A job analysis is a step-by-step specification of an employment position's requirements, functions, and procedures. Just as a seed cannot blossom into a flower unless the ground is properly prepared, many human resource management (HRM) practices cannot blossom into competitive advantage unless grounded on an adequate job analysis. Successful HRM practices can lead to outcomes that create competitive advantage. Job analyses, properly performed, enhance the success of these HRM practices by laying the foundation. Job analysis information can be applied to a variety of HRM practices. We now take a brief look at some of them.

An employer's recruitment and selection practices seek to identify and hire the most suitable applicants. Job analysis information helps employers achieve this aim by identifying selection criteria, such as the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform a job successfully. A firm's managers and human resource (HR) professionals can then use this information to choose or develop the appropriate selection devices (e.g., interview questions, tests). This approach to selection is legally required. An employer facing discrimination charges must demonstrate to the courts that its selection criteria are job-related. To support this type of claim-relatedness, a firm must demonstrate that the challenged selection practice was developed on the basis of job analysis information. As one judge noted during a discrimination hearing, without a job analysis on which to base selection practices, an employer "is aiming in the dark and can only hope to achieve job-relatedness by blind luck." In the 1990s, the need for firms to base selection criteria on job analysis information became even more important due to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law states that employment decisions concerning disabled candidates must be

based on their ability to perform the essential functions of the job. For instance, if report reading were an essential job function, then applicants whose disabilities prevented them from reading could be lawfully denied employment (assuming there was no way to accommodate them). If, however, report reading were not an essential function, the inability to read could not lawfully serve as a basis for denial. The determination of which job functions are essential is made during a job analysis.

Firms can also use job analysis information to assess training needs and to develop and evaluate training programs. Job analyses can identify tasks a worker must perform. Then, through the performance appraisal process, supervisors can identify which tasks are being performed properly or improperly. The supervisor can next determine whether improperly performed work can be corrected through training. HR professionals also use job analysis information to develop relevant training programs. The job analysis specifies how each job is performed, step by step, allowing HR professionals to develop training materials to teach trainees how to perform each task. To evaluate the effectiveness of a training program, the organization must first specify training objectives or the level of performance expected of trainees when they finish the program. The success of a training program is judged on the basis of the extent to which those performance levels have been reached. Expected performance levels are often specified during a job analysis. Information obtained from a job analysis can be used to develop performance appraisal forms. An example of a job analysis-based form would be one that lists the job's tasks or behaviors and specifies the expected performance level for each. The role of job analysis is crucial here. Without job analysis information, organizations typically use a single, generalized form in which all workers are appraised on the basis of a common set of characteristics or traits that are presumed to be needed for all jobs (e.g., cooperation, dependability, leadership).

effort. Job worth is typically determined by evaluating or rating jobs based on important factors such as skill level. on the relative worth or importance of each job to the organization. responsibility. and working conditions. Most companies base pay rates. For instance. Job content refers to workers' job activities or what workers actually do on the job. an employer may uncover potential dangers or hazards of a job. If the responsibilities and limits of authority of a job are delineated in a job analysis. and worker requirements. this information may be used to help resolve such problems. in part. workers may be disciplined for refusing to perform tasks that they believe are not part of their jobs. Various pay-for-performance programs provide rewards to employees who perform their jobs at or above some desired level. DETERMINING THE TYPE OF INFORMATION TO BE COLLECTED A wealth of information may be gathered during a job analysis. While conducting a job analysis. Job analysis information may be divided into three categories: job content. Job analysis is used to identify that level of performance. The job analysis may also identify unsafe practices. Job analysis also plays an important role in the development of productivity improvement programs. REMEDIAL USES Managers must sometimes discipline employees for their failure to properly carry out their job responsibilities. Job analysis information can also be useful from a safety and health point of view.Job analysis-based appraisal forms are superior to the generalized forms because they do a better job of communicating performance expectations and because they provide a better basis for giving feedback and for making HRM decisions. job context. such as tasks that are performed in a way that could cause injury. The information provided by a job analysis serves as the basis for job worth evaluations. Job context refers to the conditions under which the work is performed and the demands .

