How to Do a Job Assessment

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A job assessment, evaluation or analysis is a detailed examination of the responsibilities of a job as well as the knowledge, skills and abilities required of someone to do the job. It is customarily performed by a human resources professional trained in the process. A well-executed job assessment enables an organization to objectively and effectively hire, train, manage, evaluate performance and compensate job holders.

  • Read the job description. The actual job may be quite different from what is written. If this is the case, you may want to revise the job description after the assessment.

  • Search federal databases for similar jobs. These databases contain the results of assessments of many jobs and can be a good starting point for information.

  • Compile a list of standard questions to ask job candidates. You can create your own or purchase a validated questionnaire. The list should include such topics as: Essential job duties and their importance, reporting relationships, supervisory relationships, skills needed, knowledge needed, education and training needed, independent judgment needed, information about the risk to company of errors made, physical effort needed, tools needed, technology needed and the overall working environment.

  • Ask job candidates to complete the questionnaire or use it to interview the workers.

  • Ask the supervisor or manager of the job to provide the same information in questionnaire or interview form.

  • Compare the results to see if they largely agree. If they do, you can be confident that you have an accurate picture of the job and can move on to summarizing the results.

  • Validate the findings. If you found considerable differences between the sources of information you have compiled, you will need to investigate further by observing the workers or having them complete a task log for a period of time to discern what they actually do. To understand critical knowledge, skills and abilities, ask them to describe a specific example of a time they performed an important task and, by listening to them describe how they went about it, uncover the knowledge, skills and abilities used.

  • Summarize findings, once you are certain your information is correct. Use this to write or update the job description which should then form the basis for hiring, training and evaluating performances for that job. It can also be used to compare the job to others for the purpose of assigning appropriate compensation.

Tips & Warnings

  • In the case where the job is new or there is no incumbent, use the steps described above to understand from the managers what responsibilities, skills, knowledge and abilities they will require of the person who will hold the job.
  • In order to prevent bias in hiring and evaluation, be sure that everything in the assessment is important to the performance of the job.

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