Conducting a job analysis

The workplace is becoming an even more dynamic environment.

Jobs become increasingly less manual and more automatic, reporting structures are becoming more virtual, the marketplace becoming 24/7 and employees becoming more cross-functional than ever before.

This puts pressure on employers and HR professionals to make sure that job information is up-to-date. Without this accurate information, all other HR practices cannot be built.

The understanding of jobs is needed for recruitment, training, performance management and compensation and rewards.

The process of ensuring through reviews and analysis of jobs, that the job information is accurate and correct is called job analysis. This analysis is usually done in conjunction with a compensation study.

Typically, job analysis tends to analyse different aspects of a job in a systematic method. Data may be collected through different sources and it is not a requirement that the analysis is done by speaking to the person/s currently performing the job. Former job holders or managers/supervisors may be good sources. The job incumbent may also be a good source, however, one must make sure that s/he can be objective. There is the risk of the job incumbent giving unrealistic importance to his/her own tasks and duties.

A combination of sources may be a good option as it can provide the job analyst their own perspectives on the job.

Data is collected through the use of a questionnaire (a job information questionnaire) and very often, done through an interview with the incumbent. Job incumbents may be asked to also record their daily duties and the time spent on such duties on a log sheet. The accuracy of such log must be kept in mind by the incumbent.  Job analysts may also decide to observe the incumbent carry out the job, however if the job is carried out in hazardous environments, then this is not usually possible. Another option is performing the job itself. This is usually done for entry-level jobs and ones which are not highly specialized.

If there is more than one person carrying out the job, then the information listed below must be collected from more than one person. In such cases, it is even more important that information is collected from their managers/supervisors.

It aims to gather information on:

  • what the incumbent does and where s/he does it from,
  • whether the incumbent has any authority,
  • what type of decisions s/he takes and what is the risk level of such decisions,
  • what is required for the job to be carried out,
  • who the incumbent interacts with, both internally and externally,
  • whether the job requires any physical demands,
  • what educational background and experience (if any) is required for the incumbent to carry out this job,
  • what training is needed for someone to carry out this role and,
  • what knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) are required to perform the job.

Job analysis should be carried out periodically, particularly when:

  • you need to recruit someone new for the job; and
  • if work methods are changing in the organisation.

One last crucial aspect of a job analysis is the way it is carried out. For the above information to be collected and analysed correctly, it must be kept in mind that the study is evaluating the job, and not the person who is carrying out the job. This process is not a performance review.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over fifteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.