Job Analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular job duties and requirements and the relative importance of these duties for a given job. Job Analysis is a process where judgments are made about data collected on a job.
The Job; not the person An important concept of Job Analysis is that the analysis is conducted of the Job, not the person. While Job Analysis data may be collected from incumbents through interviews or questionnaires, the product of the analysis is a description or specifications of the job, not a description of the person.....
Purpose of Job Analysis
The purpose of Job Analysis is to establish and document the 'job relatedness' of employment procedures such as training, selection, compensation, and performance appraisal.
· Determining Training Needs
Job Analysis can be used in training / "needs assessment" to identify or develop:
- training content
- assessment tests to measure effectiveness of training
- equipment to be used in delivering the training
- Methods of training (i.e., small group, computer-based, video, classroom...)
Job Analysis can be used in compensation to identify or determine:
Job Analysis can be used in compensation to identify or determine:
- skill levels
- compensable job factors
- work environment (e.g., hazards; attention; physical effort)
- responsibilities (e.g., fiscal; supervisory)
- required level of education (indirectly related to salary level)
· Selection Procedures
Job Analysis can be used in selection procedures to identify or develop:
- job duties that should be included in advertisements of vacant positions;
- appropriate salary level for the position to help determine what salary should be offered to a candidate;
- minimum requirements (education and / or experience) for screening applicants;
- interview questions;
- selection tests / instruments (e.g., written tests; oral tests; job simulations);
- applicant appraisal / evaluation forms;
- orientation materials for applicants / new hires
· Performance Review
Job Analysis can be used in performance review to identify or develop:
- goals and objectives
- performance standards
- evaluation criteria
- length of probationary periods
- duties to be evaluated
Methods of Job Analysis
Several methods exist that may be used individually or in combination. These include:
- review of job classification systems
- incumbent interviews
- supervisor interviews
- expert panels
- structured questionnaires
- task inventories
- check lists
- open-ended questionnaires
- incumbent work logs
A typical method of Job Analysis would be to give the incumbent a simple questionnaire to identify job duties, responsibilities, equipment used, work relationships, and work environment. The completed questionnaire would then be used to assist the Job Analyst who would then conduct an interview of the incumbent(s). A draft of the identified job duties, responsibilities, equipment, relationships, and work environment would be reviewed with the supervisor for accuracy. The Job Analyst would then prepare a job description and/or job specifications.
The method that you may use in Job Analysis will depend on practical concerns such as type of job, number of jobs, number of incumbents, and location of jobs.
What Aspects of a Job Are Analysed?
Job Analysis should collect information on the following areas:
- Duties and Tasks The basic unit of a job is the performance of specific tasks and duties. Information to be collected about these items may include: frequency, duration, effort, skill, complexity, equipment, standards, etc.
- Environment This may have a significant impact on the physical requirements to be able to perform a job. The work environment may include unpleasant conditions such as offensive odours and temperature extremes. There may also be definite risks to the incumbent such as noxious fumes, radioactive substances, hostile and aggressive people, and dangerous explosives.
- Tools and Equipment Some duties and tasks are performed using specific equipment and tools. Equipment may include protective clothing. These items need to be specified in a Job Analysis.
- Relationships Supervision given and received. Relationships with internal or external people.
- Requirements The knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA's) required performing the job. While an incumbent may have higher KSA's than those required for the job, a Job Analysis typically only states the minimum requirements to perform the job.
I will consider these methods to analyzing a Job:
Methods of: Observation
Direct Observation of incumbents performing their jobs enables the trained job analyst to obtain first-hand knowledge and information about the job being analyzed.
The Observation method of Job Analysis is suited for jobs in which the work behaviours are:
1) Observable involving some degree of movement on the part of the incumbent, or
2) Job tasks are short in duration allowing for many observations to be made in a short period of time or a significant part of the job can be observed in a short period of time, or
3) Jobs in which the job analyst can learn information about the job through observation.
