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| Words: 1200 | Submitted: 06-Jun-2010
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Methods of Job Analysis The techniques used to gather such information spread across the methodological spectrum from diaries and logs, observations and interviews at the qualitative end through to the more quantitative forms of analysis such as questionnaires, hierarchical task analysis and repertory grid assessments. Diaries and Logs: are self-reporting techniques that involve current jobholders recording their activities over a period of time – for example, every working hour over a course of a week. They are simple and non-intrusive ways of collecting information that, in financial terms, can also be relatively cheap. Observation: is a traditional approach to job analysis in which a trained observer watches the tasks being undertaken and how they are being undertaken. Usually a checklist of factors is employed to ensure that the data is gathered against relevant tasks and that there is a consistency between observations. Interviews: range from structured interviews (with fixed question schedules) through to unstructured interviews (with open-ended question schedules). Fixed question schedules mean that the same questions are asked of each jobholder thereby enabling easier comparability of the answers. Structured questionnaires: form one of the more popular ways of obtaining quantitative information about key tasks and aptitudes and is especially valuable where there is a large jobholder population to cover. Whilst some employers devise their own questionnaire, many others will ‘buy-in’ a commercially-developed package involving questionnaire(s) and associated training in its use and analysis. Hierarchical task analysis: is a second quantitative technique. Developed some forty years ago by Annett and Duncan (1967), it defines jobs in terms of their outcomes. The job analyst works with the jobholder to break the job down into its constituent parts, namely, plans, sub-tasks and tasks. The overall aim is to provide a sequential series of activities that will achieve the desired outcomes whether it’s a matter of fork-lift driving or catering management.
Job Descriptions Job descriptions are used to set out the basic details of the job. They define its primary purpose; reporting relations; the main activities or tasks carried out and any special requirements or features. Typically, they contain: a job title; a grade and/or rate of pay; a main location; a line manager’s name/post; details of any subordinates; summary of the main purpose of the job; a list (and possibly brief descriptions) of principal duties together with reference to other documents. Person specifications “convert the job specification into human terms, specifying the kind of person needed to perform the described job” (Newell & Shackleton 2000 p115). Inferences are made about the experience, qualifications, skills and psycho-social characteristics that are necessary for a candidate to become a successful job holder. Rodger’s Seven-point Plan: Physical make-up: physical attributes such as ability to lift heavy loads or differentiate between colours; Attainments: educational or professional qualifications considered necessary for undertaking the work; General intelligence: ability to define and solve problems, and use initiative in dealing with issues that have arisen; Special aptitudes: skills, attributes or competencies that are specifically relevant to the particular job; Interests: both work-related and leisure pursuits that may be relevant to the particular job; Disposition: attitude to work and to other members of staff and customers, as well as friendliness and assertiveness; and, Circumstances: domestic commitments, mobility and family support. Fraser’s Five-point Plan: Impact on others: this covers much the same sort of issues as ‘physical make-up’ but it is more focused on impact on other employees and customers; Acquired knowledge and qualifications; see Rodger’s second category above; Innate abilities; see ‘general intelligence’ above; Motivation; a person’s desire to succeed in particular aspects of work and their commitment to achieve these goals; and, Adjustment; characteristics specifically related to the job, such as the ability to cope with difficult customers or work well in a team.
The Competency Alternative This pays far less attention to personal qualities, characteristics, dispositions or interests and places much greater weight on what it sees as the effective actions or conduct that is likely to lead to successful individual and organisational performance. Competency, then, when employed in recruitment is concerned with inputs, in particular, the conduct, skills, knowledge and capacities that applicants must possess (or be capable of acquiring) in order to maximise the benefit to the organisation.
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