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What Is Job Analysis?

What Is Job Analysis?

Imagine this: Your boss asks you to start recruiting for a software developer. You have an idea of what software developers can do for your company, but you don’t really know what level of expertise is required for the specific role. The task feels very daunting. What steps can you take to analyze the job specifications and requirements for the role? 



What Is Job Analysis? 

Job analysis is the process of gathering information and studying a job to determine the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to perform the job. Job analysis also assesses the job’s importance on the global market and relative to a particular industry. Conducting job analysis as the first step in the recruitment process will help you understand the kind of candidate you should be interviewing. 

HR should partner with hiring managers to conduct the job analysis. Hiring managers will have a better understanding of the gaps that a new hire will need to fill. As HR, you will likely be more involved in recruiting than writing the job description. Upon completing the job analysis, the hiring manager should feel confident in their ability to write a strong and accurate job description for the role


What Is the Purpose of Job Analysis?

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management outlines three main uses for job analysis data: 

1. To establish and document competencies required for a job

2. To identify the job-relatedness of the tasks and competencies needed to successfully perform the job

3. To provide a source of legal defensibility of assessment and selection procedures

Job analysis data can also be used to determine compensation, training needs, requirements of the job, promotions, and the job’s worth to an organization. 

Through the job analysis process, employers should also be able to assign new positions to a “job family”. A job family is a group of related jobs with broadly similar content. 

For example, a content writer might fall into the “Content Creators” family. Each member of the job family will likely have different tasks specific to their role and broader tasks that all members of the family handle as a team. 


What Kind of Information Should Be Collected for Job Analysis?

Begin your job analysis by collecting information that differentiates the job from other jobs, such as: 

  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the job
  • Machines, equipment, or programs used 
  • Working conditions
  • Performance standards 
  • Interactions with others
  • Work activities
  • Level of supervision for the role 

The O*NET Content Model describes six categories of day-to-day aspects of a job that should also be taken into account during the job analysis: 

  • Worker Characteristics: abilities, occupational interests, work values, and work styles
  • Worker Requirements: skills, knowledge, education
  • Experience Requirements: experience and training, skills (entry requirement licensing)
  • Occupational Requirements: work activities (general, intermediate, and detailed)
  • Workforce Characteristics: labor market information, occupational outlook
  • Occupation-Specific Information: title, description, alternate titles, tasks, tools, and technologies


How to Perform Job Analysis

One way to perform job analysis is to track the work-days of employees who hold similar positions to the one you are interviewing for. You can use a Time and Motion Study Form to have current employees of the same “job family” track the amount of time they spend on job-related activities during their work day. This will help you clearly define the day-to-day responsibilities of the role. 

Conducting face-to-face interviews with employees in similar roles can also help you define responsibilities. Potential interview questions include:

  • What is the particular contribution of the job to the organization’s overall mission?
  • What are the job duties necessary for job performance? 
  • What are the basic minimum qualifications needed for the job? (including a driver’s license, or a drug test)
  • What equipment is used in the work setting? 
  • What are the expected results of the job? 
  • What are the necessary physical and mental requirements needed to accomplish the job? 
  • What specific training is necessary? (including education, experience, and certifications)


Are There Any Legal Implications for Job Analysis? 

Especially with the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, job analysis has grown in importance. While a job description is not a legally binding contract, an inaccurate job description can still cause legal issues. In order to avoid hefty discrimination or FLSA lawsuits, employers must be very specific, fair, and accurate when writing job descriptions and selecting candidates. 

For more insight on job analysis, check out our HR Party of One Episode on determining the Market Value of an Employee! 


Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up to date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • Resource Library—essential guides covering a comprehensive list of HR topics
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics
  • Community—the HR Party of One Community forum, a place devoted to HR professionals to ask questions, learn more, and help others


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