an Existing Job
If you're hiring to replace an employee who's leaving you,
you have more information and knowledge to work with. You can
talk with the employee who is leaving (in some cases) and, if
you have other employees doing the same type of work, you can
get input from them. There are a few ways to gather this
information ranging from informal to formal, and you may choose
to try one or all of them.
Job analysis interviews. If you're gathering
information about a position that is currently filled by an
employee, the best way to get good information about that
position is to talk with that employee. It can be especially
helpful if the employee is leaving and you will need to replace
him or her, or if you are hiring someone else to do similar
duties as the current employee.
Job analysis interviews are especially helpful for analyzing
management jobs. Interviews can also be an excellent way to
follow up on the information that you assemble through written
If you have only one or two other employees, this approach
may seem too formal and drawn out for you. Instead, sit down
with the employee and discuss which duties may have changed and
which skills they felt were the most important in doing the job.
Employee observation. Observing employees is,
historically, one of the most commonly used job analysis
techniques. In most small businesses, the owner is the only
supervisor, so to some extent you'll already be observing the
employee who's leaving. Observation can also serve as a
complement to an interview, just to be sure that nothing was
left out. There are some drawbacks to observation, though.
- A good job analysis will analyze the employee performing
the job through a complete job cycle.
- When observing an employee, the person observing has to be
sure not to let opinions about the employee get in the way
of observing the job. Don't analyze the employee — analyze
- Observing employees is easier in a manufacturing or
production environment. Observing an administrative
assistant may not be as easy because the jobs and tasks may
vary so widely from day to day.
Written questionnaires. A questionnaire is a written
series of questions completed by an employee that relate to the
specific duties of the job, the tasks the employee does most,
and the skills the employee will need to do the job.
Questionnaires can be simple or complicated. The questions
can be highly structured or open ended. For most small
businesses, you'll want to ask a series of open-ended questions
that allow the interviewee to give a narrative form of answer,
such as an essay question. Open-ended questions are especially
effective for positions that cover a wide range of
responsibilities. Remember, the main objective is to find out
what is done and what you need done. Going through this process
can help you to crystallize your thoughts into a clear picture
of what you need and which skills a prospective employee must
have to do them.
Also available among the Business Tools
are sample job
analysis checklists. Try to customize the
questions as much as possible to your type of
business and the work that your employee does or