Job Analysis Assignment

This assignment will require you to consider essentially all aspects of personnel psychology.

1. Create a job description (JOB: LICENSED MEDICAL ASSISTANT)

  • There are 5 parts to a job description (see slides 11 and 12 of the “Job Analysis” powerpoint).
  • You may find O*Net useful for this part of the assignment in particular!

2. Describe the relevant criteria for the job analyzed in Step 1.

  • How will you measure performance for the job?
    • Will you use a single global criterion, a composite criterion, multiple criteria, etc.
    • If using performance ratings, describe who will be rating.
    • If using multiple or composite criteria, be sure to list all the different parts being used or factored in.
  • Are there any other criteria you might look at? (OCBs, CWBs, absenteeism, etc.)

3.What screening and selection tools will you use?

  • Think carefully here—don’t just list all the tools we went over in class!
  • Describe how each screening/selection tool is related to the job; be specific
    • For example, if you’re using a personality inventory as a selection tool, describe which traits will predict which aspects of performance (e.g., “the Agreeableness factor of personality will be related to the individual’s ability to work well with their coworkers”)
  • How will applicants be processed through the selection system?
    • Will there be multiple hurdles? If so, what tools will you use at each phase?
    • Will you combine various predictors (i.e., multiple regression), use cutoffs for each predictor (i.e., multiple cutoff), etc.

Job Analysis

The future…no jobs?

Some people believe that jobs are an outdated idea

People should be self-employed contract workers who work on specific projects or teams

Companies should organize work into projects rather than specific jobs

Some companies are sort of moving in this direction (e.g., Microsoft)

Work IS changing

Example: librarians used to recommend books, sort them in shelves, and provide research guidance; now they basically show how to run computer searches (internet or digital call catalogs)

But at least for now, jobs are still the basic foundation for organizations

As such, job analysis is still essential in developing I-O interventions

Job analysis

The process of defining a job, specifying the behaviors necessary to perform on it, and then developing hypotheses about the personal characteristics necessary to perform those behaviors

Determine the characteristics required for success in a specific work setting, or the degree to which the work requirements are similar to requirements for work performed elsewhere

Although some courts insist on extensive job analysis (as a basis for providing content-related evidence of validity), certain purposes, such as validity generalization, may not require such detail

If you recall the lecture on criteria, job analysis is the first step in identifying criteria and choosing the individual differences that can predict those criteria

Uses of job analysis

Organizing, workforce planning, role definition

Clarify the roles of each job; avoid duplication of responsibility and confusion between departments

Job evaluation, recruitment, selection, placement, orientation, training and development, performance appraisal, promotions and transfers, career planning

Determine the characteristics of a job or organization and determine the skills, knowledge, or abilities necessary to work in them

Engineering design, job design, safety

Determine the appropriate amount of work for a job and how to avoid accidents in them

Job analysis terminology

Element – The smallest unit into which work can be divided without analyzing the separate motions, movements, and mental processes involved

Example: Removing a saw from a tool chest prior to sawing wood for a project

Task – A distinct work activity carried out for a specific purpose

Example: Running a computer program, typing a letter, and unloading a truckload of freight

Duty – A large segment of the work performed by an individual; may include a number of tasks

Example: Conducting interviews, counseling employees, providing information to the public

Position – A set of tasks performed by a single employee

Job analysis terminology

Job – A group of positions that are similar in their significant duties

Example: Secretary

Job family – A group of two or more jobs that either call for similar worker characteristics or contain parallel work tasks as determined by job analysis

Example: Clerical

Occupation/vocation – A group of similar jobs found in different organizations at different times

Example: electricians and machinists

Career – A sequence of positions, jobs, or occupations that one person engages in during his or her working life

Job analysis choices

There are a number of options in conducting a job analysis; the final purpose of the analysis is an essential consideration in making these decisions

1. Activities or attributes?

Some techniques focus solely on activities (tasks) – work oriented

Some focus on how the work gets done (worker attributes) – worker oriented

Others offer a combination of the two, linking tasks and attributes – linkage analysis

2. General or specific?

How much detail is needed in the analysis?

