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HR Basics: Job Analysis 2e

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HR Basics is a series of short courses, designed to highlight what you need to know about a particular human resource management topic. In today’s HR Basics, we define job analysis, explore the job analysis process, and highlight the job analysis methods most commonly used. Job analysis is the systematic process of collecting information that identifies similarities and differences in work. The outcome is job documentation. A job description is a useful, plain-language tool that describes the essential functions and specifications of a position. Job documentation provides the foundation for many activities of human resource management and provide the foundation for compliance. The process of collecting information about jobs requires a systematic process and the application of appropriate methods. Careful job analysis is well planned to ensure a successful outcome - a useful job description. To ensure consistency, use a process to structure job analysis. I recommend a simple five step cyclical process for job analysis. The stages for a typical job analysis, as outlined here, may vary somewhat with the number of jobs included. Collecting information about what people are doing in their jobs can be gathered using a variety of methods. People have a tendency to inflate the importance and significance of their jobs because they are not completely objective. Job analysis and the resulting job description should not necessary describe what the person currently in the job does and that person’s qualifications. Traditionally, the most common methods have been observation, interviewing, questionnaires, and generic information available through O*NET, an online database of jobs. After completing job analysis, a job description can be created or revised. Data and information gathered through analysis should be used to draft meaningful and accurate job descriptions. Remember, job analysis is a cyclical process – your work is never done.
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