What are the Methods of collecting Job Data ?

Methods of collecting Job Data :

The methods of collecting job-related data are-

  1. Observational method.
  2. Interviews.
  3. Questionnaire.
  4. Checklist.
  5. Technical conference.
  6. Dairy

A combination of these approaches may be used depending upon the situation and the organization. A brief description of each method is in order.

  1. Observation: in this method, the job analyst carefully observes the job holder at the work and records what he or she does, how he or she does, and how much time is needed for completion of a given task. This method has both positive as well as negative sides. On the positive side, the method is simple, and the data collected are accurate because of direct observation. On the flip side, it may be told that the methods are time consuming and inapplicable to jobs which involve high proportions of unobservable mental activities and those which do not have complete and easily observable job cycles. The analyst needs to be trained to carefully observe and record the competence of a job incumbent. And training means additional cost. Considering all these, the observation method may be used for analyzing repetitive, short-cycle, unskilled and semi-skilled jobs. Better results will be available when the observation method is used along with other methods of job analysis.
  1. Interview: In this, analyst interviews the job holder and his/her supervisor to elicit information about the job. Usually, a structured interview from is used to record the information. During the interview, the analyst must make judgments about the information to be included and its degree of importance. The interview method is time consuming. The time problem will be compounded if the interviewer talks with two or more employees doing the same job. Furthermore, professional and managerial jobs are more complicated to analyze and usually require a longer interview. Then, there is the problem of bias. Bias on the part of the analyst and the job holder may cloud the objectivity of the data obtained. The interview method has one positive feature, that is it involves talking to the job holders who are in a good position to describe what they do, as well as the qualifications needed to perform their duties in a competent manner. The effectiveness of the interview method depends on the interviewer and on the ability of the job holder to make meaningful responses.
  1. Questionnaire: job holders fill in the given structured questionnaires, which are then approved by their supervisors. The filled-in questionnaires offer enough data on jobs. Standard questionnaires are available or they may be prepared for the purpose by the analysts. Standard or prepared, questionnaires should contain the following basic information.
  • The job title of the job holder
  • The job title of the job holder’s manager or supervisor
  • The job titles and numbers of the staff reporting to the job holder
  • A brief description (one or two sentences?) of the overall role or purpose of the job
  • A list of the main tasks or duties that the job holder has to carry out; as appropriate, these should specify the resources controlled, the equipment used, the contracts made and the frequency with which the tasks are carried out.

These basic details can be supplemented by questions designed to elicit from the job holder some information about the level of his/her responsibilities and the demand made upon him/her by the job. Such questions are difficult to phase and answer in a meaningful way. The replies may be too vague or misleading and usually have to be checked with the job holder’s supervisor. But they at least give the job holder an opportunity to express his/her feelings about the job and they can provide useful leads for further clarifications. These questions can cover such aspects of the job as:

  1. The amount of supervision of supervision received and the degree of description allowed in making decision.
  2. The typical problems to be solved and the amount of guidance available while solving the problems.
  3. The relative difficulty of the tasks to be performed.
  4. The qualifications and skills required to carry out the work
  1. Checklist: A checklist is similar to a questionnaire, but the response sheet contains fewer subjective judgments and tends to be either-yes-or-no variety. Checklist can cover as many as 100 activities and job holders tick only those tasks that are included in their jobs. Preparation of a checklist is a challenging job. The specialist who prepare the list must collect all relevant information about the job concerned. Such information can be obtained by asking supervisors, industrial engineers, and others familiar with the work. When a checklist has been prepared for a job, it is sent to the job holder. The job holder is asked to check all listed tasks that he/she performs and indicate the amount of time spent on each task as well as the training and experience required to be proficient in each task. He/she may also be asked to write any additional tasks he/she performs which is not stated in the checklist. The checklist, thus answered, will be the basis for tabulating job-related data. One advantages of the checklist method is that it is useful in large firms that have a large number of people assigned to one particular job. Also, this technique is amenable to tabulation and recording on electronic data-processing equipment. The technique, however, is costly and, hence, not suitable for small firms.
  1. Technical conference method: in this method, services of supervisors who possess extensive knowledge about a job are used. It is from these experts that details about the job are obtained. Here, a conference of supervisors is used. The analyst initiates discussion which provides details about jobs. Though a good method of data collection, this method lacks accuracy because the actual job holders are not involved in collection information.
  1. Diary Method: This method requires the job holders to record in detail their activities each day. If done faithfully, this technique is accurate and eliminates errors caused by memory lapses the job holder makes while answering questionnaires and checklist. This method, however, is time consuming because the recording of tasks may have to be spread over a number of days. It also engages considerable time of a production worker. No wonder, the dairy method is not used much in practice.
  1. Position analysis questionnaire: The Position analysis Questionnaire (PAQ) is a highly specialized instrument for analyzing any job in terms of employee activities. The PAQ contains 194 job elements on which a job is created depending on the degree to which an element (or descriptor) is present. These elements are grouped into six categories. The primary advantage of the PAQ is that can be used to analyst almost every job. Further, this analysis provides a comparison of a specific job with other job classifications, particularly for selection and remuneration purposes. However, the PAQ needs to be completed by trained job analysts rather than incumbents or supervisors, since the language in the questionnaire is difficult and at a fairly high reading level.