Job analysis is the process of creating a description of what a job entails, including the knowledge and skills that are needed to perform the job’s responsibilities. An effective job analysis contains three important elements. First, the analysis must follow an organized method that is set up in advance. Second, it must categorize the job into small units so that each aspect can be easily understood. Categorizing a job may possibly lead to the discovery that, for example, a skill that before was not considered significant actually is. For instance, the duties of a supervisory position may perhaps include notifying personnel of termination. Social skills that may not have seemed important to the everyday functions of the job possibly will come to the fore in this situation. Third, the analysis should lead to an employee guidebook that accurately characterizes the job (King, 2010). The job-oriented approach offers information about the nature of and the responsibilities involved in a job. The person-oriented approach defines the KSAOs or knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics a person needs to have for a job (Spector, 2012).
There are a number of job analysis methods that provide information about the job, the person, or both. The information in a job analysis has many purposes. It can be utilized for career development of personnel, legal matters, such as assuring fairness in employee actions, performance appraisal, selection, training, vocational counseling, and research (Spector, 2012). Most job analysis information originates from one of four different sources: job analysts, job incumbents, supervisors, and trained observers. These sources provide their information through performing the job themselves, interviewing, or giving surveys to people who do the job (Spector, 2012). Various different methods can be utilized to conduct a job analysis; no one method stands out as being superior to the others. The purpose of the job analyst is to determine which method is chosen. There are four standard methods: Job Components Inventory, Functional Job Analysis, Position Analysis Questionnaire, and Task Inventory (Spector, 2012). Job descriptions are based on ratings and interviews with experts in the various occupations. For example, here is a job description using the functional job analysis, also referred to as FJA method for a forensic psychologist position: Performs psychodiagnostic examinations ordered by the courts to provide a variety of forensic assessments, including and determining competency to stand trial or criminal responsibility as it relates to legal insanity. Provides cognitive, behaviorally oriented, or other types of individual therapeutic treatment to patients assigned to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry. Observes patients in play or other situations, and selects, administers, and interprets intelligence, achievement, interest, personality, and other psychological tests to diagnose disorders and formulate plans of treatment. May collaborate with psychiatrists and other specialists in developing treatment programs for patients (United States Department of Labor, n.d.).
Functional Job Analysis or FJA utilizes observation and interviews with Subject Matter Experts, also referred to as SMEs, to provide a description of a job on several dimensions in relation to the job and potential employees. The dimensions are pertinent to all jobs, so that the procedure can be used to make comparisons among jobs (Spector, 2012). Functional Job Analysis, or FJA, was the job analysis method used by the United States Department of Labor to produce the Dictionary of Occupational Titles or DOT (United States Department of Labor, n.d.). This relatively large document contains job analysis information for more than twenty thousand jobs. The printed DOT has been replaced with an extended, electronic resource, the Occupational Information Network (Spector, 2012).