elsewhere in the job family structure. (Example: a working title of Executive Assistant may not be assigned to a position with a position title of Administrative Support Specialist II.)
  • Misrepresent the university or the level of the position. The use of inflated titles can misrepresent the responsibility and authority levels of positions to others both inside and outside the university.

Examples of effective working titles:

  • Instructional Laboratory Coordinator
  • Graduate Student Support Coordinator
  • Recycling, Surplus and Solid Waste Technician 

This list is not intended to be exhaustive or restrictive

  • Analyst (e.g. Business Analyst, IT Security Analyst)
    performs work that primarily requires analysis
  • Assistant (e.g. Administrative Assistant)
    assists; helps others to accomplish their assigned goals
  • Associate (e.g. Associate Director)
    second in command (higher rank than an assistant director if both are within the same unit)
  • Coordinator (e.g. Background Check Coordinator, Transfer Coordinator)
    organizes and facilitates activities – generally without direct authority over others
  • Director (e.g. Communications Director, Project Director)
    senior staff responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating activities and staff of a major unit or specific activity that spans units
  • Junior (e.g. Junior Associate General Counsel)
    entry-level in a series of related positions
  • Liaison (e.g. Career Advising Liaison)
    facilitates or arranges interactions between two parties or organizations
  • Lead (e.g. Lead Electrician, Sales Lead)
    work leader for a small group; typically performs work that is substantially similar to their peers; provides informal leadership or guidance to peers in the completion of work; does not hire, evaluate or supervise employees
  • Manager (e.g. Equipment Manager)
    manages the execution of an assigned function or a work unit; may or may not supervise staff that assist with execution
  • Senior (e.g. Senior Engineer, Senior Development Officer)
    higher level of experience, expertise and/or responsibility within a series of related positions
  • Specialist (e.g. Classroom Media Specialist)
    provides specialized support within a unit or function, often a subject matter expert.
  • Supervisor (e.g. Operations Supervisor)
    directs and inspects the day-to-day work of subordinates
  • Technician (e.g. Fiscal Technician, Research Technician)
    completes technical tasks

The position overview provides a summary of the role, level and scope of responsibility of a position. It is not an all-inclusive list of everything a position does, but a snapshot of the most important functions and responsibilities.

For positions that fall within an established job family, Human Resources maintains standardized position overviews. For positions that are not part of an established job family, the position overview is developed by the hiring unit.

A position overview should include:

  • A brief paragraph (two to four sentences) that describes the basic purpose of the job.
  • A list of potential duties. Begin with “Duties may include:” and add a bulleted list of approximately five to eight duties written in general terms (such as “Process a variety of financial documents”)

Postings used for recruiting applicants are created from the same Action in PeopleAdmin that creates the job description content. As the university moves towards job families with standardized overviews, the unit may elect to include a context statement in this section of the Action that will be the first paragraph of position overview in the published posting.

  • Limited to 750 characters
  • May include who the position reports to, the role of the position in the office, and the primary focus. Research positions should include information about the research focus of the position or laboratory group.
  • Cannot include qualifications applicants must possess or advertising statements such as “we are seeking…”. Promotional or advertising language is most appropriately added directly to advertisements and ad lead-in statements to social media posts.

Note: This section is under development in PeopleAdmin. Until it is available, the context statement can be added to the "Unit URL" section within staff actions.

Supervisors use this section to describe the duties assigned to the position. This section will appear in the employee view of the printed job description, but will no longer appear on job postings.

All assigned duties may be listed in one job function section in PeopleAdmin, or supervisors can choose to create subsections of assigned duties by selecting “add function.” If assigned duties are divided into multiple sections, estimate percentage of effort for each subsection. All duties must total 100%.

Assigned duties should be stated as work that must be accomplished, rather than performance expectations such as being courteous or working safely. The assigned duties section should not include physical requirements or applicant qualifications, which should be placed in the Qualifications section of the job description.

Action words to describe tasks and responsibilities

Required experience is the minimum amount of experience required to be able to learn and perform duties of the position. Human Resources recommends no more than three to five succinct required qualifications for most positions.

All required qualifications must be non-subjective, easily understood by all applicants, and able to be assessed as yes/no or pass/fail through review of written application materials alone. This is a federal requirement we must comply with.

Format required experience in a bulleted list.

  • Start each bullet with what is required (do not start with “experience with….” That is already the label for the section.) Example list of required experience:
    • Three years performing administrative or office support functions
    • Composing, proofing and editing a variety of business documents, using proper grammar and punctuation as demonstrated in application materials
    • Using computer software and applications for word processing, spreadsheets, email and internet research
  • Describe the transferable experience an applicant would need to advance into this position in the broadest terms possible. Narrowly written requirements will artificially limit the applicant pool.
  • Avoid using brand names whenever possible. For example, use “spreadsheet software” instead of “Excel.”
  • Experience can be listed with or without a minimum timeframe. If a minimum duration is required, list it as a specific amount of time, not a range.
  • Keep in mind that the current incumbent likely has more skills and experience than is necessary for a new hire.
  • Skills that can be learned within six months of hire should not be included as required experience.
  • Avoid duplicative requirements. For example, if it is a requirement to have three years of experience providing administrative support, it would be duplicative to require experience answering phones and creating business documents.
  • Soft skills such as “good communication” cannot be listed as required qualifications because they cannot be assessed through review of the application materials alone (this is a federal requirement we must comply with). Soft skills must be evaluated during the interview process. However, qualifications such as “Experience presenting information to small and large groups” and “Experience explaining rules, regulations or policies” are allowable because an applicant can describe how they meet the qualification in their application.

