The importance of a job analysis for hiring

Written by Bekah Regan, former Senior Consultant

A job analysis serves as a foundation to design selection systems, training and development programs, career pathing, and other key organizational initiatives. It often involves conversations with subject matter experts, survey data collection, observations of specific positions and work environment, reviews of existing training documents, org charts, and the like. Although job analysis tasks may not be the most riveting, they are a prudent step toward designing selection systems that are fair, consistent, and comprehensive — ultimately ensuring that organizations make the most effective hiring decisions possible.

What is the purpose of job analysis?

A job analysis helps you capture job-relevant responsibilities and critical competencies for success so you can determine appropriate selection tools and develop sound rationale for your selection process — everything from the job descriptions you post to the application, assessments, and interview questions you develop. Having that detailed picture of what success in the role looks like allows you as an organization to properly evaluate applicants and ultimately select the best candidate.

Why is job analysis important in hiring?

Job analyses play an important role in shaping your hiring process because they enable the organization to establish a fair, consistent, and comprehensive approach that guides the overall selection process. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the main benefits that a job analysis will provide.

  1. Promote fairness in hiring through job analyticsFairness in the selection process means basing hiring decisions solely on job-related criteria. Job analytics, through a comprehensive job analysis, aid in pinpointing job-relevant responsibilities and critical competencies essential for success. By aligning selection tools with these insights, organizations can uphold fairness by basing hiring decisions solely on job-related criteria, irrespective of candidates’ background or status in protected classes.

    An accurate and complete understanding of the position may inform application and interview guide development. For example, it may be necessary to lift up to 50 pounds of equipment to be successful on the job. Whether this is asked via the online application or verbally during an interview, you need not probe how a person will do this, only if they can do it. “Are you able to lift up to 50 pounds with or without reasonable accommodation?” is an appropriate and fair question, while “How could you lift up to 50 pounds with your disability?” is not.

    Beyond essential job functions and tasks, a thorough job analysis will also provide insight on personality and behavior-based competencies that contribute to success in-role. Developing this type of success profile helps you align selection tools like assessments and interview guides with clearly defined job-related competencies. Emphasizing personality and behavior-based competencies over historical education and experience requirements will oftentimes lead you to consider a more diverse pool of candidates, and can favorably impact selection ratios across subgroups.

  2. Add consistency to selectionJob analysis also supports consistency in the hiring process, whereby all individuals applying to the same position go through the same process and are measured against the same criteria and standards. By leveraging insights from job analytics, organizations can design consistent assessment methods, such as work samples and interview questions tailored to core competencies identified through the job analysis.

    Once clearly defined criteria are established, the next step is to apply those standards consistently across all candidates. Inconsistency in your selection process can surface across multiple steps of the hiring flow or within a certain step. For example, allowing some individuals to bypass or skip steps in the process, which tends to happen with referrals. Or, allowing too much flexibility in an interview, whereby interviewers can pick and choose what to ask and/or there is no standard benchmark to evaluate candidate responses. This inconsistency makes for a less confident hiring decision. When you’re not assessing individuals according to the same criteria, then you can’t be sure who is the best fit for the role.

  3. Enhance company culture through comprehensive job analysisThe purpose of a job analysis is to provide organizations with the framework for developing a complete picture of the target position, ensuring that their hiring process evaluates all important aspects of what it takes to be successful. An additional component of this that can often be overlooked is the role of company culture.

    By delving into job analytics, recruiters gain insights not only into job requirements but also into organizational culture, team dynamics, and work environment. This comprehensive understanding enables recruiters to be more effective in two ways: First, they are better able to identify candidates who not only possess the requisite skills, but also align with the company’s culture and team dynamics. Second, they can provide realistic depictions of the job – both the positive aspects and the challenges.

    Knowing in advance if a candidate aligns with the organization’s mission and values and ultimately whether they will be a ‘fit’ within the organization can save both time and money. Give the candidate a realistic preview of what it will truly be like working for the organization which will allow them to make an informed decision as well.

So… is a job analysis important for hiring?

I hope after reading this your answer was a solid, ‘YES.’ How you conduct a job analysis may not look the same for every organization or every position – you have to work with the information and resources available to you. However, using a job analysis to mold your recruitment and selection system will put you on the path toward a fair, consistent, and comprehensive approach.

The ultimate formula for a successful hiring strategy

In today’s market, it’s critical to have an effective, fast, and fair hiring process.

Our guide interviews industry experts to explore the key pillars for developing a successful hiring strategy and addresses how businesses can get the balance right through implementing assessment solutions that bring together speed, engagement, longevity, and fairness.

Download our interview guide to understand what makes a brilliant hiring process. You will discover the importance of:

  • Focusing on the essentials
  • Using robust data
  • Evaluating the right fit
  • Measuring for potential
  • Providing equal opportunities for all
Download Now
the ultimate formula for a successful hiring strategy cta interview guide cover