Job analysis is a critical element in the process of recruitment. When advertising an existing role, consider what responsibilities are currently involved in the job and what could be added or taken away now you’re hiring someone new.

Why carry out a job analysis?

It’s vital to know exactly what you’re looking for in a new employee before you start the recruitment process. A job analysis is the process used to collect information about the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and work environment of a particular job. You need as much information as possible about the job in order to put together an effective job description.

The job analysis should answer the following questions:

  • What does the job involve? What sort of tasks? What sort of skills will be needed to carry out those tasks: manual skills, clerical skills, selling skills, leadership skills? 
  • What sort of knowledge: equipment, software, foreign languages? 
  • What sort of attitudes? Does the candidate need to be friendly, flexible, caring, etc?
  • In what context is the job performed? Is it in constant contact with customers or other staff?
  • What levels of responsibility are there? Who would the jobholder report to and what type of supervision will they require?                   
  • How would working conditions impact upon the type of person who would fit the job requirements?

How to gather the information

There are a number of ways you can gather the information for a job analysis. Listed below are some people from which you might gain a clearer picture of the job requirements:

  • Someone who has held the job in the past – this person will have a great deal of information about the job, although it may be biased depending on their experience. If the job is a new one, you will need to speak the next most accurate source;
  • The group or team in which the job is to be performed - in a smaller business unit, working under pressure, existing staff are likely to be doing the job already to some extent; and,
  • The boss or the person who is directly responsible for supervising the new job – it is important to bear in mind that this is not a very accurate source of job-related information as this person might offer criteria related to their own preferences. 

Where possible you should always use more than one information source when deciding what it is that the job requires. 

If you're having trouble getting the information you need from the above sources, try talking to employees and supervisors at other companies that have similar positions.

An important concept in job analysis is that it is an evaluation of the job, not the person doing the job. The final product from a job analysis includes a thorough understanding of the essential functions of the job, a list of all duties and responsibilities, a percentage of time spent for each group of tasks, the job’s relative importance in comparison with other jobs, the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the job, and the conditions under which the work is completed.

Once a thorough job analysis has been completed, you’ll be able to put together a job description and begin the recruitment process with the knowledge that you know exactly what you’re looking for. 

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