A "How to" Guide for Creating a Local Job Description Using KARs and Competencies
An Optional Tool for Non-organized Professional and Scientific Positions
NEW! This guide is intended to provide step by step instructions for individual staff members, supervisors and Human Resource representatives in developing a local job description using the Key Areas of Responsibility from the new University job classifications, along with the information about competencies now available through Self Service.
This tool is only an interim solution and its use is entirely OPTIONAL, to be used only as needed. University Human Resources does not recommend that units re-frame all local job descriptions using this tool, as we are working toward a more automated solution.
What is a Local Job Description?
It is a clear, concise depiction of the specific duties and responsibilities of a particular role within a unit, department, division or organization. It outlines the specific type of work that needs to be accomplished and the knowledge, skills and abilities (competencies) required to be successful in the role.Typically, local job descriptions are used for a variety of reasons including:
- Communicating the specific duties and responsibilities of the role/position
- Setting performance expectations
- Evaluating job performance
- Determining the appropriate University classification and pay level
- Determining skills gaps and opportunities for skill development to support career development
- Documenting compliance and regulatory requirements
What is the difference between the University Job Classification and the Local Job Description?
University Job Classification = Administrator Services Coordinator
Local Job Description = Biology Departmental Administrator
The University Job Classification is typically used for more than one individual and is defined by its key areas of responsibility. Individuals may have the same University Job Classification (defined by the key areas of responsibility) and have different duties and responsibilities that are specific to their role within a unit, department, division or organization.
University Human Resources has created a Microsoft Word version of a Local Job Description (LJD) template that is available as an OPTIONAL tool to create a LJD, until a more automated solution becomes available. Using the optional tool, a LJD will include these components:
- Position (or Working) Title
- Organization/Department/Unit Name
- University Classification
- University Job Code
- University Pay Level
- Job Function
- Job Family
- Working Title (if applicable)
- Position Number
Key Components of the Job
- Job Summary/Purpose Statement
- Reporting Structure: Indicate the position number, classification, and name of the individual that this position reports to.
- Does this position have Administrative Supervision responsibilities? Yes or No?
- Classification Key Areas of Responsibilities
- Primary Job Duties and Tasks
- Universal Competencies
- Technical Competencies
- Position Qualifications (only if/when hiring for the position)
Steps for Creating a Local Job Description Using the Optional Interim Template (docx)
- Complete the demographic information (University Classification, UI Job Code, UI Pay level, etc.) by using the job classification view tool available through Self Service and the e-Personnel file.
- Create the Job Summary. The position specific job summary describes the primary reason for and functions of the job in one or two sentences.
- Identify KAR's for the classification and the job duties for the specific role/position. Using the Job Classification View tool copy and paste the Classification Key Areas of Responsibilities (KAR's) information into the job description template. Most of the specific job duties for the specific role/position should align with the classification responsibilities (KAR's).
- Some Classification Key Areas of Responsibility may not be applicable. There is no need to include a KAR on the local job description if it is not applicable.
- Add up to two additional Key Areas of Responsibility, if needed. These may be identified in closely related job classifications.
- Tips for describing job duties include:
- Use an action verb with an explanatory phrase that addresses the why, how, where and how often the task is performed.
- Exclude responsibilities that do not account for at least 5% of the work unless the responsibility is critically important.
- Arrange responsibilities in a logical order, such as the sequence in which they are performed, their relative importance, or the percentage of time of each responsibility takes.
- Typically a local job description includes 5-10 key responsibilities.
- Copy and paste the three Universal Competencies from the Job Classification View tool and the typical behaviors associated with the proficiency level assigned for the University classification. The three Universal Competencies are required for all jobs.
- The proficiency level assigned for the Universal Competencies is the minimum expectation for the classification. If a higher or lower proficiency level is required for the specific role/position, the job duties must clearly indicate the need for a higher or lower proficiency level and typically should not be more than one level higher or lower.
- Some of the typical behaviors may not apply; include only those that are applicable or best describe the expectation.
- Identify the relevant job family technical competencies.
- From the 3-5 Job Family Technical Competencies assigned to the classification in the Job Classification View Tool, pick at least one of the job family technical competencies. Initially, focus on the competencies that are essential to accomplishing the key areas of responsibilities and specific job duties in support of the agreed upon goals. In other words, what knowledge and ability is foundational for the employee to be in this job classification. You may also want to consider competencies that support the development of the essential competencies as in the example below. Overall, focus on the 2-5 competencies that build the foundation for the position.
- Example: For an accounting job, having knowledge of the generally-accepting accounting principles (GAAP) and the ability to apply them appropriately would be an essential technical competency. Accuracy and attention to detail would be a supportive competency that enhances accounting proficiency.
- Copy and paste the competency name, competency description, and the relevant typical behaviors that are the best fit.
- Select additional competencies from the Optional Technical Competencies. Choose the competency or competencies that are needed to accomplish the responsibilities of the job. Copy and paste the competency name, competency description, and the relevant typical behaviors that are the best fit.
- Best Practice: Keep the technical competencies to a manageable number (2-10). At least one should be a job family technical competency. Copy and paste the competency name, competency description, and the relevant typical behaviors that are the best fit.
- The proficiency level assigned for the technical competencies is the minimum expectation for the classification. If a higher or lower proficiency level is required for the specific role/position, the job duties must clearly indicate the need for a higher or lower proficiency level and typically should not be more than one level higher or lower.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if we need to include a competency that is not found in the Job Classification View Tool as a job family or optional technical competency?
Supervisors may use any competency (accessible through the job classification view tool) they deem appropriate to help develop and manage performance for the employee. If you need assistance in identifying a specific competency you may seek assistance from your Unit HR Rep. Unit HR Reps may contact Karen Shemanski for assistance.
Can wording changes be made to the competencies? If so, by whom?
To preserve the ability to use other tools available through the Kenexa library of competencies, supervisors may change only the nouns in the competency description or typical behaviors to make the competency more applicable to a specific work setting, but should not change the verbs for use in the local job documentation (performance expectations, performance reviews, career development, etc.)
Operational Function Competency, Typical Behavior for Proficiency Level 2 reads: Carries out assigned responsibilities that contribute to the department's function with the organization.
May be revised to read:
Carries out assigned responsibilities that contribute to the Biology department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
What if none of the typical behaviors for the competency apply or fit, can I modify the behaviors?
Minor modifications to the wording of the typical behaviors may be made as addressed in the previous question. However, you also may want to consider the following:
- Have you selected the right competency? There may be another competency and typical behaviors that are a better fit.
- Is the proficiency level assigned accurate? Keep in mind you have some flexibility in assigning proficiency levels for the specific job duties. Proficiency levels assigned in the Job Classification View Tool are the minimum expectation for the classification. If a higher or lower proficiency level is required for the specific role/position, the job duties must clearly indicate the need for a higher or lower proficiency level and typically should not be more than one level higher or lower.
Page Last Updated May 2012