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  • Writer's pictureKohei Yoshino

Methods That Can Be Used to Collect Job Analysis Data -Part I (Interviews)

Updated: Mar 8, 2022


Interviews are one of the most popular and effective ways to collect data when conducting a job analysis. For instance, individual interviews can be conducted to collect information regarding the job that’s being analyzed from the job incumbents or their supervisors (Brannick et al., 2019). The person who is conducting the interview typically spends time before the interviews to plan and develop questions based on the objective they are trying to achieve (Brannick et al., 2019). For example, as a consultant, I’ve recently conducted an interview with an admin analyst who is leaving the organization to understand her tasks prior to updating a job description to recruit someone into her role. The questions I’ve asked revolved around how she spends her time daily, weekly, and monthly as well as the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to succeed in the role. Similarly, interviews can be conducted in a group setting to collect information about the job that’s being analyzed from multiple stakeholders (e.g., SMEs consisting of job incumbents, supervisors, and consultants) and obtain variable insights simultaneously. Referring to the example I shared above, it could have been conducted in a group setting by involving her, her supervisor, as well as other admin analysts in the organization to develop the updated list of tasks along with required skills, knowledge, and abilities for the role. As mentioned above, interviews are very useful in conducting a job analysis as they allow us to collect data on tasks, skills, knowledge, and abilities required for the role from job holders as well as other relevant stakeholders and SMEs. On the other hand, the potential limitation of interviews is the time required to integrate all the information collected through interviews. Though this issue can be mitigated by conducting a group interview instead of individual interviews as Brannick et al. (2019) mention, depending on the number of interviewees, the time required to analyze the data collected can be overwhelming.

Use of Subject Matter Experts in Interviews

A Subject Matter Expert can include but is not be limited to job incumbent, supervisor, as well as other experts such as consultants and those who are in academia (Brannick et al., 2019). One of the potential benefits of using SMEs in collecting job analysis data is that as someone who is very familiar with the specific job that is to be analyzed, they can provide assistance in developing a list of tasks, required knowledge, skills, and abilities for the role (Brannick et al., 2019). The involvement of SMEs leads to effective job analysis for the specific role, especially when combined with other methodologies such as interviews and observation. By involving SMEs, the organizations can ensure not to miss any key job elements or tasks that need to be captured in the development of job descriptions, training programs, performance management programs, and succession planning. On the other hand, a potential downside of using SMEs is that it can be costly especially the organization opts to hire an external consultant or specialist. Even if the SME group consists of existing employees (e.g., job incumbents and supervisors), the cost must be taken into account in terms of opportunity cost (i.e. time spent by those individuals on the data collection and job analysis could be spent on other activities).


Brannick, M. T., Levine, E. L., & Morgeson, F. P. (2019). Job and Work Analysis: Methods, research, and applications for human resources management (3rd ed.). Sage.

Norman, D. (2013). The Design of Everyday Things. MIT Press.

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