Methods of collecting Job Analysis Information

Having employee fill out questionnaire to describe their job-related duties in responsibilities is another good way to obtain job analysis information.

You have to decide how structured the questionnaire should be and what questions to include. Some questionnaires are very structured checklists. Each employee gets an inventory of perhaps hundreds of specific duties or tasks (such as ‘charge and splice wire’). He or she is asked to indicate whether or not he or she performs each task and, if so, how much time is normally spent on each. At the other extreme, the questionnaire can be open ended and simply ask the employee to ‘describe the major duties of your job’. In practice the best questionnaires often falls between these two extremes. As illustrated, a typical analysis questionnaire might have several open ended questions (such as ‘state your jobs’ overall purpose) as well as structured question concerning for instance, previous education required.

Whether structured or un-structured, questionnaires have both pros and cons. A questionnaire is a quick and efficient way to obtain information from a large number of employees; it’s less costly than interviewing hundreds of workers, for instance. However, developing the questionnaire and testing it perhaps by making sure the workers understand the questions can be expensive and time consuming.


Direct observation is especially useful when jobs consist mainly of observable physical activities—assembly-line worker and accounting clerk are examples. On the other hand, observation is usually not appropriate when the job entails a lot of mental activity– lawyer, design engineer. Nor is it useful if the employee only occasionally engages in important activities, such as a nurse who handles emergencies. And reactivity – the workers changing what he or she normally does because you are watching can also be a problem.

Managers often use direct observation and interviewing together. One approach is to observe the worker on the job during a complete work cycle. The cycle is the time it takes to complete the job; it could be a minute for an assembly line worker or an hour, a day, or longer for complex jobs. Here you take notes of all the job activities. Then, after accumulating as much information as possible, you interview the worker. Ask the person to clarify points understood and to explain what other activities he or she performs that you didn’t observe. You can also observe and interview simultaneously, asking questions the worker performs his or her job.

Participant Diary/Logs:

Another approach is to ask workers to keep a dairy/log of what they do during the day. For every activity he or she engages in, the employee records the activity (along with the time) in a log. This can produce a very complete picture of the job, especially when supplemented with subsequent interviews with the worker and the supervisor. The employees, of course might try to exaggerate some activities and underplay others. However, the detailed, chronological nature of the log tends to mediate against this.

Some firms take a high tech approach to dairy/logs. They give employees pocket dictating machines and pagers. Then at random times during the day, they page the workers, who dictate what they are doing at that time. His approach can avoid one pitfall of the traditional dairy/log method: relying on workers to remember what they did hours earlier when they complete their logs at the end of the day.

Quantitative Job Analysis Techniques:

Qualitative approaches like interviews and questionnaires are not always suitable. For example, if your aim is to compare jobs for pay purposes, you may want to be able to assign quantitative values to each job. The position analysis questionnaire, the Department of Labor approach, and functional job analysis are three popular Quantitative methods.