The standardized position descriptions (PD) in the USGS library are designed to cover many common USGS work activities. These job descriptions have been reviewed and preclassified to ensure that they are accurate as to title, series, and grade. Standard PD's are useful tools that enable a supervisor to document quickly many routine and recurring work assignments.
When should I use a standard PD?
Only use a standard PD when it covers the major duties and responsibilities assigned. There may be multiple PDs that describe work in the occupation for which you need a description. Some of these descriptions may be similarly worded but are classified at different grade levels. Work at different levels typically involves varying levels of responsibility, knowledge, complexity, supervision, and impact. Other distinguishing factors (such as the organizational mission, size, and setting) may also impact the title, series and grade. You must carefully choose the PD that matches your environment. Distinctions between grade levels may be subtle, so careful reading of duties and factor levels is required.
When should I use a more specific PD?
If a supervisor is documenting a unique job with specialized job characteristics and knowledge requirements, then use of a standard PD is not advisable. When establishing a job for recruitment, a supervisor should be especially careful to consider if there are any specific knowledge requirements or critical job characteristics beyond those stated in the standard pd. A job description should identify all specialized knowledges, skills, and other characteristics which candidates will be required to meet to be considered qualified for the position.
What changes can I make to a standard PD?
Standard PD's should not be changed. If a standard pd cannot be used as written, it may be used as a model for drafting a new PD, which is customized to fit a specific work situation. If words in a standard PD are changed, the job description is no longer considered a standard PD because changing a word or phrase could potentially impact the title, series, and grade level. A change to a duty or factor statement will require the PD be reviewed and reclassified by the Human Resources Office.
I need help!
Your Human Resources Office is available to help you in the decision-making process and to clarify the intent of standardized PDs.