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System HR Job Description Spotlight

What are Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are a useful tool that summarizes and explains tasks, duties, functions, responsibilities, and expectations of a position and are the tool that is used when a position is being posted and recruited for. They can also help with defining soft skills required for success in the role. The purpose of a job description is to provide clarity and guidance to both current employees and potential candidates about what is expected in the role, helping to align individual and organizational goals, facilitate recruitment efforts, support performance management processes, and determine the career level of a position as well as its pay range.

What makes up a Job Description

  1. Purpose: This is universal language used on all System Administration JDs.
  2. Position Information: Captures basic elements of the job.
  3. Position Summary: A 1-3 paragraph written summary of the role, information about the team (optional), any reporting relationships, or other context about the role.
  4. Duties: A bulleted list of the high-level expectations of the role, written as action-oriented points, and sometimes split into 2-3 major sections.
  5. Knowledge Skills & Abilities (KSAs): A list of things that someone fully oriented and up-to-speed in the position should be reasonably expected to know or do. Candidates or employees typically meet most or all of these as they start the role and should meet all of them around 6 months into the role.
  6. Minimum Requirements: A list of requirements absolutely needed to be reasonably expected to learn and perform the role. (Note: if hiring for the role, the recruiter will screen out anyone that does not meet ALL of the Minimum Requirements)
  7. Preferred Qualifications: A list of desirable experiences, certifications, or education that if someone has some or all they will be more likely to excel in the role.
  8. HR Use Only: This section is used by HR after the JD is finalized to indicate the level, pay range, and other classification elements.

Writing Job Descriptions

To write a job description, begin first by gathering information and collecting input from others that will interact with the role. Ensure that it is clear and concise, using straightforward language that is easy to understand to describe the job duties. It is important to focus on the key responsibilities of the role and to align the job description with organizational goals. To ensure that job descriptions are free from bias and help promote diversity and inclusion, it is encouraged to use gender-neutral language and focus on qualifications and skills that are relevant to the job and not the performance. The Compensation Team will also assist with this, and all JDs are run through Textio, a tool that helps eliminate unconscious bias and gender tone.

Best Practices

Job descriptions should be periodically reviewed and updated (every 1-2 years) to reflect changes in the role, organization, or industry. Set a schedule for review, such as annually or biannually, to ensure job descriptions remain accurate and relevant. If significant change has happened with the role, team, or department, it is recommended that the JD be reviewed at that time. Here is a link to CU System Administrations job description template. The Compensation Team is available to assist with updating job descriptions and ensuring that the job description is meeting the level intended for the organizational needs. For more information on job descriptions and other compensation items, please visit the CU System Compensation SharePoint page or reach out to a member of the Compensation Team directly.


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