A brief description of a job to make pay comparisons includes much less detail than what is needed to develop selection procedures based on critical KSAOs

Job analysis choices

3. Qualitative or quantitative?

The same job can be described in narrative form or by ratings on a fixed set of scales (e.g., time, frequency, importance, or criticality)

Qualitative methods are fine for applications like career planning, but cross-job comparisons require some type of quantitative method

4. Taxonomy-based or blank slate?

Some general job analysis tools involve taxonomy-based approaches in which statements of general work activities are applied to a broad range of jobs

Alternatively, trained observers or job incumbents may develop lists of job activities or attributes that apply to specific jobs or job families

The “blank-slate” approaches have the potential for a greater detail than do taxonomy approaches

Job analysis choices

5. Observers or incumbents or supervisors?

Trained job analysts sometimes observe work directly and then distill their observations into qualitative descriptions or quantitative evaluations of work activities or attributes

Alternatively, information may come from job incumbents or their direct supervisors, who may be asked to identify activities or attributes and then rate them on numeric scales

6. KSAs or KSAOs?

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities are useful in conducting attribute-oriented job analysis

Adding other personal characteristics (Os) allows a broader range of attributes to be included in the analysis; these might include personality traits, values, and attitudes

Job analysis choices

7. Single job or multiple-job comparison?

Sometimes the focus is on a specific job, as when developing an entry-level test for a bank teller job

In other cases, the focus is on documenting similarities and differences across jobs (e.g., to justify using the same selection system with different jobs)

8. Descriptive or prescriptive?

Job analysis typically describes a job as it currently exists

However, if a job does not yet exist, it is necessary to prescribe activities or attributes for the soon-to-be-created job; this is called strategic job analysis

Job description

A written statement of what a worker actually does, how he or she does it, and why

This information can then be used to determine what KSAOs are required to perform the job

1. Job title – For bookkeeping purposes within the firm, as well as to facilitate reporting to government agencies

2. Job activities and procedures – Descriptions of tasks, materials used, machinery operated, formal interactions with other workers, and the extent of supervision given or received

Job description

3. Working conditions and physical environment – Heat, lighting, noise level, indoor/outdoor setting, physical location, hazardous conditions, etc.

4. Social environment – Information on the number of individuals in the work group and the amount of interpersonal interaction required in order to perform the job

5. Conditions of employment – A description of the hours of work, wage structure, method of payment, benefits, place of the job in the formal organization, and opportunities for promotion

Minimum qualifications

In order to avoid screening out potential employees who would be able to adequately perform a job, the basic personal characteristics required in a job should be specified

1. Working independently, groups of subject matter experts (SMEs) rate tasks and KSAs on a set of scales

2. After completing their ratings, the SMEs provide suggested types or amounts of education, work experience, and other data they view as appropriate for MQs

Minimum qualifications

3. From the task and KSA domains and SME opinions, job analysts prepare a draft set of MQ profiles; each profile is a statement of education, training, or work experience presumably needed to perform a target job at a satisfactory level

4. Finally, a new set of SMEs is convened to do three things:

Establish a description of a barely acceptable employee

Decide if the list of MQ profiles is complete or if it needs editing

Rate the finalized profiles on two scales, appropriateness and clarity

Obtaining job information

Direct observation

An analyst can observe an incumbent and record what he or she does

Observations should include a representative sample of job behaviors

Job analyst should try to be unobtrusive

Inappropriate for jobs that require a lot of mental activity and concentration

Functional job analysis (FJA)

Identifies what a worker does on the job and how a task is performed

Tasks are rated on their involvement with People, Data, or Things

Obtaining job information

Actual performance

Analysts can do the job themselves and record what they do


Analysts can interview the incumbent or supervisor; this may allow infrequent behaviors to be covered

Worker acts as his or her own observer in the interview

Should follow a structured interview format

Should interview several incumbents and immediate supervisors who know the job well

Obtaining job information

SME panel

Panels of 6 to 10 SMEs convened

To develop information on tasks or KSAOs to be used in constructing job analysis questionnaires

