Job Analysis – An Existential View

Featuring: with Dr. Ed Levine

Dr. Ed Levine, Professor Emeritus in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of South Florida, and a long time friend of Dr. Charles Handler joins us in this episode.

Dr. Levine literally wrote the book on job analysis. In this episode Dr. Levine shares decades of wisdom about the how and why of job analysis. The conversation takes an existential turn and provides really refreshing perspective about the true essence and value of job analysis.

So what is job analysis anyway and why is it so important?

To answer this questions Episode 4 includes a great discussion about the key inputs and outputs of job analysis, but then reaches into a refreshing philosophical territory.

Points of interest in the discussion include:

Essentially job analysis translates what people do on a job into words. While job analysis may seem cold and boring on the surface, it is actually a spiritual thing in many ways because it involves a search for meaning within the work people do.

Job analysis highlights the attributes needed for success at a job- providing a measuring stick for job applicants. The ability to hire based on the fit between applicants’ match to the human traits required for job success is of course critical to business outcomes. But job analysis has even more value because it helps individuals find work that is meaningful to them- therefore offering a larger benefit to society.

The entire concept of a job is now getting outmoded so the view is turning to “work analysis” this expands the domain to include emotions, teams, personality factors, etc. This covers the work process not just a job.

The future of job analysis is really bright. Beyond the applications for selecting employees, job analysis will continue to be a foundational aspect of the relation between humans and work. As the concept of a job changes, so too will job analysis.

We can expect to see the scope expanded beyond just the study of one person’s role in one discreet job. Instead we can expect to see job analysis extending into “work analysis” that transcends the walls of one organization. Work analysis will focus on the study of the things required for various types of work.

As work continues to become more team based in nature, we can also expect job analysis to be applied to the study of what teams need to successfully accomplish valued objectives. New technologies such as sensors and IOT devices will allow us a much deeper view on how teams interact in the workplace. Insights from this work will help promote a better understanding of the traits required to optimize the human elements that impact the success of work teams.

We can expect to see advances in technology contribute to the evolution of job analysis. In the future we can expect that job analysts will have access to database that contain the results of thousands of job analysis studies. Think of an evolution of the O*net system to include access to accumulated job studies will allow analysts to instantly dial up job profiles that are fairly complete. Imagine this data being yoked to AI based systems that provide a deeper level of intelligence about the human traits required for success.

Job analysis is a foundational part of any talent assessment program. Building an assessment without a job analysis is like building a house without a blueprint. But as we see in this episode, job analysis has a lot more to offer.
All in all- Job analysis will continue to be a bright star in the understanding of humans and their work.

Dr. Levine is a prolific author, speaker and consultant, working with governmental agencies, across the private sector and most recently with NASA on Astronaut selection. You can learn more about Ed by visiting his site:

And watch for the 3rd Edition of his book, “Job and Work Analysis” here: