Create a Local Job Description

This guide provides step by step instructions for individual staff members, supervisors, and human resource representatives to develop local job descriptions using the key areas of responsibility and competencies for University of Iowa job classifications.

This tool is entirely optional, to be used only as needed.

Steps for Creating a Local Job Description

Step 1: Use one of these optional templates:

Step 2: Complete the demographic information (classification, job code, pay level, etc.) using the job classification view tool available through Employee Self Service and the e-Personnel file.

Step 3: Create the job summary. The position-specific job summary describes the primary purpose and functions of the job in one or two sentences.

Step 4: Identify key areas of responsibility (KARs) for the classification and  job duties for the specific role/position. Using the job classification view tool, copy and paste KARS associated with the job classification into the job description template. Most of the specific job duties for the role/position should align with the KARs.

  • Some classification KARs 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 KARs, if needed. These may be identified from closely related job classifications.

Tips for describing job duties include:

  • Use an action verb with an explanatory phrase that addresses why, how, where, and how often the task is performed.
  • Exclude responsibilities that do not account for at least 5 percent 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.

Step 5: Select Universal Competencies or UI Health Care Core Values (WE CARE values) depending on your department. The three Universal Competencies or WE CARE values are required for all jobs.

  • For all non-Health Care positions:  Copy and paste the Universal Competencies from the job classification view tool and the typical behaviors associated with the proficiency level assigned for the university classification. Please note the requirements for three Universal Competencies are:
    • 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.
  • For UI Health Care positions: Use the WE CARE values.

Step 6: Identify the relevant job family technical competencies.

  • From the three to five Job Family Technical Competencies assigned to the classification in the job classification view tool, pick at least one competencies. Initially, focus on competencies that are essential to accomplishing the KARs and specific job duties in support of position goals. In other words, what knowledge and ability is foundational for the employee to succeed in this job classification? You also may want to consider competencies that support development of the essential competencies as in the example below. Overall, focus on the two to five competencies that build the foundation for the position.

Example: For an accounting job, having knowledge of generally accepted 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 necessary 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 (two to 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.
Contact Information

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