Job Descriptions are used not only for recruiting and hiring, but goal setting and performance evaluation, pay grade and salary range, and for career path development. It is also used to determine if the position is exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

If you have questions at any point during the recruitment process, please contact your Talent & HR Partner.

Job / Business Title

The business title for a job should be based upon the main function or role of the job. It is important to stay away from both vague and very specific job titles.  Instead, create a business title that appropriately describes both the level of responsibility and role of the job.

Here are some examples of good business titles and those that need some improvement:

Good Business TitlesBusiness Titles Needing Improvement
Director, AdvancementDirector of the XYZ Program at the School of AB
Administrative Assistance VAssistant to the Director of ABC Department
Service Desk Support AnalystSupport Analyst
Systems Administrator IIAdministrator II

Job Summary

Job Summaries should include:

  • Brief description of the general nature of the position
  • Overview of why the job exists
  • What the job is to accomplish

Job Duties / Responsibilities

The job duties and responsibilities section summarizes the overall purpose, expectations and objectives of the job. Typically the most important duties and responsibilities are listed first. Include information on the position’s supervisory responsibilities, if any. This section is not intended to include every detail of the work performed, but rather to provide an understanding of the position and expectations.

Tips for Creating Job Duties / Responsibilities:

  • Identify between three and eight primary duties and responsibilities for the position
  • List the primary duties and responsibilities in order of importance, or in order of the percent of time typically spent on the specific duty
  • Begin each statement with an action verb
  • Use the present tense of verbs
  • User gender neutral language
  • Use generic language such as photocopy instead of Xerox
  • Where appropriate, use qualifiers to clarify the task - include the where, when, why, or how often
    • Example: Instead of "Greet visitors to the office." Use "Greet visitors to the office in a professional and friendly manner."
  • Avoid words that open to interpretation
    • Example: Instead of "Handle incoming mail." Use "Sort and distribute incoming mail."
Use action, subject, then activities when writing job descriptions.


Basic qualifications or requirements are the minimum qualifications an applicant must have in order to be considered for the position such as education, experience, specialized knowledge, skills, abilities, professional certification.

These qualifications must be: 

  • Non-comparative Requirement rather than a non-comparative requirement
    • Use "Three years' experience in particular position" instead of "Must have the most years' experience among candidates"
  • Objective
    • Use "Bachelor's degree in accounting" instead of "Technical degree from a good school"
  • Relevant to the performance of the particular position
  • Demonstrable by evidence or statements in the candidate's "expression of interest" (resume or cover letter)

Preferred or Additional Qualifications

Additional qualifications included in this section are qualifications that are required, but do not meet the basic qualifications criteria (non-comparative, objective, relevant, and demonstrable) and qualifications that are preferred (if absent will not disqualify a candidate, but which are strongly desirable). Note the additional qualification designation does not limit your ability to use that qualification as a basis for selection among applicants for the position.

Establishing basic qualifications helps determine which applicants to include and which to exclude for purposes of WPI’s Affirmative Action record keeping responsibilities.

Working Conditions

If the job requires a person to work in special working conditions this should be stated in the job description. Special working conditions cover a range of circumstances from regular evening and weekend work, shift work, working outdoors, working with challenging clients, and so forth.

Physical Requirements

If the job is physically demanding, this should be stated in the job description. A physically demanding job is one where the incumbent is required to stand for extended periods of time, lift heavy objects on a regular basis, do repetitive tasks with few breaks, and so forth.

Direct Reports

List by job title any positions to be supervised by the incumbent.

FLSA Status

This must be included on each job posting: Exempt or NonExempt

Equal opportunity Employer / Affirmative Action Statement

This is included on each job posting:

WPI is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or disability. We are seeking individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences who will contribute to a culture of creativity and collaboration, inclusion, problem solving and change making.

About WPI Statement and Diversity & Inclusion Statement

These statements are included as a sidebar on each job posting:

About WPI

WPI is a vibrant, active, and diverse community of extraordinary students, world-renowned faculty, and state of the art research facilities. At WPI, we have competitve and comprehensive benefits, including health insurance, long-term care, retirement, tuition assistance, flexible spending accounts, work-life balance and much more.

Diversity & Inclusion at WPI

WPI is committed to creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued and respected; a place where every student, faculty and staff member can be themselves, so that they can study, live, and work comfortably, to reach their full potential, and make meaningful contributions in order to meet departmental and institutional goals. WPI thrives on innovative practice and welcomes diverse perspective, insight, and people from diverse lived experiences, to enhance the community environment and propel the institution to the next level in a competitive, global marketplace.