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Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan

What is Job Analysis?

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management [1] analyzing information about the content, context, and requirements of the job. It demonstrates that there is a clear relationship between the tasks performed on the job and the competencies, or knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), required to perform the tasks. The job analysis process involves collecting detailed information about the duties, responsibilities, skills, competencies, [2] required outcomes, and work environment of a particular job. It may include the following activities, as outlined by Susan M. Heathfield on [3]
  • Analyzing the duties, tasks, and responsibilities that must be accomplished by the employee filling the position;
  • Communicating the most important work outcomes needed from the position;
  • Articulating the required qualifications (e.g., training, knowledge, skills, and personality traits) of candidates;
  • Determining whether specific certification, licensing, or credentialing is required;
  • Conducting internet research to view sample job descriptions written for similar jobs;
  • Reviewing and possibly observing the job responsibilities of coworkers and deciding on the nature of their relationships to the new employee; and
  • If necessary, talking to employees and supervisors at other organizations that have similar positions.
U.S. Department of Labor’s Handbook for Analyzing Jobs [4] provides five types of job descriptors or sections:
  • 1. Worker functions: The relationship of the worker to data, people, and things.
  • 2. Work fields: Techniques used to complete the tasks of the job. This also includes the machines, tools, equipment, and work aids that are used in the job.
  • 3. Materials, products, subject matter, and/or services: Outcomes of the job or the purpose of performing the job.
  • 4. Worker traits: Aptitudes, educational and vocational training, and personal traits required of the worker.
  • 5. Physical Demands: Job requirements such as strength, observation, and talking. This descriptor also includes the physical environment of the work.
A summary of job analysis and other supporting materials is found at Job Analysis and at Job Analysis Process Summary.

A job analysis can be focused on two venues: worker-oriented job analysis and task-oriented job analysis. Worker-oriented job analysis or job specification deals with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities/attributes to successfully complete the job. Task-oriented job analysis, sometimes called work-oriented job analysis, is concerned with what the employees does (relevant job-related behaviors) and how it is done (required machinery, tools, interaction with people, and information). Some experts are now suggesting that Competency Modeling, which is similar to Job Analysis, may be more advantageous depending on the organization’s needs. For more information, review the article, Competency Modeling and Job Analysis.

A job analysis can assist in the recruitment or retention process by clarifying what type of individual is best suited for a position and what supports are needed by staff in order to be effective in the position. A job analysis can help in writing or re-writing a job description that includes clear competencies, attributes, training, and supervision needs.

Links to job analysis tools and samples used for Federal Government positions which can assist in your job analysis can be found at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) site.

The HR Guide to the Internet: Job Analysis provides information on job analyses including determining training needs, compensation considerations, selection procedures, and performance review factors with links to topic categories.

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