HR for Texas Startups: Performing a Job Analysis

Creating efficient work systems starts with breaking down the tasks performed by each person in the work unit. This process is called job analysis. Job analyses optimize the hiring process by ensuring new personnel are absolutely necessary, trained correctly, and given appropriate career opportunities. In addition, job analyses can clear up organizational confusion by detailing who does what, when and where. A job analysis is your first step when you think you may need to hire a new employee.

Why Conduct Job Analyses?

As each new hire is brought on board, it becomes increasingly important to carefully and accurately define each job. The person holding the job must know his or her expectations and duties and so should the supervisor and other members of the department. Defining the job clearly will help to prevent friction between the new employee and more experienced employees, as well as guarantee efficiency in the workplace. If done correctly the job analysis can aid in writing the job description, thus streamlining the process of finding new talent and filling personnel gaps.

Step 1: Evaluate the Personnel Gap

The job analysis process begins with a basic image of what skills or knowledge the company needs. This first stage of collecting preliminary information is known as evaluating the personnel gap. An evaluation of department needs may help when evaluating a personnel gap. You can download an “Evaluation of Department Needs”  form for free from my HR Resources for Startups page.

When evaluating the personnel gap, you should interview other employees and gather their opinions as to what is missing from the company, or what needs they may have. By surveying other members of the organization instead of relying on personal judgment, time may be saved on misaligned personal judgment. In addition, members of a small startup company are more likely to welcome a newcomer if their opinions were taken into consideration.

Step 2: Conduct the Job Analysis

Once a personnel gap has been identified a job analysis questionnaire nails down the function and parameters of a new job. A job analysis questionnaire is especially necessary in a startup where each employee must adapt to a wide range of tasks, duties, and professional relationships. A job analysis questionnaire should include questions such as: What tools or materials will this person utilize? Who will interact with this person? What will this person’s output look like?

Different departments will have different ideas of which tasks for this person are essential. To deal with this inevitable discrepancy, organizations should compare the divergent ideas with the company’s goals and workflow. There is a difference between essential, ideal, and unnecessary tasks, and it is important that task classification is based on the company’s goals rather than personal opinions. You can download a free job analysis questionnaire from my HR Resources for Startups page.