The APO Position Description

A Position Description provides information on the added value of a position to the University of Alberta. A well-written Position Description is an excellent tool of communication between supervisors and employees, and provides a means for a fair and equitable job evaluation.

Position Descriptions create a logical relationship between the University’s mission, goals and objectives, and the Departments’ business plans and the position. The focus should be on the core contribution of the work, resulting in a shorter and more focused Position Description. It is not the length of the Position Description, but the quality of its information that determines its usefulness for job evaluation purposes.

Elements of a Position Description


Provides insight as to what the position is responsible for and within what context (why does this position exist?). This element tries to give a brief summary of the position, covering the main responsibilities, the framework within which the position has to operate and the main contribution to the organization.

Responsibilities and Activities

This is the most important part of the position description from a job evaluation perspective. The purpose of the position can be broken down into different responsibilities/end results. Normally a position has 4-8 core end results, each of which shows what the position is accountable for, within what framework, and what the added value is. For each end result approximately three major activities or examples should be described.


While purpose and end results provide information on position content, scope addresses the need for some specific data illustrating what area(s) the position impacts and defining the complexity and diversity of the position.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

After focusing on the output of the position (responsibilities/end results), the final element of a position description requires a focus on the input needed for the position: knowledge about theories or principles, practical procedures, specialized techniques, etc., analytical and conceptual skills and abilities, and skills needed for direct interaction with others. Organization Chart: A current organizational chart including supervisor, peers and staff (as applicable) should be attached.

For more information, please contact: Job and Organizational Design.