How to Conduct a Job Analysis, And The Importance of Doing So

28 October 2021
7 minute
How to Conduct a Job Analysis, And The Importance of Doing So

Jobs are changing and this is characterized by the developments of technology making many of the things we do quicker and importantly more efficient. Our performance is also changing at the same time so it is important to undertake a job analysis to better understand the tasks, responsibilities, skills, objectives, and work environment for a specific job and from this make decisions about training and development requirements or even compensation.

Conducting a job analysis has become an important function for HR and recruitment managers for a variety of reasons. A job analysis is the perfect opportunity to really assess what responsibilities are required in a role and what could be taken away or included providing the perfect setup to remove bad practices or inefficient uses of time which may have crept into the role over time.

In this guide you will learn what a job analysis is, why you need to carry one out, how to conduct a job analysis and how you can gather data on any job by completing one.

What is a job analysis?

A job analysis is basically an assessment of a position which looks at the specific tasks, responsibilities, skills, objectives, and work environment needed to perform a certain role and how that role affects other parts of the business. A major difference to a skills analysis is that a job analysis analyses the position instead of the employee doing the role. The goal of a job analysis is to better define the set of abilities that each position requires.

One of the key steps to a job analysis is when they are carried out - and this has typically come when a position is left and subsequently in recruitment. They help to carry out an effective job description, underlying what is accurately required in the role to the best of the recruitment managers knowledge.

A job analysis even goes beyond what is required for a job description, it is to clearly outline the professional standards used to complete the process regardless of the industry or business. It remains a powerful tool used to understand the core competencies required for a role within the business which can impact on other functions across the whole organisation such as software being used or how to operate a specific tool or machine.

Why carry out a job analysis

Being able to better understand details of a role, expectations, competencies, onboarding plans, day-to-day tasks and other competencies not mentioned in the job description, your organisation can take that information to better inform on initiatives such as:

Some of the many benefits provided by designing and creating company own job analysis include:

  • Identifies the kind of candidate you want based on their competencies
  • Better qualification of the candidate to insert into the onboarding process
  • Helps managers to accurately set goals over 30-60-90 days
  • Helps to form the bedrock of performance management reviews
  • Identifies and clearly defines duties associated with a job
  • Identifies the specific skills and capabilities required to fulfil a job
  • Informs the definition of a viable job description
  • Fosters continuous employee growth
  • Identifies risks associated with the job
  • Better provisions for offboarding if the candidate didn’t work out - it shouldn’t be a surprise to either party

How to conduct a job analysis

Conducting a job analysis is better served when using a structured, sequential approach in order to maximise the most amount of information you can take from the process.

During the whole analysis process you need to ask a variety of questions in order to get the information you need and from this develop the final analysis of the role. Questions can be grouped into different categories. 

1. Get information about the position 

You want to observe people currently in the role and ask them to clearly define what their duties are and compare to what the current job description of that role looks like. Ask questions such as; What does the job involve? What are your daily tasks and duties? Do you need experience with the software or skills required? How much experience is necessary to start the role afresh? 

2. Evaluate the importance of each task

Once you have a better understanding of the job, you can clearly evaluate the role by ranking the difficulty of each task and skill set. Observe which skills are more required than others, or require a greater knowledge to undertake the role - this may differ from your initial thoughts.

Understanding the resources needed to carry out the tasks will help such, equipment, software, language skills or specific process knowledge.

3. Research the industry

What are other people in the same roles across the industry required to do in their job roles? What are industry standards that have been established that you can learn from and develop into job analysis?

For example, what are the attitudes required to perform the job role based on what you have observed and what others are identifying in their postings?

4. Revise job descriptions

Once you have a clear understanding of the job role, you need to start revising your own job descriptions and the documentation that may be in a handbook about the role. You want to be able to set up a list of every task and skill set. Then, use this to modify an existing job description or create a new one that fits your analysis. 

Who does the job holder report to? What dependencies exist? What standards are you expecting from every candidate? 

These are important distinctions that you may have equally not observed but which are also based on professional guidelines you have seen from research.

5. Use data to make important changes

Data can provide the most important information required to make necessary decisions and changes that you may not have even considered before undertaking the job analysis report. Are the right tasks assigned to the right role in your organisation? Would moving people into different departments be a better fit? Are some departments overloaded with work whilst others are not? 

6. Define salary bands

One of the key things a job analysis also does is to define clear salary bands for a role. An analysis will uncover the required skills, work environment, responsibilities, education and more needed for deciphering an appropriate figure. What salary is your competition offering? What are the current salary brackets in your organisation? What skill requirement is needed to go up a level of salary within the team/department/organisation. 

Gathering job data

Being able to accurately gather information and profile a job in an analysis is essential. It can be done in different ways including:

  • Questionnaires

This is primarily completed by those who already know the job (managers, existing employees, previous employees etc.) These can be done blindly by department and even using something as simple as randomised questions to get a better feel about the roles, responsibilities and the competencies needed for the job.

  • Interviews

You need to talk to those who understand what’s involved. Asking an employee to give details about their job is one way to create an accurate job description. You need to think about specific tasks and also request a breakdown of the duties carried out by individuals in a certain position beforehand in order to conduct a good interview.

  • Observation

One of the best ways to identify what goes on in a role is through observation. Time and motion style studies of people in action. You as an employer may choose to watch employees complete their jobs and take notes of the tasks they complete and the skills needed for those tasks. Some job analysis benefits from observation such as physical processes and product outcomes.

  • Surveys

Like questionnaires, surveys can provide great data and information whilst also remaining relatively anonymous in their responses. Usually, a survey should be a highly structured form where employees use a scale to answer questions about the job.

  • Work logs 

Another good way to identify key skills within a role is by making your employees keep a work log for a certain period of time. This could be 30 days or 5 - you will notice patterns and repetition in areas and identify these are requirements within a job role. It can also help identify the time taken to complete certain tasks which can give you data you can work with.

In summary

A job analysis helps to recognise necessary skills and tasks, guide employee training and development, create evaluation methods and helps to determine salaries and promotion criteria. It can be used to strategically understand what is going on in the marketplace with your competitors as well as provide useful insights into your own business and how people are working.#

Using instruments such as the Thomas Job Profiling tool helps to identify and carry out which candidates will best fit your roles and company. Our talent assessment platform allows you to see beyond the CV, identify the aptitude as well as personality and behavioural traits that would best suit the role, and incorporate them seamlessly into your job profiling. 

The Thomas job profile builder allows you to pre-select the preferred characteristics to ensure you match your candidates to their ideal role. Once you've built your comprehensive job profile, you can use it to compare candidate assessment results. This solid foundation will give you the peace of mind you need to start recruiting the right people for the right roles.

If you would like to learn more, please speak to one of our team.

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