Job Analysis Concept & Methods

Devon Denomme, Sudha Aravindan
  • Author
    Devon Denomme

    Devon has tutored for almost two years. They have a Bachelor's in Air Traffic Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and minored in Aviation Safety and Homeland Security. They also are AT-CTI certified.

  • Instructor
    Sudha Aravindan

    Sudha Aravindan has taught high school Math and professional development in Information Technology for over 10 years. Sudha has a Doctorate of Education degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Delaware, USA, a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Kerala, India, a Bachelor of Education degree in Teaching of Math from the University of Kerala, India, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Math, Physics and Statistics from the University of Kerala, India. Sudha has a certificate in Java programming and Statistical Analysis.

Learn all about job analysis. Read a detailed definition of job analysis, understand the job analysis process and its methods, and see examples of job analysis. Updated: 01/03/2022

Job Analysis Definition

Before a prospective employee can apply for a job, the human resources department within an organization must complete the primary steps in the recruitment process. Recruitment is used by an organization to find the best-suited candidates for available positions in the most economical and timely manner. The first step in the recruitment process is for HR to conduct a job analysis, which is the most effective technique used to collect information about open roles and the responsibilities they entail.

Job analysis is the process of gathering and analyzing information about available positions, the content and context of their performance, and the objectives that must be met by employees who will fill the roles. Job analyses help an organization obtain detailed information about the responsibilities and skills required of a role, identify specific tasks, and describe outcomes in the work environment. Most often, a job analysis performed by HR helps to create a job description, or summary of the analyzed role, that can be later advertised to interested applicants and continue the recruitment process.


Job analysis is the process of collecting and analyzing data about the roles and responsibilities of an available position within an organization. Job analyses are conducted by the HR department, which handles all affairs related to personnel.

job analysis definition


A job analysis can be beneficial to an organization for many reasons. Primarily, it allows the recruitment process to begin, meaning that profits can be grown and organizational objectives can be met more quickly once applicants are hired and the recruitment process is complete. A few other important purposes of a job analysis are:

  • It determines the best methods to conduct further analysis, such as by interview, observation, or questionnaire.
  • It creates documentation on employee roles and procedures so that information may later be used for training, appraisal, and compensation.
  • It helps to realize the requirements and responsibilities of a position, establishing the qualifications and experience needed by applicants.
  • It determines how the role relates to other positions in the organization.
  • It ensures the job is performed in accordance with federal laws (such as the ADA) and company standards, identifies physical requirements, and ensures reasonable accommodations are provided.
  • It allows positional change to be predicted more effectively so changes can take place over time.

Job Analysis: Definition & Purpose

Laura was hired as a human resources administrator at a local company. One of her first tasks was to perform a job analysis for one of the positions that was going to be vacant soon because of the employee's retirement; this required Laura to evaluate the position and help the company make decisions on recruitment and hiring. A job analysis helps a company to gather detailed information about the responsibilities and skills required for a job, as well as about the outcomes and work environment.

Laura met with the senior administrators of her company to understand what the expectations were. She learned that the purpose of a job analysis includes:

  • Deciding on an appropriate method to conduct the analysis — observation, interview, or questionnaire
  • Documenting the employment procedures at the company so that the information can be utilized for training, appraisal, and compensation
  • Identifying the correct parameters required for fully understanding the responsibilities of the job and selecting the right person for the job based on qualifications and experience
  • Analyzing the job and not the person to determine the activities, responsibilities, and importance in relation to other jobs
  • Ensuring the job conforms to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), identifying the physical requirements of the job, and ensuring reasonable accommodations are provided
  • Analyzing and predicting the changes that may occur to the responsibilities of a job over a period of time for redesign

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  • 1:34 Methods of Job Analysis
  • 2:30 Recruiting and Hiring
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Job Analysis Process

The job analysis process is often rigorously conducted to ensure that HR creates the most accurate job description and provides applicants with the most favorable chances of selection. There are many steps in job analysis that must be completed for the most detailed organizational scope and expectations to be defined, first beginning with a review of job requirements for the available role. The position is examined by human resources representatives, input is gathered from subject matter experts, and performance standards are evaluated to measure the impact of the role on other organizational duties. Similar jobs in competitor companies may also be examined to set more elaborate expectations for prospective employees.

