Guidelines on How to Write a Job Description

Job Descriptions are required for positions lasting 5 months or longer and positions filled through open recruitment. It is a valuable management tool that will be used for the recruitment and selection process, classification, internal equity analysis, orientation & training, performance management, and career development. The following table helps to explain some of the major items of the Job Description:

Working Title Useful in attracting applications with the appropriate qualifications. Required for posting.
Position Overview • Summarizes the Position
• Provides department information
• Establishes context of position
• Describes essential functions
• Used for creating recruitment announcement
Special Conditions of Employment Only list the following requirements under this item:
• Unique Aspects of position
• Licensure or certification requirements
• Work location
• Pre-employment physical, drug testing
• Background check, conflict of interest disclosure
• Environmental disclosure
Supervision Received • Close Supervision – Non-exempt
• Supervision – Non-exempt
• General Direction – Non-exempt
• Direction – Exempt
• General Direction – Exempt
Supervision Exercised Requirements to be designated as a Supervisor:
• Supervise at least 2 career employees
• Duties supervised must be substantially different from those of supervisor
• Authority to hire, assign & direct work, evaluate, reward, and discipline
• Includes specific language on job description
Functions • Major areas of the job that are distinctly different from one another
• Most positions have 4 - 6 functions
• Use a word or phrase
• Descending order of importance
• Essential vs. Non-Essential
• Percentage of time

- Research Subject Recruitment
- Data Collection and Analysis
- Contract and Grants Administration
Task Statements Constructing Good Task Statements
• Task = step or piece of a function
• Create a clear, complete picture of
• What is being done
• How it is being done
• Why it is being done
• Use common, easily-understood terms
• Avoid abbreviations, technical jargon, acronyms
• Indicate frequency

Task Statement Formula
• Performs what action? (verb)
• To whom or what? (object of verb)
• To produce what or why is it necessary? (expected output)
• Using what tools, equipment, work aids, processes, etc

- Determine patient eligibility for study by requesting, receiving, and recording medical data according to protocol; conducting patient assessment by interviewing and screening patients; and contacting referring physicians and abstracting medical reports.
- Compile and analyze statistical data (new patients, relapses, deaths, admissions, number of transfusions, number of days on antibiotic therapy, etc.) and provide reports as requested by principal investigators.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA’s) Should reflect the following classification factors:
• Knowledge – body of learned information
• Skill – present, observable competence to perform a psych-motor act
• Ability – present, observable behavior

Rank KSA’s
• Required
- Must be possessed prior to employment
- Used to identifying referral pool
- Preferential rehire
• Preferred
- Viewed as more qualified
- Used as screening framework
• Acquired
- To be gained once on the job
- Typically unique to UCSD

- Theoretical knowledge in Psychology, Biology or a related field.
- Strong demonstrated subject recruitment skills.
- Knowledge to forecast income and expenditures, develop an annual department budget, monitor and reconcile monthly ledger activity, and recommend actions to resolve discrepancies.
Physical and Mental Requirements Identify the physical and mental abilities traditionally required to perform the functions and tasks assigned to this job according to the instructions

University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: