Step 3: Understand allocating criteria

State HR - Comp & Class

Contact information

Jefferson Building
1500 Jefferson Street SE, PO Box 47500
Olympia, WA 98501

You need to understand the allocating criteria of the relevant class specifications.  The Director adopts the allocating criteria at a formal public meeting. The following standards, in order of importance, apply in allocating a position:

  1. Class Series Concept - Not all series have one.  If one exists, it is typically found at the entry level of the class series.  This section describes the general duties and responsibilities of the series and how it differs from related series.
  2. Definition of the class - All classes at a minimum have this.  It is the primary criterion for determining the appropriate class if there are no Distinguishing Characteristics.
  3. Distinguishing Characteristics of the class - These are not required.  This section describes the job duties and responsibilities that separate the class from the previous or next higher level in the series.
  4. Allocating factors, instruments or processes for determining allocation provided in supplementary documents developed by the the State Human Resource (SHR) (such as specification development guidelines or Glossary of Terms);
  5. Explanations on meeting agendas and minutes indicating intent of the Director or Personnel Resources Board (PRB);
  6. PRB case precedent (see Personnel Resources Board Appeals).

Other components of a class specification 

Typical Work, Knowledge and Abilities, Legal Requirements, and Desirable Qualifications are not allocating criteria and are not adopted by the Director. 

Typical work

  • Provide examples of work.
  • Do not form the basis for an allocation, but lend support to the level and scope of work performed.
  • Give support to the Definition and Distinguishing Characteristics. 
  • Employees may think they should be allocated to a class based on a few matching typical work statements.  Explaining the allocating criteria to employees as you conduct a position review will help them understand the allocation process. 

Additional tips and considerations

Consult with:

  • Your assigned classification analyst at the Office of Financial Management (see Class & Comp Agency Assignments )
  • Your supervisor for additional guidance or technical expertise
  • Internal HR staff
  • Subject matter expert or specialist for general information on the field, profession, or trade
  • Other agencies to see which classifications they use for similar work. (Note: This may help you get an idea of how other agencies use a class, particularly if your agency never used that class; however, do not base your allocation decision on this information alone.  See Determine Appropriate Allocation)

Position allocation guidance steps

  1. Ensure current and accurate position description
  2. Determine relevant class specifications
  3. [Current page] Understand allocating criteria
  4. Understand duties in position description
  5. Conduct desk audit
  6. Determine appropriate allocation
  7. Write your decision


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