[IPAC-List] Job analysis ratings brain teaser

Joel Wiesen wiesen at personnelselection.com
Wed Feb 11 18:24:42 EST 2009

Hi Keith,

The answer to the question you pose about task importance depends on the
scale definitions. You might have a clearer decision to make with
somewhat different scale definitions.

The second part of the definition for "Important" seems to talk only
about a competency. The second part of the other scale descriptions
talk about task performance. Perhaps you might restate the second half
of the definition of Important to tell the reader what you mean by an
"Important" task.

Only the definition of "Essential" uses the phrase "unacceptable overall
job performance." However, the definition of "Very Important" uses the
phrase "reason that this job exists." It may well be that if an
employee cannot do the tasks that are the reason the job exists, then
he/she would have unacceptable job performance.

In short, perhaps you can tighten up the definitions.

Your second question is how to define "most." As the word is usually
used it means a simple majority. Why would you want to define "most"

Also your question asks about a cutoff based on frequency of task
performance. However, a decision might depend on more than the scale
summary statistics. For example, do employees frequently or routinely
have to move from one job location or assignment to another and do these
moves involve a somewhat different mix of duties?

You are wrestling with very tough questions. G'luck with this.


Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director
Applied Personnel Research
27 Judith Road
Newton, MA 02459
(617) 244-8859

keith.poole at phoenix.gov wrote:

> Consider the scale below relating to task importance. Generally speaking,

> what mean rating would use to call a task/competency "important"

> (practically speaking, at what cutoff would you say it's OK to include the

> task as an essential function on a job description, and/or target this

> content for a written exam, assuming that the skills are needed upon entry

> to the class and time spent performing task is adequate). 2.0? 2.33?

> 2.5? other? Why?


> Also, if you were to say "In order to include the task, most incumbents

> must perform the task", what % would you use to say "most" perform

> it...51%? 67% 75%?

> I realize there aren't hard/fast rules, and any 'cutoff' would be a

> guideline...just wanted a reality check, thanks.



> 0 - Not Important / Not Performed - it is not necessary for an employee

> to perform this or possess this competency to have acceptable performance

> in this class;


> 1 - Somewhat Important - it is desirable, but not critical, for an

> employee to perform this or possess this competency.


> 2 - Important - it is important for an employee to perform this or possess

> this competency, and failure to possess this usually indicates an overall

> performance problem.


> 3 - Very Important - not performing or possessing this would have a

> negative effect on overall job performance; this is a major requirement

> and reason that this job exists.


> 4 - Essential - it is extremely critical that the employee possess this

> competency; failure to possess this competency would result in

> unacceptable overall job performance.



> Keith Poole

> Personnel Supervisor

> City of Phoenix Personnel Dept

> Employment Services

> (602) 261-8861

> keith.poole at phoenix.gov

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