Conducting Job Analysis Interviews

six steps horizontal 3Step 3 – DATA COLLECTION

Job Analysis Interviews are usually conducted with capable job incumbents, but they can also be conducted with managers of job incumbents. The interview starts with a question about the four or five most important main responsibilities in the job. When these have been identified, the interviewer asks focuses on each main responsibility and asks about: (a) key tasks for this responsibility, (b) skills and knowledge required to perform the tasks for this main responsibility, and (c) performance criteria or measures used to assess performance in the job. The interviewee may also be asked to review a list of generic competencies and their definitions and select the 10 most important competencies for the job.

Job analysis interviews are essential if the competency model will be presented as part of a broader job model that includes a breakdown of the main responsibilities and their related tasks. Job analysis interviews are also needed if the competency model will be used to develop training courses or programs for job incumbents. If you plan to facilitate a Resource Panel or conduct Structured Event Interviews, it is useful to have conducted at least a couple of Job Analysis Interviews, so that you have a concrete understanding of job. A final benefit of Job Analysis Interviews is that they provide most of the information needed to prepare a job description.

Implementing Job Analysis Interviews

Plan to conduct three or four of these interviews, allowing about one hour per interview. The interviewees should be capable performers, but they do need to be superior performers. Begin the interview by explaining the purposes and scope of project and the format of the interview. Then the use or adapt the Job Analysis Interview protocol provided in this workbook. Ask follow-up questions when this is necessary to clarify the interviewee’s responses. Take detailed notes on each interview but also tape record the interviews so that you will be able to listen to the tapes to clarify your notes later, if necessary.

Analyzing Job Analysis Interviews

Interviewees will vary in the way they describe main responsibilities, tasks and skills. One way to analyze these interviews is to use the outline of the interview protocol to prepare a composite set responses that reflect common themes across interviewees. To identify competencies based on these interviews, you can (a) look to see which of the generic competencies were selected by two or more of the interviewees, and (b) draw logical inferences about which generic competencies are required, based on the tasks and skills needed to perform each main responsibility. For example, if people management is a main responsibility, it is likely that the competency model will need to include one or more of the generic competencies related to people management, such as Performance Management, Empowering Others, and Developing Others.

Conducting job analysis interviews is taught in Workitect’s Building Competency Models workshop.

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Identifying a Set of Generic Competencies

Why should you use a dictionary of generic competencies when you can develop your own dictionary?

Because so much competency modeling has been done over the past 40 years, it is not necessary to develop a new competency model from scratch. Consultants and researchers who have done extensive competency modeling work have prepared dictionaries of generic, or frequently occurring non-technical competencies. Each competency in the dictionary usually contains a definition and a set of conceptually related behavioral indictors.  For example, the staff of Workitect has developed several developmental resource guides that include generic competencies. Selecting or adapting a set of generic competencies streamlines the process of competency modeling.

To identify a set of generic competencies for a particular project, the project leader selects relevant competencies from a generic competency dictionary and reviews these with the project sponsor and other appropriate staff. The goal is to identify a set of competencies that will encompass all personal characteristics and skills relevant to the jobs under consideration and all other jobs for which will competency models may be built. Sometimes it is desirable to adapt the names of the competencies and the language used in the definitions and behavioral indicators to reflect language and concepts used in the organization.

If it is important to identify technical competencies, you can consult one or more subject matter experts within the organization to help identify and draft a set of technical competencies for use in the competency-modeling project. The technical competencies should also be reviewed and revised with the project sponsor and other appropriate staff.

Identifying a set of generic competencies is especially important when the Multiple Jobs Approach is being used. The generic competencies are common building blocks used to construct each competency model. These generic competencies ensure use of a consistent conceptual framework across jobs.

The generic competencies are also useful when using the Single Job Approach and the One Size Fits All Approach. For example, if a resource panel is used as one of the data gathering methods, the panel members may be asked to rate the importance of each of the generic competencies to the job under consideration.

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