Position Descriptions

The position description is used to classify the position, determine the responsibilities (essential and other functions) of the position, as well as the minimum and preferred qualifications in terms of specific search criteria, and identify any special or unusual working conditions and/or physical requirements.

Minimum qualifications are the minimum amounts of education or experience and the minimum level of knowledge, skills, abilities, licensures, certifications and other job-related requirements that must be met for a candidate to be considered for a position. The UMass President’s Office cannot hire a candidate who does not meet all of the minimum qualifications. No exceptions.

Listing reasonable levels of minimum qualifications, in part to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and to allow us create a reasonably large and diverse pool of applicants, meets many business and compliance-related needs of the UMass Presidents Office.  It should not affect negatively the classification level of a position.

We must be careful about creating minimum qualifications that are not directly related to the essential functions of the job. The risk of minimum qualifications that are too high potentially creates a disparate impact on underrepresented and protected groups.

Preferred or desirable qualifications are a great tool to use in searching for the right candidate. A candidate does not have to meet all the preferred qualifications to be considered or hired.  They may meet some or most, but there is no requirement to meet all of them.  Preferred qualifications should never be used to screen candidates out. They should be used to screen candidates in and to help narrow down the selection process.

Describe all work the position involves. Detail is critical, but you should keep sentences clear and concise. Position descriptions should be understood by anyone who reads them and therefore acronyms should not be used.  Remember, you want to define the position and not write the description to “fit” a specific individual; use specific details of the responsibilities that will be required to successfully meet the department needs.

Download "Writing ADA Compliant Job Descriptions"


To begin the recruitment process for a vacant position, the hiring department must initiate a Position Description via PageUp to start the first level of required departmental approvals.  From the Manager Position Descriptions and Create a New Requisitions menu item, you will see all of the position descriptions that you have access to.  From here, you will have the ability to create a new position description, view an existing position description, edit an existing position description, or recruit for a position from an approved position description. 

Job Aid: “How to Create a Position Description in PageUp”

The number of approvers varies by Department. The user that initiates the position description, or requisition, will need to select the approval process that is appropriate for the intended department.  Depending upon the department’s approval structure, the approvals may include the department manager/director, budget, and VP, before the action is released to the Office of Human Resources for the first review for assessment of appropriate job classification and job description content or for posting.

Job Aid: “Approval Process for Position Descriptions”

Once the action is released from the Office of Human Resources, the position will be reviewed for content and then posted by the Office of Human Resources on PageUp for active recruitment.