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Advanced - Designing Strong Positions


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Creating quality positions for our employees to fill is an art. It requires a deep understanding of the work that's being done in our offices and the relationships between different roles. Below are some best practices for creating strong positions.

1. If the position is new, review the appropriate level of responsibility and choose a title that matches. Support positions should be in hourly non-exempt titles. Positions with significant professional and supervisory duties should be exempt, and should align with a title that requires a degree or equivalent, advanced on-the-job knowledge and experience.

It might be tempting to inflate the title to avoid overtime. Don't; types of jobs that do or do not qualify for overtime are set by federal law. There are many ways to manage candidates who qualify for overtime. Talk to your local HR staff to learn more about your options.

HR is always willing to assist with choosing a title that works for your position.

2. If you are updating or reclassifying the position, you can research information specific to your campus. If you work in Norman, you can review the broadband titles available. If you work at HSC or Tulsa, contact your HR representative.

3. Document specific duties. Using reference documents like our broadband descriptions are a great way to get started, but they're only a starting point. Dig into the role and find out what projects, tasks, and responsibilities this position will handle. Include any special accreditation projects; monthly, quarterly, or annual reports; deadline accountability; budget responsibilities; and leadership teams or operations teams. For more information, review our instructions on defining job duties.

4. Clarify supervision. Supervision generally includes work delegation, performance management, hiring and firing. Project or team leads may help organize workflow and assist with managing schedules, but do not have authority to hire or fire. Also be sure to make the distinction between supervising short-term students and long-term staff, as these are two different roles.

Clarify how much supervision the role itself will be under. This could be direct or light supervision; the role could also be independent, consultative, or goal-based.

5. Complexity. For duties or skills, be sure to indicate whether they reflect a basic or complex task. Use words like "basic", "proficient", "advanced", "knowledge of", or "demonstrated ability" to indicate the level of skill required.
  • Basic data analysis required.
  • Advanced composition skills required for composing audits, reports or advisories.
  • Proficiency in purchasing software preferred.

6. Education. When providing multiple education options, remember that OU uses education-experience equivalencies. This means that a certain amount of experience can be used in lieu of educational attainment, and vice versa.
  • This role requires a Bachelor's and 24 months experience
          A Master's Degree
  • This role requires a High School Diploma and 60 months experience
          A Bachelor's degree and 12 months experience

7. Impact. Describe how this position impacts and serves the department, public, students or University. If the work of others depends on this role, describe that process. Not only is this useful in creating your position, but it can also be important for selling your position to prospective applicants later on.
8. Required skills. Make sure the required skills are current and match the essential job duties. Everything listed as a required skill must be directly applicable to a key responsibility of the position.

Identify current versions of software that may be required. You can research large job websites to see what the most current tools are. Bear in mind that specific software can be learned on the job, and experience with one kind of software can often be transferred to other, similar programs. A candidate may not have experience with an OU-specific program, but they may have worked on an almost identical program in the past.
  • Proficient in Concur travel software.

  • Knowledge of travel management software
  • Able to learn new programs and software quickly.

As always, HR is available to assist creating positions or researching for similar positions and archives to inform your description.
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