Forms Tips and Tricks

Applies to

Academic Position Request, Post Support Staff Position, Faculty/Academic Staff Hire/Rehire/Reappointment/Change of Status, Student Hire/Rehire/Add Assignment/Change of Status, Graduate Assistant Hire/Rehire/Reappointment/Change of Status, Undergraduate/Professorial Assistant Hire/Rehire/Reappointment/Change of Status

General Navigation

Wizard functionality guides you through the process step by step. You move through the steps in the process using buttons on the screen.

  • Click the Next button to validate the information on the screen and advance to the next step. Any errors on a screen must be corrected before moving forward. Because options presented are based on information from previous steps, this decreases the likelihood of errors.
  • Click the Previous button to go back to the previous screen.

You can also:

  • Click any step in the Navigation Bar to go directly to that section of the form.

Navigation bar

  • Go directly to the final summary step and enter all the information on one screen. 

However, these options bypass the validation that occurs when clicking the Next button. All validation occurs after you click the Check button and you receive all error messages in one long list. The form cannot be submitted until all errors are corrected at this point.

You can use the Tab key on the keyboard to move from field to field.

Where you see a search button, you can press the F4 key to open the search window, rather than clicking on the button.


Required Fields

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*). These fields must be completed correctly before moving to the next step.


Wherever possible, auto-complete functionality suggests options for filling in a field. As data is entered into any field where auto-complete functionality is available, the system displays a list of up to 50 matching values based on what has been typed into the field. The suggested values change as you continue to type.

For example, as you begin typing an organizational unit number, you first see the first organizational units, in numerical order below the field.   

Select the desired entry from the list to enter the value in the field.

You still have the option of searching for the value.


Available search criteria change from one field to the next, but here are some general tips on searching for and selecting information. Searches are generally not case-sensitive, but some name searches may be. Also be aware that words may be abbreviated.

To sort items in a list or table

  1. Click on the column heading.
  2. If necessary, ascending or descending order.

To search for an item

  1. If search fields are not visible, click the More Values button.
  2. Enter search criteria in one or more fields, using the asterisk (*) as a wildcard.
  3. Click the Search button. A list of matching results appears. 


When you tab into a date field and type, the system automatically formats the field for you.

When you click in a date field containing slashes and type, the slashes may simply move to the right of the field. If this happens, delete the slashes to finish entering the date desired. You can also manually click and type between the slashes in the format MM/DD/YYYY, or click and drag to remove the slashes before typing.


When you reach the step where documents are attached.

To upload an attachment

  1. Select an Attachment Type from the list provided.
  2. Click the Browse button.
  3. Locate and select the file, then click the Open button.
  4. Click the Upload button to upload the attachment to the form. 

Repeat this process for each additional attachment.

To delete an attachment

  1. Select the attachment by clicking the check box.
  2. Click the Delete Attachment button.


You may receive three types of messages while filling in forms: error messages, informational messages and directions. By default, messages will appear in a pop up window. To move the message window to the top of the form, click on the pin button. Error messages are listed first, followed by  informational messages and directions.  The number of each message type is indicated at the top of the window next to the message icon.  View each message type by clicking on the message icon or click on "All" to view all messages. 

Error messages are indicated by a red circle icon. Errors must be corrected before moving to the next step.   

Error Messages


Informational messages are indicated by a yellow triangle icon. These are not errors, but reminders or notes that may be relevant based on the data entered. For example, if you enter a retroactive hire date you may be reminded to enter retroactive working hours. If hiring a new employee, you see an I9 reminder as shown below. Click the Continue button to acknowledge the information and continue completing the form. 

Form I-9 is required.

You may also see a green check mark icon for messages that provide directions.


After you check the form, and before you send the form, you can generate a PDF to view, save or print. Simply click the Generate PDF button. The PDF version of the form opens in a new window, and can be saved or printed.

As the form routes for approvals, approvers are able to view the form via the Summary Screen or as a PDF by clicking the Generate PDF button.

Browser Zoom Functionality

Increasing the zoom level of the form’s browser window above 100% may cause text descriptions or inputted text to overlap or be cut off from view. However, all information is entered and is viewable at any percent up to 100%.


To save a draft of a form and finish later, click the Save Draft button. The draft appears in your Inbox. 

