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What Is Job Analysis?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff

In the world of business and employment, a job analysis is a method by which a specific job is studied to determine the skill levels needed to perform the job, as well as the importance of the job itself. While a job analysis frequently involves interviews with and observations of employees performing these jobs, the analysis typically does not include judgments based on individual employee performance. In order to do a complete analysis of any given job, it must be judged based on the performance of several different employees.

The key to a successful job analysis is typically considered the collection of a large amount of data. This data should include how to perform the job, skills needed to perform the job, and the outcome of the job. In addition, the overall work environment is usually studied to assess the impact it may have on the job and the employee’s performance of the job.

A job analysis may be performed by the human resources department.
A job analysis may be performed by the human resources department.

Comparison studies are also often used in a job analysis. These comparisons can be done by actual communication with other companies or by doing Internet research. In some cases, similar jobs within the same company can be used for comparative research. Comparisons are important because they can offer a good baseline for studying performance.

The data collected during a job analysis is typically used to make improvements in job outcome. During these studies, it may become clear that there is a particular point at which work becomes less efficient. It may also be noted that certain personality types perform the job better than others do. This information can later be used to match employees with jobs, or to make necessary changes to the job itself.

In some cases, a job analysis may be performed by the human resource department within a company. Larger companies may have specific departments devoted to this type of data collection. Another option that many companies choose is to hire outside contractors who specialize in job analysis. This option is especially useful for smaller companies who may not have people trained in this area.

After a job analysis has been completed, the information and the conclusions are typically passed on to the human resource department. The analysis is often used to formulate interview questions and to design tests that may be useful in determining employee qualifications. The data can also be used to determine whether an employee is performing a specific job correctly and in a timely manner.

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Discussion Comments


I remember having a job analysis done at one of the jobs I had in college. I was working at a library, shelving books and so forth.

They just called me in and gave me a job analysis questionnaire, with, for example, questions about how long it took me to do certain things and how I would rate them and so forth.

They kind of talked me through it, even though it was easy enough to understand. I thought it was supposed to be an evaluation of me, but I guess it was more the job itself. I didn't lose the job or anything, so I guess I made it sound necessary!


My mother recently had some job task analysis done at her work. She's the principal of a high school and she had several people who worked in the offices who had been in their jobs for a long time. The needs of the school had changed and the jobs needed to change as well.

It was pretty awful, as when the jobs were analyzed they realized they'd basically been paying too many people to do things quite inefficiently. So, they ended up having to let someone go.

She was really awful at her job, and made no effort to improve beforehand, but my mother was still devastated that she'd basically had to fire someone.

But, those extra dollars could go towards hiring another teacher for the good of the kids, so sometimes it just has to be done.

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    • A job analysis may be performed by the human resources department.
      By: Jeanette Dietl
      A job analysis may be performed by the human resources department.