Job analysis methods can be categorized into three basic types:
Observation of work activities and worker behaviors is a method of job analysis which can be used independently or in combination, with other methods of job analysis. Three methods of job analysis based on observation are:
- Direct Observation: Using direct observation, a person conducting the analysis simply observes employees in the performance of their duties. The observer either takes general notes or works from a form which has structured categories for comment. Everything is observed: what the worker accomplishes, what equipment is used etc. The limitation of this method is that it cannot capture the mental aspects of jobs, such as decision making or planning since mental processes are not observable.
- Work Methods Analysis: This method is used to describe manual and repetitive production jobs, such as a factory or assembly-line jobs. This method is used by industrial engineers to determine standard rates of production.
- Critical Incidents Technique: It involves observation and recording of examples of particularly effective or ineffective behaviors. Behaviors are judged to be “effective” or “ineffective” in terms of results produced by the behavior. In this method, a person using the critical incidents must describe behavior in retrospect, or after the fact, rather than as the activity unfolds. Accurate recording of past observations is more difficult than recording the behaviors as they occur.
In this method, the Analyst interviews the employee, his supervisor and other concerned persons and record answers to relevant questions. The interviewer asks job-related questions and a standard format is used to record the data. The limitation of this method is that it does not provide accurate information because the employee may not provide accurate information to protect his own interest. The success of this method depends upon the rapport between the analyst and the employee.
In this method, properly drafted questionnaires are sent to job holders. Structured questionnaires on different aspects of a job are developed. Each task is described in terms of characteristics such as frequency, significance, difficulty, and relationship to overall performance. The jobholders give their rating of these dimensions. The ratings obtained are analyzed and a profile of actual job is developed. This method provides comprehensive information about a job. The limitation of this method is that it is time consuming and costly.