What is Job Analysis?

The process of collecting, mining and analyzing data about the everyday tasks and responsibilities on a job is termed as job analysis. It can be carried out by the company’s HR department or an external job analyst.

The goal of job analysis is to understand the skills, qualifications and work conditions necessary to perform the job. It’s important to keep in mind that during a job analysis, the job is analyzed and not the person performing it.

How is job analysis different from job description?

A job description is a summary of the responsibilities or duties that one has to carry out on a job. It’s usually used during recruiting and selection to introduce a candidate to an open job role on a career site or job board and is usually presented in a written or video format.

On the other hand,  job analysis is an in-depth research performed to understand the different details that revolve around a job - the tasks involved, time taken to perform them, the dependencies on other roles, etc, presented in an oral or written format.

What’s the purpose behind job analysis?

Crafting perfect job descriptions

Let’s face it. No one writes perfect job descriptions but a job analysis helps you come as close. The data from the job analysis can help the human resources department to draft the close-to-perfect job descriptions. A job description layout in a more simple and organized manner the skills, experience, and any other things required to perform the job.

Putting together compelling compensation packages 

Job analysis plays an important role in finding the right compensation mix for your employees - packages, perks and benefits, incentives, variable pay, etc. Understanding what it takes to do the job helps identify how much you should be paying them - this also helps establish an internal pay parity because you can compare the efforts, skills and experience required for different jobs in the company. Of course, one other thing you’ll be taking into consideration is the market rate.

Assessing training and development requirements

After a job analysis, if the employer notices a visible gap in the actual and expected outcomes on a job, then there might be room for improvement through training and development. The job analysis will clearly show you which areas require intervention. It will help you prudently choose the training and development tools or methods you want to implement in your organizational learning.

Evaluating performance 

A job analysis enables you to clearly define the performance expectations of a job role and hence hold that as a standard during the employee appraisal process. There are three parts to it - decide the performance standards, key performance indicators and the methods of job evaluation.

If necessary, redesigning a job

One of the goals of job analysis is to optimize the performance on a job by helping the right people land on the right jobs. A part of which is making the job right. Meaning, once in a while you will have to cut back responsibilities, add variety, or add challenges, etc to make the job a better fit for an employee. This is believed to improve their satisfaction on the job and hence up their performance.

What are the steps to conducting a successful job analysis?

Plan and then plan harder.

Outline your process, the resources you’ll need and time you intend to spend. This should include the steps you are going to follow, the people you will be interviewing, the tools you will use, the methods you will use, any resources you will need and the time frame for completion.

Start with the information you already have

Look for all internally available resources or research information such as job descriptions, job ads, employee training manuals, performance metrics, and any other HR documentations in place. Externally, you can look for data from industry experts, occupational studies, etc.

Choose a sample

Just like for any other research, even during a job analysis, you will need a sample to start with. So choose a few job holders you are going to involve in the research. Make sure they are similar - hold the same titles, have access to similar resources, and are evaluated for the same outcomes.

Do a structured interview (or use a questionnaire)

You can ask the job holders what helps them do their job well - experience from previous jobs, their college education, a specific certification, personal skills, any training they got on the job, a mentor, etc. They can maintain a log of what they do on an everyday basis and why they could do it.

Speak to the supervisors ( or use questionnaires)

A supervisor's input is very critical to show you how the job or the job holder’s performance affects the overarching mission of the organization. They can also tell you how the job holder’s performance affects other verticals inside or outside the department. 

Talk to peers (or use questionnaires)

Talk to the job holder’s peers to understand how they perceive the role, how it influences them and others around them. You can also ask them to share their everyday observations of the job holder and the key skills and abilities they observe in the job holders due to which they finish their tasks.

Compile, mine, conclude and use

Once you have collected data using various methods, sort it and spend time on it to bring out meaningful insights - a realistic list of knowledge, skills and abilities required to do the job best. The next step is to use it - create job descriptions, plan the next training phase, creating pre-hire assessment tests, performance matrix and more.

What are the different methods to perform job analysis?

Open-ended questionnaires

Managers and employees are given a questionnaire about the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required to fulfill the demands of a particular job. The HR collects their responses and compiles them into a crisp list of job requirements. This is one of the easiest ways to analyse multiple jobs quickly.

Structured questionnaires 

Employees working on a job are presented with objective questions (means the choice of answers are pre defined). Based on their responses, they are presented with even more questions, all leading to a better definition of what it takes to slay on the role. Since the questions are objective, it’s easier to sift through the answers and draw reliable conclusions.

Face-to-face interviews 

The person conducting the job analysis sits down with the employee who performs the job and tries to gain their perspective on the KSAs required for the job. The questions can be around their understanding of the purpose or significance of the job, the working conditions, the activities involved, etc. 

Planned job observations

The people performing the job are observed for a considerable period (long enough to come to solid conclusions) to understand what their work day really looks like and later that information is translated to KSAs. There is nothing like first-hand observations.

Work journals 

The employee is requested to keep a log of all the tasks or duties they perform each day. At the end of a few weeks the HR analyses the log to identify the different kinds of tasks they’ve performed, the time it consumed, the frequency of repetition and more and translates them into the responsibilities for the role. This type of research can make you findings almost close to thorough.

SAMPLE JOB ANALYSIS QUESTIONNAIRE

A job analysis questionnaire covers questions around job purpose, everyday activities, key skills required, and ideal conditions to perform the job. The following are some sample questions:

Job purpose:
1.Why do you think the job exists?

2.How do you think the role contributes to the organization’s overall mission?

3.What are the top 5 significant tasks that are repetitive on the role?

4.On a scale of 1-10 how well do you understand the performance standards of this role?

Everyday activities:

1.What happens when a deadline is missed?

2.What are the timeframes for completing the top 5 significant tasks in your role?

3.Can the tasks on this job be better performed with more training? If yes, what kind of training?

4.What are mental and physical abilities required to accomplish the expected results on this role?

5.Do you feel safe to perform your job?

6.How well do the people you work with understand your job role?

7.Are there any specific certifications, licenses or accreditations that ensure maximum output on this role?

Reporting relationships:

1.What are the responsibilities of your supervisor?
2.How many people do you supervise in this job role?

3.Do you have the authority to hire or fire people?

4.If you don’t have authority to hire or fire, are you heard by the people who do have that authority?

Problem solving:

1.What are the kinds of routine problems you solve?
2.What are the types of unique problems you get to solve?

3.Do you have access to all the resources and information you need to solve problems?

4.How soon do you get that information?

5.Is the information you receive always reliable?

Decision making:
1.Do your decisions affect your work, work group, or the whole department?

2.What are the kind of decisions you are responsible for making?

3.Who is involved in your decision making process?