Job Analysis Methods and Job Description Contents

Job analysis

Job analysis is a systematic study of a job to determine the kind of activities and responsibilities that are to be included, its relationship with other jobs, and the qualification required to perform the job. It also envisages an evaluation of the conditions under which the worker concerned should be performed. The purpose of job analysis is to establish the job-relatedness of employment procedures such as training, selection, compensation, and performance appraisal. “A job analysis is the process used to collect information about the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and work environment of a particular job.” (Heathfield, Job).

Job analysis is the specification of employment position requirements, functions, and procedures. It is considered the backbone of a well-developed and effective human resources program. The human resources management practice can blossom into a competitive advantage only by the adequate job analysis. The important concept of job analysis is the appropriate overall analysis of the job and not the person. During the job analysis, data is collected through interviews or questionnaires, and the analysis is done based on the description or specification of the job.

The methods of job analysis

Personal observation

Observation is the starting point of job analysis work. Observation works well when the activities are performed is in a definite sequence. During the process, the analyst observes the worker, the task they are performing, the working condition, etc. There are two types of observation: continuous observation and sampling observation. Continuous observation means observing the job in a given time and sampling observation means observing for a short period.

Critical incidents

It is a qualitative approach to job analysis that is used to obtain a specific, behaviorally focused description of work or other activities. In this, the job holder is asked to describe the incidents that occurred in the past. The information about incidents collected is analyzed and classified on the basis of the job areas. According to the analysis, the analyst draws a line between the effective and ineffective behaviors of work.

Interview methods

“A trained job analyst interviews a job incumbent, usually utilizing a standardized format. Sometimes more than one worker is interviewed, and the results are aggregated. Another variation is the group interview, where several incumbents are interviewed at the same time.” (Job Analysis Methods. 2006). The interviewer is trained in proper interviewing techniques. They use a standard format to focus the interview according to the purpose of the analysis. Moreover, the interview is a time-consuming and costly process.

Questionnaire method

The questionnaire is the most frequently used means to analyze the job and work. The job holder is given a questionnaire to obtain relevant job-related information. The questionnaire method is very economical but at the same time, designing the questionnaire is not an easy task. The analyst should be careful that the questions are not misinterpreted by the respondents. Moreover, it is difficult to encourage the participant to complete the questionnaire by providing accurate information.

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.” (Job Analysis, 2001).

  • Determining Training needs –Job analysis is used to identify
    • Training content;
    • Assessment test to measure the effectiveness of training;
    • Training methods, which will sometimes involve a small group and can be computer-based.
  • Compensation:
    • Level of skills;
    • Job factor compensable;
    • Working environment;
  • ;Selection procedure –selection procedure is used to find out
    • Job duties included in the advertisement of vacant position;
    • Minimum qualifications needed for screening applicants;
    • Selection test;
  • performance appraisal – it is used to know
    • Goal and objective;
    • Standard performances;
    • Criteria for evaluation.

Job description

A job description is a written statement of the contents and responsibilities of a particular job. The job description is based on the information gathered by conducting job analysis, which includes analyzing the sequence of tasks necessary to meet the job requirements and the knowledge and skill level required to perform that job. “Job descriptions are written statements that describe the: duties, responsibilities, most important contributions and outcomes needed from a position, required qualifications of candidates, and reporting relationship and co-workers of a particular job.” (Heathfield, Electronic).

Contents of the job description

  1. Job title indicates the roles or functions that the job plays in the organization
  2. Reporting responsibilities indicate to whom a particular job holder should report i.e. to decide who the immediate boss of the job holder is.
  3. Purpose of the job. This includes the overall objectives and the person involved in the performance of that job.
  4. Main tasks and accountabilities which describe the main activities that have to be undertaken in that job and what the job holder is expected to achieve in it.

Importance of job description

“A job description typically outlines the necessary skills, training, and education needed by a potential employee. It will spell out the duties and responsibilities of the job. Once a job description is prepared, it can serve as a basis for interviewing candidates, orienting a new employee, and finally, in the evaluation of job performance. Using job descriptions is part of good management.” (The Importance of Job Descriptions. 2008).

The important functions of job descriptions are

Human resource planning

Every organization has to decide what kinds of skilled people are required to achieve the objective of the organization. A clear and well-defined job description helps the organization to decide the type of jobs and personnel that are required for undertaking its operations and attaining its objectives.

Recruitment and selection

The job description helps the managers to decide the most appropriate selection process to provide a detailed description and personnel specifications required for a job, to enable them to identify and hire appropriate human resources.

Job evaluation

A detailed job description is important for the process of job evaluation. This requires accurate information about each function that is to be performed.

Training and development

The job description helps to identify the training needs of each category of employees and thus develop suitable training methods.

Job redesign

To undertake changes in the present conditions of a job, accurate information about the job is required.

Performance management

The performance management process will be effective only when the job objectives are clearly defined. The management compares the standard performance with the actual performances of employees and finds whether any deviation exists and takes corrective measures.

Organizational change

When the organization is changing its structure, it is important to have complete information about the contents of all the jobs to avoid duplication and overlap of authority.

Works Cited

Heathfield, Susan M. Job Analysis. Human Resources. About.com. 2008. Web.

Job Analysis Methods. Office of Human Resources. University of Minnesota. 2006. Web.

Job Analysis: Overview. HR Guide to the Internet. 2001. Web.

Heathfield, Susan M. Electronic Surveillance of Employees. Human Resources. About.com. 2008. Web.

The Importance of Job Descriptions. Business Services: Library Index: Importance of Job Descriptions. DCU. 2008. Web.