Methods of description and analysis of jobs

Methods of description and analysis of jobs

Description and analysis of jobs

Although the description and analysis of the job are closely related in their purposes and in the process of obtaining data, they differ from each other: the description is oriented to the content of the job (what does the occupant do, when does it do it, how does it do it and why does it), while the analysis aims to study and determine the qualification requirements, the implied responsibilities and the conditions that the job requires to be held properly. This analysis is the basis for evaluating and classifying jobs, with the purpose of comparing them.


  • 1 Direct observation method
  • 2 Questionnaire method
  • 3 Interview method
  • 4 Mixed methods

Direct observation method

It is one of the most used methods, both for being the oldest historically and for its efficiency. Its application is much more effective when considering studies of micromovements, and of times and methods.

The analysis of the job is carried out by observing the occupant of the job, directly and dynamically, in full exercise of their functions, while the job analyst notes the key data of his observation in the job analysis sheet of work. It is more advisable to apply it to jobs that include manual operations or that are simple and repetitive.

Some routine jobs allow direct observation, as the volume of manual content can be easily verified by observation. Since not in all cases the observation answers all questions or dispel all doubts, It is usually accompanied by an interview and analysis with the occupant of the job or with the supervisor.


  1. The job analyst collects data about a job through the observation of activities that the occupant of this one performs.
  2. The participation of the job analyst in the collection of information is active; the occupant's is passive.


  1. Accuracy of the data obtained, because they originate from a single source (job analyst) and the fact that it is foreign to the interests of the person who executes the work.
  2. It does not require that the occupant of the job stop performing their duties.
  3. Ideal method to apply it in simple and repetitive jobs.
  4. Appropriate correspondence between the data obtained and the basic formula for the analysis of jobs (what it does, how it does it and why it does it).


  1. High cost Because the job analyst needs to spend enough time for the method to be complete.
  2. The simple observation, without direct and verbal contact with the occupant of the job, does not allow obtaining important data for analysis.
  3. It is not recommended to apply it in jobs that are not simple or repetitive.

It is advised that this method be applied in combination with others to make the analysis more complete and accurate.

Questionnaire Method

To carry out the analysis, the staff is requested to complete a questionnaire for the analysis of jobs and record all possible indications about the job, its content and its characteristics.

When it comes to a large number of similar jobs, of a routine and bureaucratic nature, it is faster and cheaper to develop a questionnaire that is distributed to all occupants of those jobs. The questionnaire should be prepared in a way that allows obtaining correct answers and useful information.. Before applying it, it must be known by at least one occupant of the job and his superior to establish the relevance and adequacy of the questions, and eliminate unnecessary details, distortions, lack of relationship or possible ambiguities of the questions.


  1. Data collection about a job It is done through a job analysis analysis questionnaire, which fills the occupant or his superior.
  2. The participation of the job analyst in data collection is passive (receive the questionnaire); the occupant's is active (fill out the questionnaire).


  1. The occupants of the job and their direct managers can fill out the questionnaire jointly or sequentially; in this way a broader vision of its content and its characteristics is provided, in addition to the participation of several hierarchical instances.
  2. This method It is the most economical for job analysis.
  3. Too It is the one that covers more people, because the questionnaire can be distributed to all occupants of jobs and returned relatively quickly, as soon as they have answered. This does not happen with the other methods of job analysis.
  4. Is the method ideal for analyzing high-level jobs, without affecting the time or activities of executives.


  1. It is not recommended, its application in low-level jobs, in which the occupant has difficulty interpreting and responding in writing.
  2. It requires that it be planned and elaborated carefully.
  3. Tends to be superficial or distorted Regarding the quality of written responses.

Interview Method

The most flexible and productive approach in job analysis is the interview that the analyst does to the occupant of the job.

If it is well structured, information can be obtained about all aspects of the job, the nature and sequence of the various tasks that comprise the job, and the whys and when.

It can be done in relation to the skills required to fill the job, allows you to exchange information obtained from the occupants of other similar jobs, verify inconsistencies in the reports and, if necessary, consult the immediate supervisor to ensure that Details obtained are valid. Ensures a face-to-face interaction between the analyst and the employee, which allows the elimination of doubts and distrust, mainly against obstructing and obstinate employees. At present, those responsible for preparing job analysis plans prefer this method based on direct contact and mechanisms for collaboration and participation.

The direct interview method It consists of collecting the elements related to the job that is to be analyzed, through a direct and verbal approach with the occupant or with his direct boss.

It can be done with one of them or with both, together or separately.


  1. Data collection is carried out through an interview of the analyst with the occupant of the job, in which questions are asked and verbal answers are given.
  2. The participation of the analyst and the occupant of the job is active.


  1. Data relating to a job are obtained from those who know it best.
  2. There is possibility to analyze and clarify all doubts.
  3. This method It is the best quality and the one that provides the highest analysis performance, due to the rational way of collecting data.
  4. It has no contraindications. It can be applied to any type or level of job.


  1. A poorly conducted interview can lead staff to react negatively, do not understand or accept your goals.
  2. It can generate confusion Between opinions and facts.
  3. You lose too much time, if the job analyst does not prepare well to perform it.
  4. High operating cost: requires expert analysts and paralysis of the occupant's job.

Mixed methods

It is clear that each of the methods of analysis has certain characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. To counteract the disadvantages and get the most out of the advantages, it is recommended to use mixed methods, eclectic combinations of two or more analysis methods.

The most used are:

  1. Questionnaire and interview, both with the occupant of the job. First the occupant answers the questionnaire and then presents a quick interview; The questionnaire will be taken as a reference.
  2. Questionnaire with the occupant and interview with the superior to deepen and clarify the data obtained.
  3. Questionnaire and interview, both with the superior.
  4. Direct observation with the occupant of the job and interview with the superior.
  5. Questionnaire and direct observation, both with the occupant of the job.
  6. Questionnaire with the superior and direct observation with the occupant, of the job, etc.

The choice of these combinations will depend on the particularities of each company, such as objectives of the analysis and description of jobs, personnel available for this task, etc.