One of the main purposes of conducting job analysis is to prepare job descriptions and job specifications which in turn help hire the right quality of workforce into an organization. The general purpose of job analysis is to document the requirements of a job and the work performed. Job and task analysis is performed as a basis for later improvements, including: definition of a job domain; description of a job; development of performance appraisals, personnel selection, selection systems, promotion criteria, training needs assessment, legal defence of selection processes, and compensation plans.

In the fields of human resources (HR) and industrial psychology, job analysis is often used to gather information for use in personnel selection, training, classification, and/or compensation.

The field of vocational rehabilitation uses job analysis to determine the physical requirements of a job to determine whether an individual who has suffered some diminished capacity is capable of performing the job with, or without, some accommodation.

Professionals developing certification exams use job analysis (often called something slightly different, such as "task analysis" or "work analysis") to determine the elements of the domain which must be sampled in order to create a content valid exam. When a job analysis is conducted for the purpose of valuing the job (i.e., determining the appropriate compensation for incumbents) this is called "job evaluation."

Job analysis aims to answer questions such as:

  • Why does the job exist?
  • What physical and mental activities does the worker undertake?
  • When is the job to be performed?
  • Where is the job to be performed?
  • How does the worker do the job?
  • What qualifications are needed to perform the job?
  • What are the working conditions (such as levels of temperature, noise, offensive fumes, light)
  • What machinery or equipment is used in the job?
  • What constitutes successful performance?

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