Sample experience statements

Required education is the minimum level of education an applicant must have for entry into a position. Any education required beyond a High School Diploma or equivalent must be for specialized knowledge in a specific discipline that is necessary for entry into the position. In instances where a college degree is desirable for the intrinsic values (critical thinking, broad education, etc.) it may be listed as a preferred qualification.

Positions in Job Families will have pre-established levels of required education. For all other positions, the supervisor follows the guidelines below.

Classified positions: with limited exceptions (approved by Human Resources), the highest allowable required education is a High School Diploma or equivalent–and not all positions require a High School Diploma. If a supervisor prefers a higher level of education, it will generally need to be placed under preferred qualifications.

Exempt positions: A college degree may be listed as a required qualification. If included, it must list the disciplines that provide the specialized knowledge needed for entry into the position. Education requirements should be considered carefully. If work experience is the more common way expertise is gained, then a degree is most likely a preferred qualification and not a required qualification. In limited instances, Human Resources may approve a degree requirement for exempt positions without listing disciplines. For assistance, contact

Education and Work Equivalencies

For Classified Positions

For higher-level classified positions, it is possible that well suited applicants have either several years of experience, or a combination of relevant education and experience suitable for entry into the position.

With Human Resources approval, a completed associate’s degree can substitute for 2 years of required experience, and a completed bachelor’s degree can substitute for 4 years of required experience. Specific disciplines must be identified and included in the equivalency statement. The equivalency is added into the required experience field after the base-level of experience required of all applicants in this format: “Five years of accounting experience; an associate’s degree in accounting may substitute for two years of required experience, or a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or business may substitute for four years of required experience.”

Please note that whether an equivalency will be considered must be determined prior to posting. Once the job is posted for recruitment, the search committee cannot consider equivalencies unless they were included in the job description.

For Exempt Positions

If an exempt position requires a degree, this indicates that specialized knowledge acquired from formal college-level study is required for entry into the position. In rare cases, extended work in a specialized field can replace formal study.

With Human Resources approval, an additional four years of work beyond what is otherwise required can replace a bachelor’s degree. The equivalency is added to the required education field in this format: “Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or business; four additional years of experience may be substituted for a bachelor’s degree.” This indicates that the applicant must have the experience listed in the required experience section plus four additional years.

Please note that whether an equivalency will be considered must be determined prior to posting. Once the job is posted for recruitment, the search committee cannot consider equivalencies unless they were included in the job description.

More about education requirements

Include additional items an employee must have to complete essential duties, such as:

  • Licensures
  • Certifications
  • Valid driver’s license and ability to meet requirements for driving university vehicles
  • Ability to travel
  • Ability to work non-standard business hours and/or on-call rotations
  • Minimum age requirements

Licensures and Certifications: If no date is listed, applicants must already possess the required licensure/certification to be considered for the position. If there will be a grace period for a new hire to acquire licensure/certification, indicate “or obtain within X months of hire.” The timeframe is often, but not always, six months to coincide with the probationary period for classified staff. Consider how long it will take the employee to obtain the licensure. For example, does it require attending training that is only available once per year? 

Driver’s License: We can only require applicants to have a valid driver’s license if driving a university vehicle or equipment as an essential function of the position and is at least 5% (100 hours per year) of their overall effort. When required, add “Must possess a valid driver’s license and be able to meet policy requirements for driving university vehicles.”

Travel: Indicate when an employee will travel between locations to complete essential duties, but not drive a university vehicle (note: you cannot require that an employee have a personal vehicle, only that they can get from point A to point B; how they get there is up to them). Non-essential travel, such as attending professional development conferences, is not included it in this section.

Be general, but give some indication about the scope of travel. Will it be local day travel or overnight travel? Will it be occasional, regular or frequent? Examples:

  • Requires travel between locations during the business day for meetings and to support of program activities.
  • Requires frequent overnight travel to Boise.
  • Requires occasional travel to regional program meetings.
  • Requires regular multi-day travel to high schools throughout Washington and Oregon.

Schedule: The general assumption is that work occurs Monday through Friday during regular business hours. Include any unusual schedule circumstances, such as:

  • This position may be required to work an alternate schedule or shift as requested by supervisor.
  • This position may be required to work scheduled overtime and be available for emergency overtime before and after standard scheduled hours of work.
  • This is an essential position that may be called upon in the event of an emergency and/or university closure.

