Job Analysis: Definition, Purpose, and the Know-How Steps

June 18, 20192:13 pm
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“Job analysis is crucial for first, helping individuals develop their careers, and also for helping organisations develop their employees in order to maximise talent.” Maren Franklin

Definition of job analysis

Job analysis refers to a process of identifying, obtaining, and recording all the facts and details concerning a job through various methods. It includes gathering information related to the knowledge, skills, and abilities which the job holder must have in order to perform the job in a good and satisfactory way.

Job analysis, or often referred to as work analysis, should provide information that helps determine which employees are the best fit for a specific job. Additionally, a job analyst should understand the important aspects needed in conducting an analysis. Therefore, a job analyst should know the importance of job being offered, how they are carried out, as well as the necessary human qualities needed to complete the job.

See also: 5 Best Practices for a Successful Employee Engagement Analysis

Purpose of job analysis

One of the main purposes of job analysis is to prepare job description and job specification which in turn helps hire and bring quality candidates into an organisation. Commonly, job analyst needs to answer questions such as why the job exists, what physical and mental activities worker needs for completing the job, when and where the job is performed, as well as under what conditions the job should be performed.

Job analysis can also help HR industry make sure that training and development activities are focused and effective within a specific job frame. It also helps gather information for personnel selection, training, classification, and compensation. For industrial psychology, job analysis benefits in terms of to determine physical requirements of a job and whether an individual can perform the job with or without accommodation, under any diminished capability of performing the tasks.

Thusly, a job analyst should prepare and have the following criteria in his/her description.

  • definition of a job domain
  • description of a job
  •  development of performance appraisals
  • personnel selection
  • selection systems
  • promotion criteria
  • training needs assessments
  • legal defence of selection processes, and
  • compensation plans.

To further the discussion, there are two ways to build smart and useful job analysis. First is a task-oriented approach which focuses on the actual activities involved in performing work. Task-oriented job analysis develops to discuss work duties, responsibilities, and functions in detail and understandable way. Then, there is also a worker-oriented approach which aims to examine human attributes needed to perform the job successfully. Common classification of worker-oriented is known as KSAO. KSAO is an acronym from knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics. Assessment Education & Research Experts explained that these attributes should be identified during a job analysis, and are predominantly utilised in recruitment and selection stage.

Knowledge is needed for successful task performance. The information here is often fact-based or from practical experience.

Skills mean a developed capacity to facilitate successful task performance. It can be improved by repeating tasks, gaining knowledge, or applying abilities.  

Abilities are enduring capacities for learning and successfully perform a task.  Different from skills, abilities should be more innate or bound by capacity. It means an individual should have a stable and balance specific behaviour to perform a specific workload.

Other characteristics represent motivation and engagement aspect of predicting successful job performance. It includes qualities such as personality, attitude, interest, or values. This “other characteristics” usually becomes an excellent indicator to know if candidates would be fit into the culture and climate of your organisation or not.

How to conduct a job analysis

Job analysis is important as it provides an effective recruitment strategy. It also helps you have better performance in training which in turn increase your employee productivity and performance. Nonetheless, to have well job analysis process, you need to follow certain steps. The steps are described below.

You should decide how to use information since this will determine what and how to collect data. Data collection techniques such as interview and questionnaire are good for writing a job description and selecting employees for a job.  

You should, then, review appropriate background information such as charts, process charts, and job description. These charts will help you show organisation-wide work division and how the job in question relates to other jobs. Thus, you can decide where the job fits in the organisation. Your chart should show the title of each position and report to whom and with whom job incumbent communicates.

Next, you should select representative positions to analyse the job. For example, it will be unnecessary to analyse jobs of 200 assembly workers when a sample of 10 jobs will be sufficient. Therefore, a representative can help you cut the cost and time of this work.

You should verify your job analysis information to employees who perform the job and his/her supervisor. This step will help confirm that your information is based on fact, correct, and complete.

Lastly, you should develop a job description and job specification. A job description should be in a written statement that describes the activities and responsibilities of a job. It is also important to include features such as working conditions and safety hazards. Job specification should summarise the personal qualities, traits, skills, and background required for completing a certain job.

Read also: Data Analysis Skills in Demand for Jobs of the Future