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Preparing a professional position description

Overview

A professional position description (PD) is a written statement which provides comprehensive details about a professional position within the University. It provides information relating to a position's:

  • Purpose;
  • Major responsibilities;
  • Supervisory responsibilities and independence in decision making;
  • Reporting relationships;
  • Work requirements (ie knowledge, experience and skills required);
  • Specialist software and equipment requirements; and
  • Selection criteria.

PDs are used for :

  • Clearly articulating position and performance requirements;
  • Providing applicants with the position's requirements during recruitment; and
  • Determining the appropriate classification level for the position.

A new PD is required when a new professional position of more than six months is created.

Professional PD's should be reviewed and updated annually as part of Performance Management, Development and Review (PMDR) discussions. HR Services records all professional staff PD's. Any updated versions are to be forwarded to HR Services.

Who prepares the PD?

Normally, the position's supervisor prepares the draft PD in consultation with HR Services. All draft PDs are discussed with the relevant HR Consultant and amended, if necessary, prior to being submitted for consideration.

If an employee's supervisor does not support the review of an existing position's classification, the employee may document their perception of the changes to the position and approach the relevant HR Consultant for assistance. If the review is approved, the HR Consultant will prepare the PD after consultation with both the supervisor and the employee.

Is there a standard format for PDs?

All draft professional PDs are prepared using the Professional PD Template.

To guide you when completing the PD template, brief outlines and examples of the requirements for each section of the PD are provided on the template. It is particularly important to accurately document the major functions of the position, in order of importance or time spent on the function, as these details will inform the details provided in the other sections of the PD.

Any duty less than 5% of the overall role should not be included.

Other points to consider

  • Ensure the content and language used accurately reflects the level of responsibility expected of the position. Provide a brief example to demonstrate the responsibility.
  • Create a title that reflects the major function of the position and does not contain any reference to the position's expected/existing classification level. Amend the title of an existing position, if necessary, to reflect the new responsibilities.
  • Avoid being too restrictive when specifying specific skills and qualifications. Remember it is the requirements of the position rather than the skills and qualifications of previous or current occupants that is required. In most cases, it is preferable to open the position to a wide pool of applicants
  • Structure the wording of the PD so that it does not assume prior knowledge of the job.

Further information

In addition to the above resources, advice and assistance can also be obtained from your HR Consultant.