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Making the Most of a Job Analysis Without In-Person Interaction

October 2, 2020

Various organizations and industries have adjusted their work processes due to COVID-19. Call it what you may – adapting, altering, accommodating – the acknowledgement that process changes may be needed have helped these businesses face these inherent challenges head-on. 

iStock-1213470229-1The job analysis, often cited as the building block of a certification program, has not been immune to these challengesAs travel and large group gatherings have been limited for most of 2020, the virtual job analysis has gained in popularity. Below we will outline how to make the most out of a job analysis without in-person interaction. This topic was presented at the ABNS conference on October 2nd, and these were the key takeaways. 

While it is true that our current circumstances have played a large role in the increased interest in virtual job analyses, it is not necessarily the only impetus. The advantages of in-person meetings, which admittedly should always be considered, are counterbalanced by the inherent limitations that they pose. Some of these limitations include the fact that: 

  • Not every job analysis decision can be made all at once in a meeting 

  • In-person meetings may inadvertently exclude certain perspectives 

  • In-person meetings are expensive 

It is the combination of these two forces, COVID-19 and the limitations of in-person meetings, that has led to a rise in the virtual job analysis. Now, let’s take a look at the steps that can be taken to run the most efficient and productive virtual job analysis meetings as possible.  

  • Communicate Early and Often – It's important to outline meeting objectives to participants beforehand. This will help to eliminate any ambiguity that may be present on the day of the meeting.   

  • Troubleshoot Technology – The software tools that help make virtual meetings possible are great, but they are not bulletproof. Provide participants with the opportunity to test out the technology that will be used before the meeting.  

  • Set Expectations – Make sure that participants know that, even though the meeting is not in-person, all interactions should still be respectful of the input and contributions of others.  

  • Take Advantage of Smaller Group Sizes and Meeting Times – Leverage the virtual format by getting creative with the participant groups and meeting times. You may have the opportunity to meet with smaller groups, and meeting times can be split (e.g., two 4-hour meetings instead of one 8-hour meeting). 

Utilizing these steps can help to maximize any virtual meeting. When considering whether to conduct a job analysis virtually or in-person, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each method. While a virtual job analysis may offer decreased costs for participant involvement as well as greater flexibility in terms of scheduling, it may also provide less incentive for participation without the added bonus of an in-person trip.

Fatigue and technology challenges must also be considered. Either way, considering the environment and challenges that are posed by either an in-person or virtual job analysis before the actual meetings can go a long way to ensuring a smooth experience for both you and your subject matter experts.  

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Cyrus Mirza, PhD Cyrus Mirza, PhD is a psychometrician at PSI and works out of PSI’s Glendale, CA office. Cyrus assists certification clients in a number of different industries and has extensive experience with job analysis, test development and validation, data analysis, and report writing. Cyrus enjoys fostering relationships with clients and developing various selection tools that are uniquely tailored to specific jobs. Cyrus earned his PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of Houston.