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Standardized Position Description FAQ

Standardized Position Description FAQ

The standardized position descriptions (PD) in the USGS library are designed to cover many common USGS work activities. Some position in the library are mandatory for use based on DOI Human Resources policy. All of these job descriptions have been reviewed and pre-classified 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. Standard PDs also help ensure “equal pay for substantially equal work,” as required by lawregulation, and policy.


When should I use a standard PD?

Use a standard PD when it covers the major duties and responsibilities assigned to a position or when required by policy. Sometimes several similar PDs will describe work in the occupation for which you need a description. They may be similarly worded but 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 of a position. You can work with your servicing HR Specialist to choose the PD that best matches your work 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 you are 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 position description should identify all specialized knowledges, skills, and other characteristics which candidates will be required to meet to be considered qualified for the position. Keep in mind that only those knowledges, skills, and other characteristics that must be possessed at time of entry should be used in the recruitment process, and all such knowledges and skills must be documented in the PD of record.


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 proposed changes are minor, such as collateral duties, and have no impact on the title, series, or grade of the position, the standard PD can be amended through use of a Form DI-625, Position Classification Amendment (which can be found on Webforms/SharePoint.) A change to a major duty or factor statement in a PD will require the PD be reviewed and reclassified by the Human Resources Office.

Note that some updated standard PD packages include additional standard documentation for position sensitivity and cyber security coding. If your position requires changes to either of these data elements, but the changes do not change the title, series, or grade of the position you need only submit the Form DI-625 showing the required duty(ies) that necessitate the change and a new Position Designation Questionnaire and/or Cybersecurity Data Standard Code Determination Checklist.

An example of when an amendment may be appropriate for a Standard PD may be an employee on a standard PD who also serves as a collateral duty safety officer. The collateral duty assignment takes much less than 25% of work time, so it does not change the title, series, or grade. You would send a Form DI-625 to the servicing HR Office, they would attached the amendment to the employee’s PD and your work is done.


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.


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