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NC Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Human Resources


Writing Vacancy Announcements


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Don't forget to pay attention to the basics when advertising a position. Make sure that the KSA's (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) are accurate, cover all the basics, and are easy to understand (even for people outside of DHHS and state government.)

Here are some issues to consider:

  • Current: Look at any past position description carefully to make sure that the KSA's are up to date. If the position now requires some new skills or knowledge of a new technology or set of regulations, make sure that the announcement includes these updated KSA's.
  • Specific: Make sure that your KSA's are not too general, using specifics whenever possible to clarify exactly what you need the applicant to be able to do.

Caution: Don't make the KSA's too specific, however! For example, if the employee in a position spends only 5% of the time in one activity, think carefully before including that particular skill in the KSA's. If you include it, the screener would have to eliminate from the "highly qualified" pool those otherwise qualified applicants who do not have that specific skill. And if a rejected applicant challenged that issue, the challenge could be upheld. If the activity is important, you could consider including it in Preferences instead.

  • Easy to Understand: Remember that the screener looks for the KSA's that you provide to find qualified applicants. So make sure that the descriptions are very clear and easy to "match up" with typical descriptions of duties that applicants use in describing their work histories. Remember also, that screeners may not know what some of the KSA's mean (related to specific technical skills, for example), so use the most common descriptions possible to help the screeners find similar terminology listed on the applications.

Be sure to consult with your HR contact for advice in this area also. Ready NC Connect NC