This section should also include any other employee requirements such as any minimum age requirements, mandatory participation in drug testing or medical surveillance.

Additional preferred qualifications can be used to further determine an applicant’s ability to be productive and successful in the job. Preferred qualifications can focus on any or all of the following: additional education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.

Preferred qualifications must be related to the duties of the position and should be written broadly so the search committee can consider related experience. They can include subjective phrases such as “good” and “strong,” but the search committee needs to have a shared understanding of how to measure the applicant’s experience consistently and fairly.

Although there is no limit on the number of preferred qualifications, Human Resources recommends approximately five and no more than ten. Too many preferred qualifications may deter applicants and it make it difficult for search committees to identify the most qualified applicants.

Preferred qualifications should:

  • Be clearly written in a way that allows search committees to assess to what level applicants meet or exceed the qualification.
  • Describe levels of experience or proficiency whenever possible.
  • Be written in terms of transferable skills instead of specific tasks that the position will perform. This broadens the applicant pool and allows for career advancement for applicants.
  • Be grouped together with headers. For example:
    • Preferred Education
      • Bachelor’s degree
    • Preferred Experience
      • Conducting training and/or making public presentations
    • Preferred Knowledge
      • U of I policies/procedures and grants/contracts administration
      • Banner Finance Module
      • Advanced Excel functions

Defining Levels of Knowledge

Working knowledge: sufficient familiarity with the subject to know basic principles and terminology and to understand and solve simple problems.

General knowledge: sufficient knowledge of a field to perform most work in normal situations. The work calls for comprehension of standard situations and includes knowledge of most of the significant aspects of the subject.

Thorough knowledge: advanced knowledge of the subject matter. The work calls for sufficient comprehension of the subject area to solve unusual as well as common work problems, to be able to advise on technical matters and to serve as a resource on the subject for others in the organization.

Comprehensive knowledge: requires complete mastery and understanding of the subject. This term should be used sparingly and only for unusually exacting or responsible positions required to originate hypotheses, concepts or approaches.

Defining Levels of Proficiency

Basic: Uses basic understanding of the field to perform job duties; may need some guidance on job duties; applies learning to recommend options to address unusual situations.

Working: Successfully completes diverse tasks of the job; applies and enhances knowledge and skill in both usual and unusual issues; needs minimal guidance in addressing unusual situations.

Extensive: Performs without assistance; recognized as a resource to others; able to translate complex nuances to others; able to improve processes; focus on broad issues.

Expert/Leader: Seen as an expert and/or leader; guides, troubleshoots; has strategic focus; applies knowledge and skill across or in leading multiple projects/orgs; demonstrates knowledge of trends in field; leads in developing new processes.

Sample experience statements

Sample additional preferred knowledge, skills and abilities

This section will be blank for many positions. If needed, it allows departments to describe physical requirements for completing essential job duties. To be ADA-compliant, statements must be written in terms of the required outcome, not the way a duty is performed.

Physical Requirements

Ability to lift and/or otherwise move heavy objects is a common requirement. It is not necessary to indicate what items the employee will have to move, but should include the maximum weight and frequency (repeatedly, routinely, occasionally).

Only list a physical requirement if it is required to complete an essential function of the position and takes at least 5% effort (100 hours) over the course of the year. As an example, it may be convenient for an administrative assistant to lift and move copy paper boxes from one office to another, but is that truly why the position exists? Will it take 100 hours per year to complete the task? Can someone else move the boxes if the employee is unable? This is likely not an essential function. Conversely, a farm assistant who will be moving irrigation equipment around the farm will potentially do so for several hours per day and the duty is essential to the position.

Sample physical requirement statements

Working Conditions

Working conditions are informational statements. They describe the environment in which an employee will operate while completing essential duties. For example:

  • Will the employee be working outdoors in extreme weather for extended periods of time?
  • Will they be routinely exposed to safe but potentially unpleasant odors?
  • Will the work be performed somewhere other than a university facility (for example, remote field work)?

Sample working conditions

Within the PeopleAdmin action, upload a PDF with an up-to-date unit organizational chart that includes working titles and PCN numbers. Do not include incumbent names for filled positions, as this is unnecessary and will require frequent updates. Be sure the upload is readable: some chart templates become difficult to read and print once saved as a PDF.

The organizational chart provides context for the position, illustrating both the formal reporting structure and the overall composition of the unit.

Ensure the chart includes the following information:

  • The position (even if the position is new, include it so that the chart reflects the future organizational structure)
  • The position’s supervisor
  • Other positions that report to the same supervisor
  • Positions that report to this position
  • Others who work in the unit
  • Other vacant positions that are expected to be filled soon
  • Does not include positions that will no longer be filled.

Human Resources

Physical Address:
415 West 6th Street
Moscow, ID 83844

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 4332
Moscow, ID 83844-4332

Summer Hours:
Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Academic Year Hours:
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phone: 208-885-3638

Fax: 208-885-3602