Job analysis is the process which uses a variety of methods to analyze the requirements of a job. It identifies and determines in detail specific duties in a particular job, its requirements and the relative importance of these duties for it. One of the important concepts about job analysis is that, the analysis conducted is of the job rather than of a person. Though the data collected for job analysis may be from incumbents through different questionnaires and interviews, the actual product of the analysis is the specification or description of the job, not of the person. Job analysis requires for a job to be investigated in sufficient detail to enable assessment of the performance of the workers already working in a particular position and to recruit further workers for a particular job.

The application of Job Analysis

The purpose of job analysis is basically to document and establish how a job relates to employment procedures for instance, selection, performance appraisal, training and compensation. Job analysis includes the following activities:

•    Analyzing the work tasks, responsibilities and duties that need to be completed by the employee, filling the position
•    Reviewing job responsibilities of current employees
•    Conducting research
•    Viewing sample job description and highlighting similar jobs in research
•    Sharing research with other companies about similar job descriptions
•    Articulating most possible and important outcomes or contributions which are needed from the position.

Job analysis analyzes and collects information on the following aspects of a job:

•    Environment
•    Tools and equipment
•    Relationships
•    Requirements
•    Tasks and duties

Job analysis is also used in performance review to develop and identify the following:

•    Performance standards
•    Evaluation criteria
•    Duties to be evaluated
•    Length of probationary period
•    Goals and objectives

The purpose of Job Analysis

Job analysis is conducted to prepare the job description and job description of a particular job. This process helps organizations to hire the right person for the right job as well as recruiting the right quality of workforce in the organization. The general purpose of job analysis however, is to document the basic requirements of a job and the work to be performed. This procedure is performed as a basis for later improvements once the selection is done, this may include:

•    Selection systems
•    Describing a job
•    Definition of a job domain
•    Training needs
•    Assessment
•    Developing
•    Performance appraisal
•    Compensation plans
•    Promotion criteria

In the field of Industrial Psychology and Human Resources, job analysis is often used to get information for use in training, personnel selection, classification of workforce and compensation. Job analysis is used in the field of vocational rehabilitation to determine the physical requirements of a particular job and to determine if an individual who has suffered or is suffering from some diminished capacity, is capable of performing the job either with or without accommodation. Besides that job analysis is also used by professionals who develop certification exams “to determine the elements of the domain which must be sampled in order to create a content valid exam. When a job analysis is conducted for the purpose of valuing the job (i.e., determining the appropriate compensation for incumbents) this is called “job evaluation.”

Methods used in Job Analysis

There are many ways to conduct a job analysis which include: questionnaires, interview with incumbents, interviews with supervisors [which may be either open ended or closed ended sometimes both], observation, investigations, gathering present and background information such as classification specifications and duty statements. Other methods that exist may be used individually or in combination of the following:

•    Expert panels
•    Reviews of job classification systems
•    Structured questionnaires
•    Task inventories
•    Incumbent work logs
•    Checklists

Job analysis’ conducted by human resource professionals commonly use more than one of the above mentioned methods. Other classifications in job analysis methods are work-oriented methods and worker oriented methods:

Work-oriented methods

Work orientation deals with understanding the job that is done in terms of the outcomes and the efforts made to achieve those specific outcomes. Work-oriented methods can be used for both recruitment of new staff and improvement of existing workforce. The following are used for work-oriented methods:

•    Observation: where the researcher watches what needs to be done
•    Self reports: reports are given by the incumbent with the use of logs and diaries
•    Participation: this requires the researcher to do the job
•    Process analysis: Breaking down the activities into parts
•    Structured questionnaire: Checklists to organize.

Worker-oriented methods

These methods focus on the person and his experience and perception as a worker, these methods may include the following activities:

•    Repertory Grid
•    Critical incident technique
•    Interview

Potential problems in Job Analysis

The most basic problem with job analysis is that it may not be entirely accurate, because the information gathered may not turn out to be as good as hoped for and secondly there is a question about its stability in the system over time. These two problems are explained below:

Accuracy

Accuracy in terms of response may be affected because of a number of issues which may include:
•    The informant may not be telling the truth
•    Errors of misunderstanding are likely to occur [cognitive]

o    Difficulty in understanding the job description
o    Over-emphasizing similarities
o    Confirmation by the assessor of their typecasting of the role

•    Organizational context shapes how the job needs to be done
•    Job not being done properly [behavioral]
•    Personal motivation [affective]
•    Distortions may affect perception about the job
•    Personal or political reasons may affect perception about the job

Stability

The following items may affect stability

•    Jobs changing over time
•    Effects of technology
•    Employee determined changes for instance improvements
•    Environmental factors, changes in laws or business climate

So when conducting a job analysis, you need to put as much data together as u can. A job description is the frequent outcome of a job analysis; however different outcomes may include position postings, recruiting plans, advertisements etc for your performance management systems.