Internet Based Job Analysis

Most of these job analysis methods suffer from one or more of several problems. Face to face interviews and observations can be low and time consuming. The information (usually collected orally or in writing) is difficulty to update quickly. Collecting the information from internationally dispersed employees is challenging.

Internet based job analysis is an obvious solution: The use of online methodologies for surveys, including job analysis surveys, has increased dramatically in recent years and most companies choose to use the Internet or intranet to collect this type of data. Thus the human resource department may distribute standardized job analysis questionnaires to geographically disbursed employees via their company intranet, with instructions to complete the forms and return them by a particular date.

Although widely used, this practice creates its own problems. Most importantly, without job analyst / facilitator actually sitting there and interacting with the employee or supervisor there’s always a chance that important points won’t be uncovered or that misunderstandings will cloud the results.

The US Navy Project: A recent report describes how a new web based job analysis procedure for the US navy helps overcome this problem. The challenge was to develop a system that would allow the collection of job related information with minimal intervention and guidance, so that system could be used in a distributed manner using the World Wide Web to access the system. The basic aim was to reduce ambiguities by having respondents complete step by step structured forms.

In this procedure the system doesn’t ask the subject matter experts (the job incumbents, supervisors, or others who know the jobs) about the jobs in question as a whole. Instead, the process is as follows:

1) It presents them with a set of general work activities obtained from the Department of Labor online job analysis systems O*NET work activities list. Figure lists some of these activities such as Information Input category and Interacting with Others Category.
2) It directs them to select those work activities that are relevant to their job.
3) It asks them to list specific duties of their jobs that fit each of those selected standard work activities (For instance, if any employee chose getting information as a work activity that was relevant to his o her job, he might here list one or more specific job duties from the job are relevant to getting information perhaps such as watch for new orders from our customers an bring them to the boss’s attention.

The method proved to be a reliable and valid way to collect job related information online.

A Final Point: Use Multiple Sources to collect the data

We’ve seen that there are many ways to obtain job analysis information, including from individual workers groups, or supervisors; or from the observation of job analysts. You can use interviews, observations, or questionnaires.

Some firms use a single approach, like having the job analysts do interviews with current job incumbents. Yet one study suggests that using just one source is not wise. The problem is that any single approach has potential drawbacks. For example in a group interview, some group members may feel pressure to go along with the group’s consensus, or an employee may be careless about how he or she completes a questionnaire. Collecting job analysis data from just interviews or just observation, may thus lead to inaccurate conclusions. It’s better to use several sources. For example, where possible collect job analysis data from several types of respondents – groups, individuals, observers, supervisors, and analysts.