Job analysis in human resource management (HRM) refers to the process of identifying and determining the duties, responsibilities, and specifications of a given job. It encompasses the collection of data required to put together a job description that will attract the right person to fill in the role. Job analysis in HRM helps establish the level of experience, qualifications, skills and knowledge needed to perform a job successfully.
Now, there are obviously a vast number of different techniques that facilitate the job analysis process that HR can use to ensure an employee is performing at their best (or if they are fit for the role at all).
However, we can really boil these down to 3 job analysis methods that every HR professional needs to know.
Job Analysis Method: Interview
With this job analysis method, job analysts conduct interviews with incumbents to collect information about their tasks and how they are coping with them. Interviews can be structured and unstructured depending on your corporate culture.
Structured interviews follow a systematic approach where employees are interviewed accurately and consistently, following a preset format. In a structured interview, you typically see that:
- All interviewees are asked the same questions in the same order.
- Interviewers record, compare and evaluate answers against standardized criteria.
- The interview process remains the same even if the interviewer changes.
Thanks to this consistency, structured interviews have a high level of reliability and validity.
Unstructured interviews, on the other hand, unravel without a preset structure. The interview process is carried out as a conversation with no specific questions predefined. Nevertheless, the interviewer should make the purpose and focus of the interview clear to the employees. Namely, that the purpose of the interview is to understand their job role better in order to improve or modify their role. In an unstructured interview, you typically see that:
- Interviewees may receive different questions or the same questions may be asked in a different order.
- Interviewers don’t always use standardized criteria for recording, comparing and evaluating answers.
- The interview process varies depending on the interviewer.
Using interviews as the only job analysis method has several drawbacks, too. One disadvantage of using the interview job analysis method is that employees may exaggerate or omit vital details. To overcome this possible issue, HR professionals and job analysts should interview more than one employee in the same position (if applicable). This will provide more reliable results and data for the job analysts and HR professionals to work with.
Think of this as a scientific study where you need a larger pool of clients to make the results solid. You can't determine how a role works with only one person's opinion - you need a larger sample size to see what is the same and different across the board.
Job Analysis Method: Questionnaires
As the name suggests, the questionnaire job analysis method requires employees, supervisors, and managers to fill out forms, namely questionnaires. It’s one of the most widely used job analysis methods because it’s inexpensive to create and easy to distribute to numerous individuals at a faster rate. Questionnaires can have different question forms, such as open-ended questions, multiple choice, checklists or a mix of all of them.
Questionnaires used for job analysis collect data about all aspects that influence how a job is completed, including both internal and external factors. These are the most common areas that questionnaires focus on:
- Knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications
- Duties performed daily
- Duties performed less frequently
- Equipment and materials used for duties
- Time spent on different job duties
- Physical and emotional input
- Level of job satisfaction
- Salary and compensation
- Work conditions
- Additional comments
Although questionnaires help begin the job analysis process, they are not enough to collect data that is both reliable and useful. They merely scratch the surface of job analysis. In fact, questionnaires do have several disadvantages, such as question misinterpretation, high non-response rates and inaccurate information given by participants. And inaccurate data is the complete opposite of what job analysts aim for.
Going back to the scientific example. Questionnaires create that larger sample size but do so in a way that is less authentic and, therefore, less impactful.
It’s important that job analysis in HRM yields reliable information. Therefore, it’s best to combine questionnaires with other job analysis methods. This will help job analysts retain and improve work conditions for current incumbents, as well as create a job description that will attract the right talent for future openings.
Job Analysis Method: Observation
The observation method enables job analysts to observe employees in their daily routines. The information collected through observation is extremely useful and reliable since it’s via first-hand knowledge. Observation is the only job analysis method that allows the job analyst or HR professional to directly obtain the data, whereas other job analysis methods collect data indirectly and in an orchestrated environment.
When using this particular method, a job analyst observes an employee and records what they do and do not do. This helps job analysts and HR professionals reach a more reliable conclusion. However, even the observation method comes with flaws. Some of the disadvantages of using the observation job analysis method include:
- Distortion of information if an employee is aware of the observation.
- Awareness may affect the work output during the observation.
- Not all job duties and reactions can be observed in the set time frame.
- Higher managerial and executive roles may be difficult to observe fully.
So, in other words, this process allows the analyst to create a wide-reaching sample pool while also understanding the factors at work when observing employees. It stands to reason that an employee will work harder when they know they are being analyzed - though it still gives the analyst a good framework to judge how well the role is being performed.
What Is the Purpose of Job Analysis in HRM?
Job analysis plays a significant part in the structure of HR departments. The job analysis process identifies the need for talent and recognizes the type of talent needed to fill it. Apart from assisting the preparations of a succinct job description, the purpose of job analysis in HRM extends to other areas in the HR department. Here are some of the main purposes of job analysis in HRM:
- Job designing and redesigning – By frequently using these three job analysis methods, HR managers, and job analysts can work to improve job specifications, increase professional output and incite company growth.
- Human resource recruitment and selection – Job analysis defines the type of person that is needed for a particular position. Job analysis data highlights the level of education, qualifications, experience, and skills that need to be held by ideal candidates. Additionally, job analysis helps develop advertisements, salary levels, interview questions, selection tests, evaluation forms, and orientation materials for new recruits.
- Determining training needs – Job analysis processes help HR professional develop adequate training procedures. Job analysis can determine training content, assessment tests, training equipment and methods of training.
- Establishing a compensation management policy – A well-defined compensation management policy helps organizations retain, motivate and guide current talent, while also attracting new talent. Job analysis processes aid HR professionals to develop an effective compensation management policy that focuses on elements such as pay scale, bonus and incentive plans, work environment and restructuring positions as needed.
- Conducting performance reviews – Using data from the job analysis process is necessary for when HR professionals carry out performance reviews. Job analysis clearly defines the objectives of a job and sets scalable goals for employees that reflect their performance.
Job analysis in HRM takes a lot of planning, structuring and analysis. However, the job analysis process is vital to the growth and success of an organization. Without the proper use of job analysis methods, HR professionals would have little to no success in talent acquisition and filling in the gaps within an organization.
When choosing the best job analysis method for your organization, you must consider all the efforts, costs, time and risks that go into job analysis. You may even need to combine two or more job analysis methods for maximum efficiency. Plan your job analysis process with the help of experienced HR professionals and job analysts to ensure reliable and valid data.