Having employees fill out questionnaires to describe their job related duties and responsibilities are another popular way to obtain job analysis information.

Here, 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 of specific duties or tasks (such as change and splice wire). He or she is asked to indicate whether or not he or she poems 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 questionnaire often falls between these two extremes. As illustrated a typical job analysis questionnaire might have several open ended questions (such as state your job’s overall purpose) as well as structured questions (concerning, for instance, previous education required).

Whether structured or unstructured, questionnaires have both pros and cons. A questionnaire is a quick an 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, deign engineer). Nor is it useful if the employee only occasionally engages in important activities, such as nurse who handles emergencies. And reactivity – the worker’s changing what he or she normally does because you are watching can also be a problem.

Mangers 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 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 s possible, you interview the worker. Ask the person to clarify points not understood and to explain what other activities he or she performs that you don’t observe. You can also observe and interview simultaneously asking questions while the worker performs his or her job.

Participant Diary / Logs:

Diary / log: Daily listings made by workers of every activity in which they engage along with the each activity takes.

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

Diary / logs have gone high tech. Some firms give employee 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. This approach can avoid one pitfall of the traditional diary / log method: relying on worker to remember what they did hours earlier then they complete their logs at the end of the day.

Comments are closed.