CONTEXT. Specific types of job context information typically identified during a job analysis include reporting relationships. ability. equipment. the expected performance levels. such as forklift operating skills and word-processing skills. and the type of training needed by a new worker to perform tasks satisfactorily. or machinery used in the process. authority. and the physical and mental demands on the worker. the job analyst seeks to determine what the worker does. Worker requirements refer to the knowledge. These terms are defined as: y y Knowledge²the body of information one needs to perform the job. Worker requirements refer to the worker qualifications needed to perform the job successfully. Job context refers to the conditions under which work is performed and the demands such work imposes on employees. skill. and reasoning or problemsolving abilities. and the tools. REQUIREMENTS. Skill²the capability to perform a learned motor task.such jobs impose on the worker. y . mathematical abilities. personal contacts. The analyst may also gather additional information about tasks. such as communication abilities. CONTENT. working conditions. When gathering information about tasks. the purpose of the action. supervision received. and credentials needed for effective job performance. personal characteristics. Job content can be described in a number of ways. judgment. depending on how specific one wants (or needs) to be. Ability²the capability needed to perform a non-motor task. The specific information falling within each category is described next. such as their relative importance. The different types of job content information are described in Exhibit 1.

DETERMINING HOW TO COLLECT THE INFORMATION HR professionals often gather job analysis information. . The purpose or intended use of the job analysis dictates the particular information to be gathered. such as diplomas. certifications. work ethic) or their willingness/ability to adapt to the circumstances in the environment (e. on the type of information sought.g. observing them at work. ability to withstand boredom. skills..e. The appropriateness of each approach depends. and abilities (KSAs) one would need to do well on that job. Therefore.. they must enlist the actual job incumbents and their supervisors to gather and interpret the pertinent information. For instance. in part. if a job analysis were to be used to develop a technical training program for new employees..g. assertiveness. and licenses. willingness to treat others cordially). Job analysis information may be gathered by interviewing these individuals. concern for others. etc.. principles. Credentials²proof or documentation that an individual possesses certain competencies. tact. objectivity. If the purpose were to develop a written employment test to assess applicants' knowledge of the job. the facts. the analyst should focus on information about subtasks (a step-by-step description of how the job is carried out) and the specific knowledge. the analyst should target information about the specific tasks of the job and the knowledge required to perform each task (i. willingness to work overtime. but it is usually unnecessary to gather all possible data.y Personal characteristics²an individual's traits (e. y The sheer amount of information that can be uncovered during a job analysis may be overwhelming. because these individuals lack sufficient expertise in the jobs being analyzed. the analyst must decide how the job analysis will be used before deciding what information to seek. and/or having them complete job analysis questionnaires. theories. However. one must know to be able to perform tasks satisfactorily).

and meeting with students. y Specific Level Subtasks y Definition: The steps carried out in the completion of a task.Exhibit 1 The Different Types of Job Content Information Broad Level Function or Duty y y Definition: The major areas of the job-holder's responsibility. Example: A professor's functions are teaching. such behavior is engaged in when performing a variety of tasks. and service to the university/community. Example: "Communicating"²a professor engages in this behavior when performing several tasks. research. Intermediate Level Task y Definition: What a worker does when carrying out a function of the job. y Work Behavior y Definition: An important activity that is not task specific. it is an activity that results in a specific product or service. giving/grading exams. Example: The function of teaching requires a professor to perform several tasks like lecturing. . such as lecturing and meeting with students.

An interview usually takes between one and eight hours." y INTERVIEWS. As the most frequently used job analysis method. Critical Incidents y Definition: Specific activities that distinguish effective from ineffective job performance. When time constraints pose a problem. OBSERVATIONS. . Thus. how they do it. Example: "The professor uses several examples when explaining difficult concepts. training needs of new workers. especially when the analyst must interview several people. interviews provide a potential wealth of information. and worker requirements. and determining how this information can be communicated in a clear and interesting manner. where several subject-matter experts are interviewed simultaneously. deciding on what information to convey. and the conditions under which they perform their jobs. The typical role of the supervisor is to review and verify the accuracy of the incumbents' responses. such as reading the text and other relevant materials. That is. However. expected performance levels. Interviews with incumbents tend to focus on job content and job context information. and to provide further information concerning task importance.y Example: The task of providing lectures consists of several subtasks. incumbents are asked to describe what they do. interviewing can take a great deal of time. Job analysis interviews are structured conversations between the job analyst and one or more subject-matter experts. the best alternative is to conduct a group interview. Interviews are typically held with both job incumbents and their supervisors. one-on-one interviews can be quite time-consuming. depending on the amount and depth of information sought.