Following a preliminary review, data can be collected about the job, which includes the determination of skills and abilities required to perform the job, the identification of working conditions, and the definition of potentially beneficial human talents and experiences possessed by candidates. Analysis of the role and the performance of existing employees are documented for later use, verification, and assistance in the creation of a detailed job description. The job description includes specific information about the responsibilities of an available position. After a job analysis (and resulting job description) have been created, they should be continuously updated as a role evolves.

Job Analysis Methods

Many job analysis methods exist so that human resources departments can remain flexible to reach the largest amount of candidates possible. Further, they can provide candidates with the most detailed job descriptions by using a combination of the following methods, each of which involves observing current employees and similar roles in other organizations to deliver the most accurate and detailed scope of operations. The most commonly used job analysis methods include:

  • Open-ended questionnaires
  • Structured questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Work diary or log
  • Behavioral event interview

The following sections will describe the main characteristics of each method of job analysis, explore the advantages and disadvantages of their use, and explain the purpose and application of each in an organizational setting.

Open-Ended Questionnaires

One of the most popular job analysis methods is to collect data through questionnaires, which can either be open-ended or structured. Open-ended questionnaires require managers or current employees to answer questions related to the knowledge, skills, and abilities an open role may require in their own words or thoughts. The responses are collected by HR and a statement about the collective answers is published. Open-ended questionnaires are helpful for obtaining input from employees and managers about a role and analyzing a job with few resources. A downside to this method is that the questionaires may not be taken seriously by all employees or may not offer any constructive input.


Questionnaires are a commonly used form of job analysis to gather input from employees of an organization. They can be open-ended and allow users to be creative in their responses or more structured to record pre-determined responses.

job analysis methods


Structured Questionnaires

Structured questionnaires are similar to open-ended questionnaires in that managers and employees are asked a series of questions related to a position within the organization. However, a structured questionnaire only allows specific, pre-determined responses to be recorded, meaning that users select the answer that is most agreeable to them. Structured questionnaires are very beneficial to HR because they provide concrete responses with desired amounts of input. However, the use of structured questionnaires may also limit the detail found in an open-ended response and not allow users to express their full opinions. An organization may choose to use both open-ended and structured questionnaires to obtain the most thorough and beneficial results.

For example, following the determination by managers for the need of additional personnel, the HR department may distribute a Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ) to employees. One form of the PAQ is open-ended, meaning users can provide their own input, while a second version contains predetermined responses for the users to fill in the choice they most agree with. PAQ documents are used to assess activities performed in a role, mental processes, inputs and outputs, job context, and relationships with other roles in the organization.

Interviews

Interviews are another popular method of job analysis because they consider input from someone who is currently working in the role. Through the answers to pre-determined questions in a face-to-face setting, the human resources department can gain a better understanding of everyday tasks, duties, and responsibilities carried out in the role, further enabling them to create a more detailed job description for potential applicants. Interviews are advantageous because they are hands-on and allow for follow-up questions. They work especially well in professional fields. Interviews may be disadvantageous, however, because they are time-consuming and do not allow a respondent to remain anonymous.

Observation

Observation is another job analysis method commonly used by HR departments to collect information about a position. During observation, employees are actively and directly viewed while performing job tasks and demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and abilities required by a job. The observations are translated into data by the HR department. The practice of observation is highly useful to a company because it provides a realistic view of daily tasks carried out in a role. Observation is particularly helpful in gathering data about jobs related to production, management, or the operation/maintenance of equipment. It may not be beneficial, however, if the observer is not knowledgeable or clear about the role being performed. Further, situations cannot be controlled, meaning that any response, disruption, or input could occur.

Methods of Job Analysis

Laura did some research on her own to decide on the methods she could use to conduct a job analysis. She learned that there are a number of methods, and she recorded her observations for further discussion with the company management.

These job analysis methods include:

  • Interviews: She would interview the person who is currently on the job to understand the everyday tasks, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Questionnaires: She would use the Position Analysis Questionnaire, or PAQ, to assess activities, mental processes, output, interpersonal relationships, and job context.
  • She can also use the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), an online database that provides multiple ways in which a job can be described as well as cross-job comparisons and identification of worker characteristics, requirements, occupational requirements, and educational requirements.

