Monday, June 18, 2007

"Job Analysis"

Job Analysis "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. "

First, let's look at some terms. A job is a collection of tasks and responsibilities that an employee is responsible to conduct. Jobs have titles. A task is a typically defined as a unit of work, that is, a set of activities needed to produce some result, e.g., vacuuming a carpet, writing a memo, sorting the mail, etc. Complex positions in the organization may include a large number of tasks, which are sometimes referred to as functions. Job descriptions are lists of the general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. Typically, they also include to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications needed by the person in the job, salary range for the position, etc. Job descriptions are usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis looks at the areas of knowledge and skills needed by the job. Note that a role is the set of responsibilities or expected results associated with a job. A job usually includes several roles.

Allows the incumbent to describe tasks and duties that are not observable.

The incumbent may exaggerate or omit tasks and duties.

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 judgements 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...)

Compensation 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 of job classification systems:

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) was developed in response to the demand for standardized occupational information to support an expanding public employment service. The U.S. Employment Service established a Federal-State employment service system, and initiated an occupational research program, utilizing analysts located in numerous field offices throughout the country, to collect the information required. The use of this information has expanded from job matching applications to various uses for employment counseling, occupational and career guidance, and labor market information services

In order to properly match jobs and workers, the public employment service system requires that a uniform occupational language be used in all of its local job service offices. Occupational analysts collect data provided to job interviewers to systematically compare and match the specifications of employer job openings with the qualifications of applicants who are seeking jobs through its facilities.

The first edition of the DOT, published in 1939, contained approximately 17,500 job definitions. Blocks of jobs were assigned 5- or 6-digit codes which placed them in one of 550 occupational groups and indicated whether the jobs were skilled, semi-skilled, or unskilled.

The latest edition of the DOT published in 1977, contained over 2,100 new occupational definitions and several thousand other definitions were substantially modified or combined with related definitions. In order to document these changes, approximately 75,000 on-site job analysis studies were conducted from 1965 to the mid-1970's. These studies, supplemented by information obtained through extensive contacts with professional and trade associations, reflected the restructuring of the economy at that time.

2 Incumbent interviews:

Interview Methods

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 questionning 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 recieved is heard and understood - listening, clarifying and reflective summarising

Effective listening requires concentration and this can be disturbed by interruptions, the interviewer's own thought processes and dificulty 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 intrained 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

Interview Outcomes

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 themselves. 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.

Check out the Job Analysis Interview Guidee

Conducting the InterviewOften an employee may feel uncomfortable being interviewed for a Job Analysis. The employee may feel that the results of the job analysis will adversely affect them in terms of salary or working conditions.

Help the employee feel welcome and at ease. Break the ice by being warm and welcoming. Offer coffee or water, offer to take their coat, ask if they had any trouble finding your office. A few minutes of pleasant general talk will set a positive tone for the interview.

Arrange a private place forthe interview, and make arrangements so that you are not interrupted and so the employee may speak candidly about their job.

Give the employee an overview of the interview procedure. Take a few minutes to recap the essential functions of the job, and to explain why this analysis is important.

Let the employee know that you may need a few minutes every now and then to jot down their comments or your thoughts -- explain that your notes will be helpful later as you prepare the description of the job.

Carefully Construct Interview Questions

Questions should be open-ended. Open-ended questions provide a framework in which to respond, yet leave the responsibility with the employee to determine the level of detail to provide in the response


"Describe how you balance the monthly accounting report."
Avoid "yes-no" questions, unless they are the best way to get right to the point of an essential duty.


"Have you ever used power tools when performing electrical work?

In developing interview questions, it is important to ensure that questions are:

*Realistic given the requirements of the job
*Complex enough to allow adequate demonstration of the KSAs being assessed
*Stated in a straightforward unambiguous manner
*Formulated at the language level appropriate for the employee being interviewed

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