Job Descriptions

Where to Start with Your Job Descriptions? Use Our Questionnaire

In Yesterday’s Advisor, we covered the basic pitfalls in job description writing. Today, a handy job analysis questionnaire you can use, plus good news—there’s a checklist-based audit system for you to use to evaluate all your HR practices.

Here’s a basic questionnaire that you can use to write new job descriptions (or to review existing ones):

Job Description Questionnaire

Instructions: Distribute copies of this questionnaire to supervisors, human resources staff members, job analysts, and others who may be involved in writing job descriptions. Ask them to record their answers to these questions in writing.

1. What is the job title?

2. In what department is the job located?

3. What is the title of the supervisor or manager to whom the jobholder must report?

4. Does the jobholder supervise other employees? If so, give their job titles and a brief description of their responsibilities:

Position Supervised










5. What essential duties does the jobholder perform regularly? List them in order of importance:

Essential Duty

Percentage of Time Devoted to this Duty








6. Does the jobholder perform other duties periodically or occasionally? If so, please list, indicating frequency.

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7. How often is jobholder given:







Discretionary authority?

Authority over others?

8. What are the working conditions?

Outside work_______________________________
Exposure to bad weather______________________

9. How much authority does the jobholder have in such matters as training or guiding other people?

10. How much education, experience, and skill are required for satisfactory job performance?

11. At what stage is the jobholder’s work reviewed by the supervisor?

12. What machines or equipment is the jobholder responsible for operating?

13. If the jobholder made a serious mistake or error in performing the required duties, what would be the cost to the organization?

OK, there’s help for your job descriptions. Now, what about all those other things that need checking—other policies and practices that may be out of date?  There’s only one way to find out: the HR audit.  But for many managers, it’s hard to get started—Where do you begin?

BLR’s editors recommend a unique product called HR Audit Checklists®. Why are checklists so great? Because they’re completely impersonal; they force you to jump through all the necessary hoops one by one. They also ensure consistency in how operations are conducted. That’s vital in HR, where it’s all too easy to land in court if you discriminate in how you treat one employee over another.

HR Audit Checklists compels thoroughness. For example, it contains checklists both on Preventing Sexual Harassment and on Handling Sexual Harassment Complaints. You’d likely never think of all the possible trouble areas without a checklist; but with it, just scan down the list and instantly see where you might get tripped up.

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In fact, housed in the HR Audit Checklists binder are dozens of extensive lists, organized into reproducible packets, for easy distribution to line managers and supervisors. There’s a separate packet for each of the following areas:

  • Staffing and training (incorporating Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rulings in recruiting and hiring, including immigration issues);
  • HR administration (including communications, handbook content, and recordkeeping);
  • Health and safety (including OSHA responsibilities);
  • Benefits and leave (including health cost containment, COBRA, FMLA, workers’ compensation, and several areas of leave);
  • Compensation (payroll and the Fair Labor Standards Act); and
  • Performance and termination (appraisals, discipline, and separation).

HR Audit Checklists is available to HR Daily Advisor readers for a no-cost, no-risk evaluation in your office for up to 30 days. Visit HR Audit Checklists, and we’ll be happy to arrange it.