Position Description

Have a Vacancy? Where to start?

All Vacancies start with an effective Position Description.

What is a Position Description?

  • First line of legal defense as an employer; communicates expectations to employeesPosition Description Cycle
  • Defines the duties and responsibilities of the position, the required education and training, knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA's) and the experience needed to do the position
  • Drives the information for the posting; establishes objective criterion for Matrix/Rubric; provides hiring justification for Hiring Proposal

Equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education don’t just happen on their own. Placing an ad and passively waiting for people to apply is not sufficient for attracting a broad, inclusive pool of candidates. Search Committee members need to make concerted efforts to seek out candidates who might otherwise get overlooked. Every new search involves a choice about whether to stick with the status quo, or to take intentional steps to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion. This process takes planning and commitment (source: Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, HERC). 

Inclusive and Accurate Position Description

Once you have formed a committee, the first task is to write the position announcement and decide where to advertise. Consider the language of your position description as the first opportunity to diversify the search. Instead of recycling a prior description, write the new position with intention, all the while keeping some important considerations at the forefront of the committee’s work.

Writing the Position Description

• What competencies are we including, and why are they important to this search? (E.g., interdisciplinary, extensive publishing, broad or specific teaching experience, etc.)
• Have we made the position description both clear and broad enough to attract the greatest number of candidates?
• Could the description’s language be off-putting to some job seekers (e.g., “aggressive,” “digital native”)?
• Do we explicitly promote inclusivity beyond our standard EEO/AA statements?
• Do we highlight our HERC membership as part of our commitment to diversity and dual career support?
• Do we request evidence of working with diverse communities in service, teaching, or research?

Additional Resources

Need help writing an effective Position Description? Click HERE!