Task inventories also request information regarding the frequency or time spent performing each task. An inventory containing a list of task statements is called a task inventory. HR professionals sometimes base job analysis solely on observation. A job analysis questionnaire containing only closed-ended questions is called a job analysis inventory. Observation is most useful when jobs are complex and difficult to accurately describe. Closed-ended questions are more commonly used because they provide greater uniformity of responses and are more easily scored. the analyst observes or videotapes the job and then interviews the worker for clarification or explanation. observation means watching the incumbent perform the job. Whether or not observation yields sufficient data for the analysis depends on the type of information being collected. For instance. Open-ended questions ask respondents to provide their own answers to the questions. When analyzing such jobs. As the name suggests. QUESTIONNAIRES. Job analysis inventories ask respondents to rate each item in terms of its importance to the job. When using this approach. Job analysis questionnaires ask subject-matter experts²workers and/or supervisors²to record job information in writing. it is an excellent method for identifying subtasks performed in routine/repetitive types of jobs.Sometimes a job analyst will supplement interviews with job analysis observations. The observation allows the analyst to gain a better understanding of how the work is done and the KSAs needed to perform it. Closed-ended questions ask respondents to select an answer from a list provided on the questionnaire. analysts should be alert to the possibility that some workers may behave atypically when observed. . or slow down in an effort to demonstrate how difficult their jobs are. Job analysis questionnaires contain either openended or closed-ended questions. they may increase their speed to impress the observer. however. one containing a list of worker ability requirements is called an ability inventory. For instance. such as assembly-line work. While observation is usually used as a supplement to the interview.

and worker requirements.. a summary of job analysis findings). The format of job descriptions may be general purpose or special purpose. Companies also use inventories as a means of grouping jobs. essential functions. GENERAL PURPOSE JOB DESCRIPTION. when many people hold the same job title). Once groups are established. Compared to interviews. Job analysis inventories are also used to determine workers' training needs. the organization can determine selection criteria. DETERMINING HOW JOB ANALYSIS aINFORMATION WILL BE RECORDED Once HR professionals have collected job analysis information.e. a group would consist of jobs in which all workers performed similar tasks or needed similar skills. a manager would pull out a job description to review essential functions and worker requirements prior to developing interview questions for a job applicant..g. Workers are presented with a list of tasks or abilities and are asked to indicate those for which they need training. information can be collected much more quickly using this approach. training needs. job summary. Grouping refers to categorizing jobs based on the similarity of tasks performed or skills needed. For instance. it must be recorded in some systematic way to produce a job description (i. ranging from "great need" to "no need." is typically used. . A general purpose job description is one that contains a variety of information that can be used for several purposes. such as communicating job responsibilities to employees and specifying minimum job requirements. A five-point rating scale. A typical general purpose job description contains the following sections: job identification. The particular information contained in the job description varies depending on company preference and the intended use of the instrument. and evaluation criteria applicable to all jobs within a group.Companies use job analysis inventories when information is needed from several people (e.

Several special purpose job descriptions have been developed by a variety of HRM experts during the past 30 years. and things. For instance. Critical factors are . and a list of competencies needed for the job. mathematics. and job context information may serve as a basis for making job evaluation ratings that are needed to establish pay rates. It originated in the military during World War II and was used to identify critical factors in human performance in a variety of military situations. Another special purpose method of job analysis is called the critical incident technique (CIT). and job context. indicating the level of worker involvement with data. SPECIAL PURPOSE JOB DESCRIPTIONS. language. Some of the more commonly used special purpose approaches are described next. task ratings for importance and needed training. Functional job analysis (FJA) focuses primarily on recording job content information. performance standards may serve as a basis for developing certain types of performance appraisal forms. Special purpose formats cover fewer topics. which contains a list of duties. and the results or final product of the worker's actions). A job description method that provides more in-depth information is called the Versatile Job Analysis System (VERJAS).General purpose job descriptions used by most companies provide only a brief summary of job analysis information. and thus lack sufficient detail for some HRM applications. The other four scales indicate the level of ability needed in the areas of reasoning. how it is done. Subtask information may serve as a basis for developing training programs. tasks. and following instructions. the performance standards and training needs associated with the task. but the topics covered are analyzed in more depth. Each task is analyzed separately on a worksheet that contains a task statement (specifying what the worker does. people. many fail to indicate subtasks. job context descriptions. Three of the scales are known as worker function scales. performance standards. and seven rating scales. A key difference between general and special purpose job descriptions lies in the amount of detail they include.

protect an organization from claims of discrimination. The incidents are usually collected in the form of stories or anecdotes that depict successful and unsuccessful job behaviors. STEP 1: IDENTIFY THE JOB OPENING This step would appear to be an easy one-just wait until an employee turns in a notice of resignation. From hiring and training to salary justification to remedial uses. For instance. in fact. it is a good tool for identifying selection criteria and training needs and for developing performance appraisal forms. ultimately employers will benefit from the many uses that a thorough job analysis can provide. For instance. EMPLOYEE RECRUITMENT PLANNING Recruitment is the process used by an organization to locate and attract job applicants in order to fill a position. Job analysis is a key component of the HRM process. a company must choose the recruiting method that produces the best pool of candidates quickly and cost effectively. Many job openings are. The critical incident technique requires the job analyst to collect critical incidents from people familiar with the job. An effective approach to recruitment can help a company successfully compete for limited human resources. To maximize competitive advantage.those that have been demonstrated to make the difference between success and failure in performing a job. The stories are then condensed to a single statement that captures the essence of the story. and can give the overall organization a competitive advantage. The CIT has several useful HRM applications. While the performance of comprehensive job analyses can be time consuming. and a week . it usually takes six to eight weeks to notify and screen applicants. identified in this way. There are five steps to the process. A major problem with this approach is that it may take the company a long time to fill the opening. job analysis will make the HR manager's job easier.

or more to make a decision regarding a job offer. it must address two issues: (1) whether to outsource. organizations should attempt to identify job openings well in advance of an announced resignation. an organization must define its target . Thus. even if the process runs smoothly. To address this question. the job in question is likely to remain vacant for months.. and (2) in the absence of outsourcing. The projection of future openings provides organizations with the time needed to plan and implement recruitment strategies so that they do not fall prey to the "must-hire-by-last-week" syndrome. Ideally. STEP 3: IDENTIFY THE TARGET POPULATION Now the organization must determine what types of individuals it is looking for to fill the vacant positions. If the firm chooses to fill the vacancy. The HRM department should plan for future openings in both the short and long term. For instance. Other alternatives include job elimination and job redesign (i.e. it may be more prudent to provide overtime opportunities to current workers to complete the needed work. whether to recruit candidates internally or externally. The HR plan should answer at least the following questions: y y y Are any newly budgeted positions opening soon? Is a contract under negotiation that may result in the need for additional hires? What is the amount of expected turnover in the next several months? STEP 2: DECIDE HOW TO FILL THE JOB OPENING The first question to ask after determining that an opening exists is "Do we need to find a new person to fill the vacant position?" Sometimes it is unnecessary to staff a vacant position because the firm can rely on other alternatives. the selected candidate must give notice (usually about two weeks) to his or her previous employer. incorporating the tasks of the vacant position into currently existing positions). After the decision is made.

salary range for hiring. Recruitment of such individuals poses some unique problems. skills. and abilities). If not. A variety of recruitment methods may be used for communicating vacancies. An organization must identify specific requirements of the job: the duties. the issue is this: Should the company post the job so that all qualified employees can be considered? Or should the company select certain highpotential employees and groom them for the position? When recruiting externally. Two issues arise here: (1) specifying worker requirements and (2) deciding whether to target a certain segment of the applicant population. reporting relationships.g. Companies may reap advantages when they target members of certain groups. Additionally. these individuals may be difficult to reach because they are not actively seeking a new job. Another strategy is to target graduates of specific schools that have exceptionally strong programs in the functional areas of concern. Low-involvement strategies are things such as corporate sponsorship or advertisements of the company's product or service may influence applicants' positive perceptions of that firm and therefore increase applicant attraction. the company must determine how to notify these individuals of the vacant position. much of this information will have been gathered during a job analysis and thus be contained in the job description. experience. knowledge. Moreover. STEP 4: NOTIFY THE TARGET POPULATION Once an applicant population has been targeted. education..population. the recruiter should gather it from the hiring manager. . Ideally. An organization must also decide at this point whether to target all qualified applicants or to focus its recruitment efforts on certain segments of the qualified applicant population. the company must decide whether to inform all potential applicants or target certain types. however. A firm can benefit from both low-involvement and high-involvement strategies at this stage of the recruitment process. but do not specifically identify a job opening. the practice of pirating employees from other firms raises some serious ethical questions. and competencies required of a new worker (e. When recruiting internally. some companies target topperforming employees working for other companies.

the most qualified candidates are brought in for interviews and other assessment procedures. which occur when potential applicants meet with current employees to hear more about their experiences with that company. using an Internet posting would be fruitless if most of the applicant pool is unlikely to have access to a computer. different recruitment methods may be used. firms must discourage all but the best applicants from applying. and current employee referrals. Some popular options are internal job postings. From a selection perspective. will result in higher numbers of job applicants and possibly a lower average level of quality of applicants. the cost of each recruitment method. Poor economic conditions. STEP 5: MEET WITH THE CANDIDATES Finally. perhaps using a newspaper or radio advertisement. and television advertisements. trade magazine advertisements. to avoid spending an inordinate amount of time weeding through applications. In this situation.High-involvement recruitment strategies involve things such as detailed recruitment advertisements or employee endorsements. where unemployment is high. for example. the more widely the firm may choose to advertise. newspaper. college campus interviews. From a recruitment perspective. Costs differ for recruitment methods and a firm may be willing to invest more in recruitment when suitable applicants are difficult to find or when poor hiring decisions may be costly. they provide the candidates with an opportunity to learn more about the employment opportunity. Internet job sites. Both low-involvement and high-involvement strategies have a positive effect on the number of applicants who apply for jobs with an organization and on the quality of the applicants who apply. The choice of which to use depends on the number of positions to be filled. The characteristics of the target audience influence recruitment method. they give the firm a chance to further assess the candidates' qualifications. . and economic conditions. When choosing a specific way to notify the target population. The more positions to be filled. the characteristics of the target audience. radio. These serve both selection and recruitment purposes.

Employee selection begins when a pool of applicants is generated by the organization's recruitment efforts." Employee selection is part of the overall staffing process of the organization. and retention activities. For example. By doing human resource planning. employee referrals. employee selection is the "process of collecting and evaluating information about an individual in order to extend an offer of employment. it may be interpreted by the candidates as an attempt to evade discussion of unattractive job attributes. recruitment.S. depending on the type of organization and the nature of the job in question. and compares that to the anticipated availability of such personnel in the internal or external labor markets.D. or they may refuse an offer without knowing about some of the job's attractive attributes. or it may be viewed as an indication of the recruiter's disinterest in them. During the recruitment phase of staffing. and many other methods. EMPLOYEE SCREENING AND SELECTION According to R. During the employee selection process. Failure to provide a sufficient amount of information could be detrimental to the recruiting process. Effective employee selection is a critical component of a successful organization. which also includes human resource (HR) planning. Without specific information. Gatewood and H. applicants might accept a job offer without knowing about aspects of it that might affect their long-term job satisfaction. How employees perform their jobs is a major factor in determining how successful an organization will be.Candidates should be provided with information about the company and the job. Field. a firm decides which of the recruited candidates will be offered a position. advertising to attract external applicants. and abilities (KSAs). Job performance is essentially determined by the ability of an . the organization attempts to establish contact with potential job applicants by job postings within the organization. skills. the organization projects its likely demand for personnel with particular knowledge.

Effective job analysis tells the organization what people occupying particular jobs "do" in the course of performing their jobs. disability. time-consuming. according to Gatewood and Field. The job analysis often results in a document called the job description. goal setting. and expensive. Since the organization must determine the individual KSAs needed to perform a job. as well as aspects of the job that are of minor or tangential importance to job performance. Thus. AN OVERVIEW OF THE SELECTION PROCESS Employee selection is itself a process consisting of several important stages. religion. such as educational and work experience. the organization can maximize the probability that its new employees will have the necessary KSAs to do the jobs they were hired to do. and compensation²that motivate workers to exert the effort needed to do their jobs effectively. or veteran's status. Through effective selection. Because job analysis can be complex. employee selection is one of the two major ways (along with orientation and training) to make sure that new employees have the abilities required to do their jobs. . which is a comprehensive document that details the duties. and tasks that make up a job. the selection process begins with job analysis. national origin. sex. color.individual to do a particular job and the effort the individual is willing to put forth in performing the job. It also helps the organization determine the major duties and responsibilities of the job. and innate ability and motivation levels. which is the systematic study of the content of jobs in an organization. The logic of employee selection begins with the assumption that at least some of these individual differences are relevant to a person's suitability for a particular job. in employee selection the organization must (1) determine the relevant individual differences (KSAs) needed to do the job and (2) identify and utilize selection methods that will reliably and validly assess the extent to which job applicants possess the needed KSAs. It also provides the base for other HR practices²such as effective job design. The organization must achieve these tasks in a way that does not illegally discriminate against any job applicants on the basis of race. personality characteristics. as shown in Exhibit 1. responsibilities. Job applicants differ along many dimensions. Thus.

Two examples of such databases are the U. Job Analysis the job. O*NET provides job descriptions for thousands of jobs. 2001. 2. skills. and abilities needed to do the job. The major duties and responsibilities of a job are often detailed in the job description. Allows the organization to determine the important dimensions of job performance. An understanding of the content of a job assists an organization in specifying the knowledge. These KSAs can be expressed in terms of a job specification. and the Occupational Information Network.standardized job descriptions have been developed that can be adapted to thousands of jobs in organizations across the world. which is an Exhibit 1 Selection Process Source: Adapted from Gatewood and Field.S. The Identification Drawing upon the information obtained through job . which has information on at least 821 occupations. which is also known as O*NET. government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). The systematic study of job content in order to determine the major duties and responsibilities of 1.

