In this lesson, we turn our focus to the process of determining the duties and skill requirements of a job, and the kind of people who should be hired for it – what is referred to as Job Description. The purpose of the lesson is to show you how to analyze a job and write job descriptions. We will see that analyzing jobs involves determining in detail what the job entails and what kind of people the firm should hire for the job.

The Nature of Job Analysis

Organizations consist of positions that have to be staffed. Job analysis is the procedure through which you determine the duties of these positions and the characteristics of the people to hire for them. Job analysis produces information used for writing job descriptions (a list of a job’s duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, working conditions and supervisory responsibilities) and
job specification ( a list of a job’s “human requirements”, that is, the requisite education, skills, personality, and so on).

The supervisor or HR specialist normally collects one or more of the following types of information via the job analysis:

Work activities: First, he or she collects information about the job’s actual work activities, such as cleaning, selling, teaching or painting. This list may also include how and when the worker performs each activity.

Human behaviours: The specialist may also collect information about human behaviors like sensing; communicating, deciding and writing. Included here would be information regarding job demands such as lifting weights or walking long distances.

Machines, tools, equipment and work aids: This category includes information regarding tools used, materials processed and knowledge dealt with or applied (such as finance or law) and services rendered (such as counseling or repairing).

Performance standards: The employer may also want information about the job’s performance standards (in term of quantity or quality levels for each job duty, for instance). Management will use these standards to appraise employees.

Job context: Included here is information about such matters as physical working conditions, work schedule and the organizational and social context – for instance, the number of people with whom the employee would normally interact. Information regarding incentives might also be included here.

Human Requirements: This includes information regarding the job’s human requirements, such as job-related knowledge or skills (education, training, work experience) and required personal attributes (aptitudes, physical characteristics, personality, interests).

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