Job Analysis: Methods Of: Interview
The Job Analysis Interview: method to collect a variety of information from an incumbent by asking the incumbent to describe the tasks and duties performed.
Allows the incumbent to describe tasks and duties that are not observable.
The incumbent may exaggerate or omit tasks and duties.
Review multiple sources of job information prior to conducting the interview. These may include:
Check out the Job Analysis Interview Guide
Here the interview is a conversation with no prepared questions or predetermined line of investigation. However, the interviewer should explain:
- the purpose of the study is and
- the particular focus of this interview
The roles and the purposes give structure. The interviewer generally uses a questionning strategy to explore the work the job holder performs. Listening and taking notes are very important. These enable follow up questions to be posed. The questions and responses - with summaries enable the interview to be controlled. The conversation takes on a structure with areas being considered, explored, related to each other and revisited to secure the depth of information required in job analysis.
An unstructured interview involves question and response and may be free flowing but it becomes structured in the sense that the interviewer has a purpose and needs skill to
- establish a relationship
- ask well-structured questions to generate a conversational flow in which the interviewee offers information - factual, opinion, subjective and objective about aspects of the job
- to ensure information recieved is heard and understood - listening, clarifying and reflective summarizing
Effective listening requires concentration and this can be disturbed by interruptions, the interviewer's own thought processes and dificulty in remaining neutral about what is being said. Notes need to be taken without loss of good eye contact. Cues need to be picked up so that further questions can be asked to probe issues and areas of interest.
Structured Interviews A structured interview may assume a definite format involving:
- charting a job-holder's sequence of activities in performance
- an inventory or questionnaire may be used
Care is needed to set up such interactions. A specialist analyst is not involved and participants need to know what they are doing, why and what is expected as a result. They may be intrained as interviewers and not structure the interview as recommended. Notes and records may be needed for subsequent analysis.
A structured interview may be akin to a staff appraisal or job evaluation interview carried out by a manager with a subordinate. The manager is the analyst.
Interviewing is a flexible method for all levels and types of job. An interview may focus on what a hypothetical job might involve.
Interviews generate descriptive data and enable job-holders to interpret their activities. A good interviewer can probe sensitive areas in more depth. Structured questionnaires cannot easily do this. Jobholders can give overviews of their work and offer their perceptions and feelings about their job and the environment. Rigid questionnaires tend to be less effective where the more affective aspects of work are concerned.
However information from different interviews can be
- hard to bring together
- there is potential for interviewer bias
- certain areas of the work may fail to be picked up
- an interview may stress one area and neglect others.
- there are problems in interpretation and analysis with the possibility of distorted impressions
- the subjectivity of the data captured needs to be considered
Interviewing as the sole method of job analysis in any particular project has disadvantages. Interviews are time consuming and training is needed. Co-counselling may remove the analyst and enable jobholders to discuss work between themselves. Through inexperience however they may miss items and there is the natural problem of people not establishing and maintaining rapport with each other during an interview.