the organization will first try to determine which applicants possess the minimum KSAs required. other selection methods are used to make distinctions among the remaining job candidates and to decide which applicants will receive offers. The Assessment of the Reliability and Validity of Selection Methods methods they use are reliable and valid. or ability they purport to measure and should distinguish between job applicants who will be successful on the job and those who will not. The job requirements are often detailed in a document called the job specification. it must be able to determine the degree to which job applicants possess them. personality testing. skill. The organization should use its selection methods to make selection decisions. it must be able to determine the degree to which job applicants possess them. The Identification of Selection Methods to Assess KSAs KSAs needed by job applicants. The Use of Selection Methods to Process Job Applicants . cognitive testing. but are not limited to. The organization must Once the organization knows the 3. The organization must Selection methods include. 5. and assessment centers. The organization should be sure that the selection 4. drug testing. In terms of validity. interviews. reference and background checks. Once the organization knows the KSAs needed by job applicants. aptitude testing. Once unqualified applicants are screened. Typically. skills. the organization identifies the knowledge.of KSAs or Job Requirements analysis or from secondary sources such as O*NET. selection methods should actually assess the knowledge. and abilities necessary to perform the job.

VALIDITY OF SELECTION METHODS Validity refers to the quality of a measure that exists when the measure assesses a construct. validity refers to the appropriateness. There are many selection methods available to organizations. For example. In the selection context. aptitude testing. specific aptitudes or abilities. drug tests. The closer the applicants' actual job performances match their expected performances. assessment centers. Selection methods cannot be accurate unless they possess reliability and validity. Care must be taken to ensure that the job requirements are based on the actual duties and responsibilities of the job and that they do not include irrelevant requirements that may discriminate against some applicants. the greater the validity of the selection process. Once the necessary KSAs are identified the organization must either develop a selection method to accurately assess whether applicants possess the needed KSAs. . work experience. For both legal and practical reasons. but organizations also use reference and background checking. it is important that the selection methods used are relevant to the job in question and that the methods are as accurate as possible in the information they provide. or adapt selection methods developed by others. The necessary KSAs are called job requirements.organizational document that details what is required to successfully perform a given job. personality testing. cognitive ability testing. and in many other ways. and usefulness of the inferences made about applicants during the selection process. which simply means they are thought to be necessary to perform the job. The most common is the job interview. Job requirements are expressed in terms of desired education or training. It is concerned with the issue of whether applicants will actually perform the job as well as expected based on the inferences made during the selection process. many organizations have revamped their job descriptions and specifications in the years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that these documents contain only job-relevant content. and many other methods to try and accurately assess the extent to which applicants possess the required KSAs and whether they have unfavorable characteristics that would prevent them from successfully performing the job. meaningfulness.

For instance. Reliability is maximized when two people evaluating the same candidate provide the same ratings. their validity is diminished. A firm should use selection methods that reliably and accurately measure the needed qualifications. By basing qualifications on job analysis information. The other qualifications listed in the exhibit are universal in that nearly all employers consider these qualities important. a company ensures that the qualities being assessed are important for the job. A list of typical job requirements is shown in Exhibit 2. Job analyses are also needed for legal reasons. When selection scores are unreliable." Reliable evaluations are consistent across both people and time. meaning that each job has a unique set. It is defined as "the degree of self-consistency among the scores earned by an individual. and when the ratings of a candidate taken at two different times are the same. In discrimination suits. Some of the factors affecting the reliability of selection measures are: . courts often judge the job-relatedness of a selection practice on whether or not the selection criteria was based on job analysis information. Some qualifications²such as technical KSAs and nontechnical skills²are job-specific. The reliability of a measure refers to its consistency. if someone lodges a complaint that a particular test discriminates against a protected group. employers want all their employees to be motivated and have good work habits.ACHIEVING VALIDITY The organization must have a clear notion of the job requirements and use selection methods that reliably and accurately measure these qualifications. For instance. SELECTION METHODS The attainment of validity depends heavily on the appropriateness of the particular selection technique used. the court would (1) determine whether the qualities measured by the test were selected on the basis of job analysis findings and (2) scrutinize the job analysis study itself to determine whether it had been properly conducted. regardless of the job. The job specification derived from job analysis should describe the KSAs needed to perform each important task of a job.

