Job analysis definition: according to Recruitment and Selection in Canada a job analysis is “a systematic process for gathering, documenting, and analyzing data about the work required for a job”. It’s the first step in the recruitment process and an essential step in hiring the right candidate. Simply put, if you’re hiring someone you need to do an analysis of the role to determine what knowledge, skills, and other characteristics are required for the employee.
Ultimately, a job analysis should include a job description (duties, responsibilities and performance objectives) as well as characteristics needed for the job (skills, specific knowledge and abilities). It might also include context of the position, primary responsibilities and information about working conditions.
How do I conduct a job analysis?
This is something that everyone does differently but there is in fact a formal process. Here is a simplified version:
1. Decide on your data source, who conducts a job analysis? - who will you be asking for information? This will usually include a subject matter expert, supervisors, other employees or even a job analyst. Always start with the collection of background information about the job.
2. What type of data do you need? - Ask about tasks, duties, responsibilities. You may also want to ask about knowledge, skills and other characteristics. Use this data to make a task inventory or structured questionnaire.
3. Write the job description based on this information. - Here are some things to think about when writing:
- What is the employee required to do?
- How are they supposed to do it?
- What rationale is needed for required job procedures (ex. qualifications or certifications)
4. What methods are needed to make the hiring decision? - You can choose multiple: interviews, questionnaires, practical exercises etc.
Why is a job analysis important? What are the benefits of a job analysis?
A job analysis is the cornerstone of all HR functions.
It’s an essential tool of selection science. It’s an evidence-based method that helps to match a job’s requirements with a candidate’s characteristics. It forms the basis of HR functions like: how to hire, how to interview, managing performance and compensation.
A job analysis makes your HR systems legally defensible.
Although a job analysis is not legally required before a selection program is implemented, employment decisions should still come from the basis of “job-related information”. In this sense, a job analysis is legally considered a way of determining “job-relatedness”. For example, in Canada the Ontario Human Rights Commission states: “Organizations that have not defined the essential duties of a position, provided required accommodation and individually assessed ability to perform the essential duties will have difficulty defending themselves if a human rights complaint is filed.”
A job analysis helps to create structured interviews and a fair process.
A job analysis provides a clear basis from which hiring managers can plan and structure interviews. Interview questions should come directly from the knowledge and skills required for the role. With a clear job analysis, hiring managers can have one source of truth to refer to when writing questions and interviewing candidates. This helps to reduce bias in the interview process and ensure all candidates are asked the same, evidence-based questions.
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References: Catano, Victor M., et al. Recruitment and Selection in Canada. Top Hat, 2022.