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Desk Audit

What is Desk Audit?

A desk audit is an “interview” by a Compensation Analyst with the incumbent of the position in order to gather more information to aid in the evaluation of the position. Desk audits are not done by request. They are only conducted when a compensation analyst feels it is necessary to gain further information or clarification about the duties and responsibilities of a position that has been formally submitted for reclassification.

When Desk Audit is Done?

Your job is identified for audit during a regular classification survey. Under law, positions must be classified correctly. To ensure proper classification, BLM conducts periodic classification surveys. Most jobs are found to be correctly classified. Some position descriptions may be updated to reflect changes in the work that is done. To determine proper competitive levels, similarity of jobs is reviewed; this is an important decision should reduction -in -force actions be required. Previous classification errors also may be found and corrected.
Your supervisor requests a position review. Your supervisor may decide that there have been major changes in your job. A desk audit by a position classifier is requested to determine, for example, if new duties or responsibilities warrant upgrading. If you think that there has been a major change in your job duties or responsibilities, you should discuss a possible review of your position with your supervisor.

New classification standards are to be applied to your position. There is a continuing program to revise both job grading standards for trade, craft, or manual laboring jobs and position classification standards for General Schedule positions to reflect changes in the work done by government employees. Under the new Factor Evaluation System (FES) for classifying General

Schedule positions, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has begun the process of replacing the traditional narrative standards with new FES standards. It will take several years for full implementation of FES standards. New and revised standards help to keep the classification system current. BLM personnel offices apply these standards as soon as possible after they are received. 

What is your role in Desk Audit?

We hope that you will put your best foot forward. The objective of the desk audit is to develop frank, factual information about your job. This interview is not a time for modesty (or for that matter, for exaggeration).
Here are some ways that you can help yourself in the audit and help us to gather complete and accurate information about your job.
You need some idea of what the interviewer wants. The important parts or "factors" of jobs are discussed below to give you some general ideas. Individual jobs, however, may require very specific information or special qualifications for that kind of work that do not directly relate to any of the factors. For this reason, you may want to look at classification standards in the personnel office when getting ready for your desk audit, or you may want to talk briefly with the position classifier who will conduct the interview. Nine factors have been identified as common to nonsupervisory positions in General Schedule occupations, including professional, technical, administrative, and clerical positions.

They are:

Knowledge Required By The Position. This factor measures the nature and extent of information or facts the employee must understand to do acceptable work in terms of steps, procedures, practices, rules, policies, theories, principles, and concepts. The factor also involves the nature and extent of the skills needed to apply this knowledge to the work.

Supervisory Controls. Described here are the nature and extent of the direct or indirect controls 

exercised by the supervisor, the employee's responsibility for completing the work, and the review made of completed work. Controls are exercised by the supervisor in the way assignments are made, instructions are given, priorities and deadlines are set, and objectives and boundaries are defined. The employee's responsibility for completing work measures the freedom the employee has to develop and modify assignments, and the degree of review ranges from close and detailed review to spot-checking completed assignments.

Guidelines. This factor covers both the kinds of guidelines used and the judgment needed to apply them. Guides may include, for example desk manuals, established procedures and policies, traditional practices, and reference materials such as dictionaries, style manuals and handbooks. Judgment needed depends upon how specific, applicable, and available the guidelines are:

Complexity. This factor involves the nature, number, variety, and difficulty of tasks, steps, 

processes, or methods in the work performed; the difficulty in identifying what needs to be done; and the difficulty and originality involved in performing the work.

Scope and Effect. The relationship between work done and its effect on others within and outside the organization is described here. Consideration is given to the purpose, breadth, and depth of work assignments and whether the work output facilitates the work of others, provides timely services, or impacts on the adequacy of investigations or research conclusions. 

Personal Contacts. Included are face-to-face contacts and telephone or radio conversations with persons other than the employee's supervisor. Consideration is given to what is required to make the initial contact, the difficulty of communicating with those contacted, and the setting in which the contact takes place.

Purpose of Contacts. This factor covers the purpose of personal contacts, ranging from factual 

exchanges of information to situations involving significant or controversial issues where it is necessary to influence, justify, defend, or persuade.

Physical Demands. A work assignment places certain requirements and physical demands on the employee. This includes physical abilities (agility and dexterity requirements), physical exertion (climbing, lifting, pushing, stooping, kneeling, reaching etc.); .and frequency or intensity (prolonged standing as opposed to intermittent standing).

Work Environment. Environment here relates to the risks and discomforts in the employee's 

physical surroundings or the nature of the work assigned and the safety regulations required. 

Although safety precautions can practically eliminate a danger or discomfort, their use may place additional demands upon the employee in carrying out safety regulations and techniques.

What happens after the audit?

The information that you provided about your job will be used to determine the proper and accurate title, series, and grade level of your position. The understanding of your duties and responsibilities that the position classifier acquired during the desk audit is a major help in the analysis and decision steps of job evaluation that follow. After the desk audit and other information gathering activities, the position classifier evaluates your position, interpreting the work and job requirements in terms of published OPM classification standards. The classifier also may wish to talk to your supervisor about your job, or your PD may need to be redescribed to reflect new duties or responsibilities. The job evaluation process— with your help— will result in the correct classification of a position within the classification system.

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