its reliability also increases. such as 1. Question difficulty. individual differences are lessened. Reasoning ability 4. Technical KSAs or aptitude for learning them 2. Interpersonal 3. that means the device can reliably distinguish among people. Lack of rapport with the administrator of the measure. If questions are too easy. Individual differences among respondents. Work habits 1. few applicants will give the correct answer and. Length of measure . Assertiveness 3. Reliability suffers if candidates are particularly nervous during the assessment process. If the range or differences in scores on the attribute measured by a selection device is large. y y y y y Exhibit 2 A Menu of Possible Qualities Needed for Job Success 1. rather than just one or two. Ability to handle stress 5. Reliability suffers if candidates are "turned off" by the interviewer and thus do not "show their stuff" during the interview. Nontechnical skills. Conscientiousness 2. if questions are too difficult. Questions of moderate difficulty produce the most reliable measures. Reliability suffers if candidates are asked questions that are vague or confusing. many applicants will give the correct answer and individual differences are lessened. Motivation 3. Organizational citizenship . an interviewer can better gauge an applicant's level of interpersonal skills by asking several questions.y Emotional and physical state of the candidate. Communication 2. Inadequate knowledge of how to respond to a measure. For example. again. As the length of a measure increases.

2. the better the prediction. The more closely an assessment simulates actual job behaviors.4. would enjoy performing the job 4. Self-discipline 4. evaluate the applicant's past success on each behavior based on carefully developed rating scales. Many selection techniques are available for assessing candidates. The model implies that the most effective selection procedures are those that focus on the candidates' past or present behaviors in situations that closely match those they will encounter on the job. has ambitions that are congruent with the promotional opportunities available at the firm In addition to providing reliable assessments. Thoroughly assess each applicant's previous work experience to determine if the candidate has exhibited relevant behaviors in the past. fits the organization's culture regarding such things as risktaking and innovation 3. 3. Violent tendencies 5. Initiative 5. . estimate the future likelihood of these behaviors by administering various types of assessments. To implement the behavioral consistency model. Job-person fit. employers should follow this process: 1. such as 1. This model specifies that the best predictor of future job behavior is past behavior performed under similar circumstances. the firm's assessments should accurately measure the required worker attributes. How does a company decide which ones to use? A particularly effective approach to follow when making this decision is known as the behavior consistency model. is motivated by the organization's reward system 2. If the applicant has not had an opportunity to exhibit such behaviors. If such behaviors are found. Substance abuse 2. the greater its validity. Absence of dysfunctional behavior. the applicant 1. Theft 3. The closer the selection procedure simulates actual work behaviors.

However. Criterion-related strategy: Provides statistical evidence showing a relationship between applicant selection scores and subsequent job performance levels. but the inferential leap is a rather large one. an item found on a civil service exam for police officers: "In the Northern Hemisphere. For example. is insufficient to document validity. Most importantly. by itself. However. The following section lists and discusses these strategies: 1. This is where a . a firm gathers evidence that it followed appropriate procedures in developing its selection program. When employers must make such large inferential leaps. 2. which is an important trait for good police officers. Validity generalization strategy: Demonstrates that other companies have already established the validity of the selection practice. can one really be sure that the ability to answer this question is a measure of mental alertness? Perhaps. a content-oriented strategy. content-oriented evidence alone is insufficient. Content-oriented strategy: Demonstrates that the company followed proper procedures in the development and use of its selection devices. one could safely infer that a candidate who performs well on a properly-developed typing test would type well on the job because the test directly measures the actual behavior required on the job. for example. what direction does water circulate when going down the drain?" The aim of the question is to measure mental alertness. When using a content-oriented strategy to document validity. The sole use of a content-oriented strategy for demonstrating validity is most appropriate for selection devices that directly assess job behavior. The evidence should show that the selection devices were properly designed and were accurate measures of the worker requirements. when the connection between the selection device and job behavior is less direct. 3. some other strategy is needed. Consider.ASSESSING AND DOCUMENTING VALIDITY Three strategies can be used to determine the validity of a selection method. the employer must demonstrate that the selection devices were chosen on the basis of an acceptable job analysis and that they measured a representative sample of the KSAs identified.

or an overall selection score. Concurrent studies are more commonly used than predictive ones because they can be conducted more quickly. it can conclude that. When a firm uses this strategy. The two approaches differ primarily in terms of the individuals assessed. the firm can conclude that the inferences made during the selection process have been confirmed. current employees are used. Criterion scores represent the job performance level achieved by the individual and are usually based on supervisor evaluations. A criterion-related validation study may be conducted in one of two ways: a predictive validation study or a concurrent validation study. The steps to each approach are shown in Exhibit 3. it attempts to demonstrate statistically that someone who does well on a selection instrument is more likely to be a good job performer than someone who does poorly on the selection instrument. information is gathered on actual job applicants. the criterion scores cannot be gathered until the applicants have been hired and have been on the job for several months. To gather criterion-related evidence. the HR professional needs to collect two pieces of information on each person: a predictor score and a criterion score. (In a predictive study. applicants who score well during selection turn out to be good performers.3. To be considered valid. That is. y Validity is calculated by statistically correlating predictor scores with criterion scores (statistical formulas for computing correlation can be found in most introductory statistical texts). This correlation coefficient (designated as r ) is called a validity coefficient. When a suitable correlation is obtained ( r > 0. y Predictor scores represent how well the individual fared during the selection process as indicated by a test score. while those who do not score as well become poor performers.) Although concurrent validity studies have certain . In a predictive validation study. in a concurrent study. as a rule of thumb). an interview rating.criterion-related strategy comes into play. r must be statistically significant and its magnitude must be sufficiently large to be of practical value. in general. the assessed individuals are already on the job and performance measures can thus be more quickly obtained.