In test development to establish linkages between tasks and KSAOs, KSAOs and test items, and tasks and test items

SMEs should be 10-20% of the total job incumbents or supervisors

SMEs should be representative of the race, gender, location, shift, and assignment composition of all incumbents

Important to have a wide range of work experience in SME panels

Obtaining job information


Respondents either check items that apply to a job or to rate items in terms of their relevance to the job; greatly facilitates comparisons across jobs

Cheap and quick to administer

Time consuming and expensive to develop

Standardization allows for comparisons across jobs and organizations


Position analysis questionnaire (work-oriented)

Consists of 194 items that asks respondents to rate the importance or difficulty of each job element

More suited for blue-collar manufacturing jobs than it is for professional, managerial, and some technical jobs

No specific work activities are described, so element similarities in jobs may mask genuine differences between them

Need a college-graduate reading level to comprehend items

Job Element Inventory is an alternate version of the PAQ that was developed; it only requires a 10th grade reading level



Fleishman Job Analysis Survey (worker-oriented)

Provides a taxonomy of ability categories that describe performance in a wide variety of tasks

Objective is to describe jobs in terms of the abilities required to perform them

The ability-requirements taxonomy is intended to reflect the fewest independent ability categories that describe performance in the widest variety of tasks

Covers 21 cognitive abilities, 10 psychomotor abilities, 9 physical abilities, 12 sensory/perceptual abilities, and 21 social/interpersonal abilities

Rating scales define each ability, distinguish it from related abilities, and provide examples of tasks that require different levels of the ability


Obtaining job information

Critical incidents

The collection of a series of anecdotes of job behavior that describe especially good or bad performance

Yields both static and dynamic dimensions of jobs

Anecdotes describe:

What led up to the incident and the context in which it occurred

Exactly what the individual did that was so effective or ineffective

The perceived consequences of this behavior and whether or not such consequences were actually within the control of the employee

Obtaining job information

Job Analysis Wizard

Based online

Incorporates characteristics such as:

Use of thousands of different elements organized into broader work- and worker-related dimensions

Automation of the job analysis process

Use of electronic surveys

Filtering data

Personality-based Job Analysis

Personality – a set of characteristics or traits that account for the consistent ways a person responds to situations

Personality-based job analysis may be useful for difficult-to-define jobs that cannot be described in terms of tasks or KSAs

Personality-Related Position Requirements Form

Assesses the extent to which the Big Five traits are needed for a particular job

Other measured dimensions include:

Sensitivity to others

Thoroughness/attention to detail

Desire to generate ideas

Other types of job analysis

Strategic or Future Oriented Job Analysis

Information for a job that does not yet exist

Competency Models

Attempts to identify variables related to overall organizational fit and to identify personality characteristics consistent with the organizations vision

Focuses on broader characteristics of individuals



Staying current with technological advances


Occupational Information Network

Provides comprehensive descriptions of the attributes of workers and jobs

Based on:

Multiple descriptor domains that provide “multiple windows” into the world of work

A common language of work and worker descriptors that covers all occupations

Description of occupations based on a taxonomy from broad to specific

Comprehensive content model that integrates the previous three principles to include the major types of cross-job descriptors and to provide a general descriptive framework of occupational information

In-class activity #5

1. Think of a job you are familiar with

2. Generate key tasks associated with the job

3. Come up with a job description for the job

Job title

Job activities and procedures

Working conditions and physical environment

Social environment

Conditions for employment

Job description

1. Job title – For bookkeeping purposes within the firm, as well as to facilitate reporting to government agencies

2. Job activities and procedures – Descriptions of tasks, materials used, machinery operated, formal interactions with other workers, and the nature and extent of supervision given or received

3. Working conditions and physical environment – Heat, lighting, noise level, indoor/outdoor setting, physical location, hazardous conditions, etc.

4. Social environment – Information on the number of individuals in the work group and the amount of interpersonal interaction required in order to perform the job

5. Conditions of employment – A description of the hours of work, wage structure, method of payment, benefits, place of the job in the formal organization, and opportunities for promotion

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