If a Save Draft button is not available, the form cannot be saved as a draft at that point. In some cases you may need to get to a certain point in the process before the form can be saved as a draft. For example, when hiring a temp/on-call, you cannot save as a draft while creating the position. Only when you reach the point of saving the hiring information can you save as a draft.

Instructions and Tips for Specific Sections and Fields

Employee Search

If you search for a person who has already been hired by the University, information regarding their prior employment appears. 

Enterprise Structure

  • The Enterprise Structure describes the position. It is a combination of the following fields. Select the appropriate combination by clicking the row, even if there is only one available combination.
  • Employee Group: Union, Non-Union, Non-Employee/No Pay, or Retiree.
  • Employee Subgroup: A further breakdown of the Employee Group. Examples include Student, Hourly Temp, Executive management AN, No Pay, Academic Year Faculty.
  • Personnel Area: MSU-US or MSU-Dubai.
  • Personnel Sub-area: A further breakdown of the Personnel Area. Examples include: Service Maintenance, Clerical Technical, Nurses, Faculty/Academic Staff.


While auto-complete is available for entering this information, you may find it more efficient to search for the supervisor by name.

To search for a supervisor

  1. Click the search search button.
  2. Some searches provide the ability to change search help options.  If desired, select a search option:
    1. Occupied Positions by Name, to search by a person’s name.
    2. Occupied Positions by Org Unit, to view a list of all occupied positions within an organizational unit.
    3. All Positions by Org Unit
    4. All Positions by Abbrev/Name
  3. Enter search criteria in the boxes provided, capitalizing names and using wildcards (*) where needed.
  4. Click the Search button to view search results.
  5. Select an option by clicking the row.


When selecting a supervisor, you are actually selecting a position that supervises the position being created. The relationship is position < > position, not person < > person. (If a supervisor took a new job, that person’s former direct reports would not continue to report to the outgoing supervisor. They would report to the incoming supervisor.) Auto-complete works on this field, but it is based on the supervising position number, which is typically not known. Also, auto-complete provides a list of all position numbers—including unoccupied positions—while business rules require that a supervising position be occupied by a person. If you select an unoccupied position, you receive an error.

Date ranges also apply when selecting a supervisor, if the supervising position changes. If you see multiple positions, select the one whose timeframe covers the hire being processes.

Work Locations

When identifying a work location, press Enter after entering the Location ID (also known as the building ID or building number) to populate address fields and see a valid range of room numbers for that location. If a valid room number range is available, enter a valid room number before moving to the next step. Alpha characters are allowed, though they do not appear in room number range.  

You can also enter the Location ID directly. You do not have to type the leading zeros.

If the employee is working off campus, select the check box indicating this and then select the off-campus location. If you do not select this check box then you will not be able to update this information on the form. An Administrative Address is still required. If the off-campus and Administrative Address (location of where employee business mail should be received) are the same, select the same location in both fields.

Contact Information

The Actual Work Location phone number must be entered in the format +1AAANNNNNNNxEEEEE (+15173533121x534), as follows. This format is required in order for data to be displayed correctly via the portal or through the data to be displayed correctly via the portal or through the data warehouse. This format is only required for the Actual Work Location phone number.

This text:  Is:  For example: 
 +1 Always required +1 
 AAA  The area code  517
 NNNNNNN  The phone number  3533121
xEEEEE   The extention, if any  x534


When selecting from a State drop-down list, pressing the first letter of the state (or territory) name cycles to the next state beginning with that letter. For example, pressing M the first time results in Maine, the second time in Maryland, and so on.

For Emergency Contact Information, First Name is a required field. If the emergency contact does not have a first name then enter “NA” for the first name and enter a comment indicating that the emergency contact does not have a first name. HR can make the appropriate adjustments when approving the form.

Pay and Cost

If a WBS Element (sub-account) does not appear in a row after the account number is entered this means that there is more than one option for that account. If no sub-account is entered, WBS Element defaults to “No_Sub-Account.” 

If you manually type the account number, press Enter after typing it to default the other required accounting options.


Scrolling to the bottom of the summary form may cause the pay and cost distribution table to also scroll, making it appear as though funding lines are missing. Simply scroll to the top of the pay and cost table to view the entries. Because it is sensitive data, the person’s Social Security Number is not visible to approvers. For new hires and rehires, black dots appear to indicate that the Social Security Number was entered. For additional assignments, the field is blank because this information is already in the system. If an employee needs to change their Social Security Number they will still need to bring their social security card to HR to make the change.