Data showing the similarity between the jobs for which the validity evidence is reported and the job in the new employment setting. y y MAKING A FINAL SELECTION The extensiveness and complexity of selection processes vary greatly depending on factors such as the nature of the job. Use application blanks. an organization must present the following data: y Studies summarizing a selection measure's validity for similar jobs in other settings. and the size of the organization. But what if it is using a selection device that has been used and properly validated by other companies? Can it rely on that validity evidence and thus avoid having to conduct its own study? The answer is yes. some mental aptitude tests have been found to be valid predictors for nearly all jobs and thus can be justified without performing a new validation study to demonstrate job relatedness. . Validity generalization is established by demonstrating that a selection device has been consistently found to be valid in many other similar settings. To use validity generalization evidence. A typical way of applying selection methods to a large number of applicants for a job requiring relatively high levels of KSAs would be the following: 1. It can do so by using a validity generalization strategy. If the number of applicants is not too large. the information provided by applicants can be verified with reference and/or background checks. Up to this point. resumes. An impressive amount of evidence points to the validity generalization of many specific devices. Data showing the similarity between the selection measures in the other studies composing the validity evidence and those measures to be used in the new employment setting. available research indicates that the two types of studies seem to yield approximately the same results. and short interviews to determine which job applicants meet the minimum requirements for the job. For example. our discussion has assumed that an employer needs to validate each of its selection practices.disadvantages compared to predictive ones. the number of applicants for each opening.

5. That is. each applicant could be rated on a scale (say. 3. For example. interviews. 4. Make contingent offers to one or more job finalists as identified by Step 2. Correlate job performance scores of this group with the scores they received on the selection procedures. 2. Use extensive interviews and appropriate testing to determine which of the minimally qualified job candidates have the highest degree of the KSAs required by the job. For most jobs. one could arrive at an overall rating of a candidate's dependability by combining information derived from references. Perform a job analysis to identify needed competencies. Administer the selection procedures to a group of applicants.2. General medical exams can only be given after a contingent offer is made. One viable strategy for arriving at a sound selection decision is to first evaluate the applicants on each individual attribute needed for the job. 3. Obtain measures of the job performance for the applicant after they have been employed for a sufficient amount of time. at the conclusion of the selection process. Randomly select applicants or select all applicants. Concurrent Validation . 6. Job offers may be contingent upon successful completion of a drug test or other forms of back-ground checks. Exhibit 3 Steps in the Predictive and Concurrent Validation Processes Predictive Validation 1. this would be six months to a year. Develop/choose selection procedures to assess needed competencies. and tests that relate to this attribute. from one to five) for each important attribute based on all the information collected during the selection process.

some applicants may be eliminated during the first stage if they do not meet the minimum education and experience requirements. y y y Decision-making is often facilitated by statistically combining applicants' ratings on different attributes to form a ranking or rating of each applicant. . a deficiency in any one area would eliminate the candidate from further consideration. When such a non-compensatory model is operating. The use of successive hurdles lowers selection costs by requiring fewer assessments to be made as the list of viable candidates shrinks. Additional candidates may be eliminated at later points after failing a drug test or honesty test or after demonstrating poor interpersonal skills during an interview. These steps are identical to those taken in a predictive validation study. proficiency in one area cannot compensate for deficiencies in another. This approach is appropriate when a compensatory model is operating. Obtain measures of the current job performance level of the job incumbents who have been assessed in step 3. When a non-compensatory model is operating. The applicant with the highest score is then selected. for example. 5. a baseball player may compensate for a lack of power in hitting by being a fast base runner. Identical to step 6 in a predictive study. candidates are eliminated during various stages of the selection process as their non-compensable deficiencies are discovered. the "successive hurdles" approach may be most appropriate. may serve to eliminate candidates for some jobs. 3. however.y 1 and 2. Administer the selection procedures to a representative group of job incumbents. In some selection situations. For example. regardless of their other abilities. Lack of honesty or an inability to get along with people. Under this approach. For example. when it is correct to assume that a high score on one attribute can compensate for a low score on another. 4. that is.