Recruiting and Hiring

Laura's supervisor Julie explained to Laura that the requirements of the job as identified through the analysis process would be used for recruiting and hiring a new employee. Laura and Julie discussed that, before posting the job, they would refer to the job analysis report provided by Laura to make decisions on the position description and the candidate's interview. In particular, the report should help with the following recruiting aspects:

  • Describing the desired qualifications of the candidate, including duties and responsibilities
  • Prioritizing the qualifications required for the job
  • Designing interview questions, screening tools, and scoring systems

After the position is posted and the candidates apply for the job, the next challenge is to hire the right candidate. Laura presented the following ideas to Julie on how to identify the ideal candidate for the position:

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Video Transcript

Job Analysis: Definition & Purpose

Laura was hired as a human resources administrator at a local company. One of her first tasks was to perform a job analysis for one of the positions that was going to be vacant soon because of the employee's retirement; this required Laura to evaluate the position and help the company make decisions on recruitment and hiring. A job analysis helps a company to gather detailed information about the responsibilities and skills required for a job, as well as about the outcomes and work environment.

Laura met with the senior administrators of her company to understand what the expectations were. She learned that the purpose of a job analysis includes:

  • Deciding on an appropriate method to conduct the analysis — observation, interview, or questionnaire
  • Documenting the employment procedures at the company so that the information can be utilized for training, appraisal, and compensation
  • Identifying the correct parameters required for fully understanding the responsibilities of the job and selecting the right person for the job based on qualifications and experience
  • Analyzing the job and not the person to determine the activities, responsibilities, and importance in relation to other jobs
  • Ensuring the job conforms to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), identifying the physical requirements of the job, and ensuring reasonable accommodations are provided
  • Analyzing and predicting the changes that may occur to the responsibilities of a job over a period of time for redesign

Methods of Job Analysis

Laura did some research on her own to decide on the methods she could use to conduct a job analysis. She learned that there are a number of methods, and she recorded her observations for further discussion with the company management.

These job analysis methods include:

  • Interviews: She would interview the person who is currently on the job to understand the everyday tasks, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Questionnaires: She would use the Position Analysis Questionnaire, or PAQ, to assess activities, mental processes, output, interpersonal relationships, and job context.
  • She can also use the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), an online database that provides multiple ways in which a job can be described as well as cross-job comparisons and identification of worker characteristics, requirements, occupational requirements, and educational requirements.

Recruiting and Hiring

Laura's supervisor Julie explained to Laura that the requirements of the job as identified through the analysis process would be used for recruiting and hiring a new employee. Laura and Julie discussed that, before posting the job, they would refer to the job analysis report provided by Laura to make decisions on the position description and the candidate's interview. In particular, the report should help with the following recruiting aspects:

  • Describing the desired qualifications of the candidate, including duties and responsibilities
  • Prioritizing the qualifications required for the job
  • Designing interview questions, screening tools, and scoring systems

After the position is posted and the candidates apply for the job, the next challenge is to hire the right candidate. Laura presented the following ideas to Julie on how to identify the ideal candidate for the position:

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the job analysis process?

Job analysis begins following the determination for the need of additional personnel to fill open roles within an organization. The human resources department starts by reviewing job requirements for the role and gathering input from subject matter experts. They may also compare positional requirements in their own organization with those of a competitor to create the most accurate scope of need. Following review, HR representatives collect data through questionnaires, interviews, observation, and work logs to determine requirements of performance, skills, and abilities. This information is used to create a detailed job description to advertise to applicants later in the recruitment process. It may also be used during screening, training, and performance appraisal.

What is the meaning of job analysis?

Job analysis is the process of collecting and analyzing data about an available position within an organization, the concepts and context of the role in relation to other organizational positions, and the skills and responsibilities required of applicants to the open role. Job analyses are used in multiple organizations and fields as part of the recruitment process to find the best-suited candidates for a position in the most cost-effective and timely manner possible.

What are job analysis methods in HRM?

Human resource departments use a number of differed job analysis methods to obtain the most useful scope of information about an organizational role. Each method takes input from existing employees or experienced individuals within the organization to determine job requirements and skills needed by prospective applicants. These include:

  • Open-ended questionnaires
  • Structured questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Work diary or log
  • Behavioral event interview

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