Methods of collecting Job Analysis information

There are various ways to collect information on the duties, responsibilities, and activities of a job, and in this article we’ll discuss the same. In practice you could use any one of them, or you could combine the techniques that best fit your purpose. Thus, an interview might be appropriate for creating a job description whereas the position analysis questionnaire may be more appropriate for quantifying the worth of a job for compensation purposes.

Conducting the job analysis usually involves a joint effort by HR specialists, the worker, and the worker’s supervisor. The HR specialist (perhaps a HR manager, job analyst, consultant) might observe and analyze the job and then develop a job description and specification. The supervisor and worker may fill out questionnaires listing the subordinate’s activities. The supervisor and worker may then review and verify the job analyst’s conclusions regarding the job’s activities and duties.

In practice firms usually collect job analysis data from multiple “subject matter experts” mostly job incumbents using questionnaires and interview. They then average data from several employees from different departments to determine how much time a typical employee spends on each of several specific tasks. The problem is that employees who have the same job title but work in different departments may experience very different pressures. Therefore, simply adding up and averaging the amount of time that, say HR assistants need to devote to “interviewing candidates” could end in misleading results. The point is that one must understand the job’s departmental context: The ways someone with a particular job title spends his or her time is not necessarily the same from department to department.

Interviews, questionnaires, observations and diary/logs are the most popular methods for gathering job analysis data. They all provide realistic information about what job incumbents actually do. Managers use them for developing job descriptions and job specification.

Managers use three types of interviews to collect job analysis data – individual interviews with each employee, group interviews with groups of employees who have the same job, and supervisor interviews with one or more supervisors who know the job. They use group interviews when a large number of employees are performing similar or identical work, since it can be a quick and inexpensive way to gather information. As a rule, the workers’ immediate supervisor attends the group session; if not, you can interview the supervisor separately to get that person’s perspective on the job’s duties and responsibilities.

Whichever kind of interview you use, you need to be sure the interviewee fully understands the reason for the interview, since there’s a tendency for such interviews to be viewed, rightly or wrongly, as “efficiency evaluation.” If so interviewees may hesitate to describe their jobs accurately.

Pros and Cons: The interview is probably the most widely used method for identifying a job’s duties and responsibilities, and its wide use reflects its advantages. It’s a relatively simple and quick way to collect information, including information that might never appear on a written form. A skilled interviewer can unearth important activities that occur only occasionally, or informal contacts that wouldn’t be obvious from the organization chart. The interview also provides an opportunity to explain the need for and functions of the job analysis. And the employee can vent frustrations that might otherwise go unnoticed by management.

Distortion of information is the main problem – whether due to outright falsification or honest misunderstanding. Job analysis is often
A prelude to changing a job’s pay rate: Employees therefore may legitimately view the interview as an efficiency evaluation that may affect their pay. They may then tend to exaggerate certain responsibilities while minimizing others. Obtaining valid information can thus be a slow process and prudent analysts get multiple inputs.

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