Jobs in which the Observation method is successful include:
- Machine Operator/Adjuster
- Construction Worker
- Police Officer/Patrol Officer
- Flight Attendant
- Bus Driver
- Skilled Crafts Worker
With direct Observation, the trained job analyst can obtain first-hand knowledge and information about the job being analyzed. Other Job Analysis methods (such as the interview or questionnaire) only allow the job analyst to indirectly obtain this information. Thus, with other methods of Job Analysis, sources of error (omissions or exaggerations) are introduced either by the incumbent being interviewed or by items on the questionnaire. With direct observation of the incumbent, these sources of error are eliminated.
Direct Observation allows the job analyst to see (and in some cases experience) the work environment, tools and equipment used, interrelationships with other workers, and complexity of the job.
Direct Observation of incumbents may be necessary to support testimony if the incumbent or applicant for the job has sued the employer. A Job Analysis is necessary to support personnel actions that were taken. However, the job analysis may be of limited value if the job analyst has not seen the incumbent perform the job. In other words, relying solely on the incumbent's description of their job may not withstand scrutiny in a court of law.
Testimony about jobs personally done is direct testimony and not subject to hearsay rules.
One problem with the direct Observation method of Job Analysis is that the presence of an observer may affect the incumbent causing the incumbent to alter their normal work behavior. It is important for the analyst to be unobtrusive in their observations. Incumbents may alter their work behaviour if they know they are being observed.
This method is not appropriate for jobs that involve significant amounts of time spent in concentration or mental effort.
Methods of: Interview
The Job Analysis Interview: method to collect a variety of information from an incumbent by asking the incumbent to describe the tasks and duties performed.
Allows the incumbent to describe tasks and duties that are not observable.
The incumbent may exaggerate or omit tasks and duties.
Unstructured Interviews Here the interview is a conversation with no prepared questions or predetermined line of investigation. However, the interviewer should explain:
- the purpose of the study is and
- the particular focus of this interview
The roles and the purposes give structure. The interviewer generally uses a questioning strategy to explore the work the job holder performs. Listening and taking notes are very important. These enable follow up questions to be posed. The questions and responses - with summaries enable the interview to be controlled. The conversation takes on a structure with areas being considered, explored, related to each other and revisited to secure the depth of information required in job analysis.
An unstructured interview involves question and response and may be free flowing but it becomes structured in the sense that the interviewer has a purpose and needs skill to
- establish a relationship
- ask well-structured questions to generate a conversational flow in which the interviewee offers information - factual, opinion, subjective and objective about aspects of the job
- to ensure information received is heard and understood - listening, clarifying and reflective summarizing
Effective listening requires concentration and this can be disturbed by interruptions, the interviewer's own thought processes and difficulty in remaining neutral about what is being said. Notes need to be taken without loss of good eye contact. Cues need to be picked up so that further questions can be asked to probe issues and areas of interest.
Structured Interviews A structured interview may assume a definite format involving:
- charting a job-holder's sequence of activities in performance
- an inventory or questionnaire may be used
Care is needed to set up such interactions. A specialist analyst is not involved and participants need to know what they are doing, why and what is expected as a result. They may be in trained as interviewers and not structure the interview as recommended. Notes and records may be needed for subsequent analysis.
A structured interview may be akin to a staff appraisal or job evaluation interview carried out by a manager with a subordinate. The manager is the analyst.
Interviewing is a flexible method for all levels and types of job. An interview may focus on what a hypothetical job might involve.
Interviews generate descriptive data and enable job-holders to interpret their activities. A good interviewer can probe sensitive areas in more depth. Structured questionnaires cannot easily do this. Jobholders can give overviews of their work and offer their perceptions and feelings about their job and the environment. Rigid questionnaires tend to be less effective where the more affective aspects of work are concerned.
However information from different interviews can be
- hard to bring together
- there is potential for interviewer bias
- certain areas of the work may fail to be picked up
- An interview may stress one area and neglect others.
- there are problems in interpretation and analysis with the possibility of distorted impressions
- the subjectivity of the data captured needs to be considered
Interviewing as the sole method of job analysis in any particular project has disadvantages. Interviews are time consuming and training is needed. Co-counselling may remove the analyst and enable jobholders to discuss work between them.
Through inexperience however they may miss items and there is the natural problem of people not establishing and maintaining rapport with each other during an interview.