Twitter: A Job Analysis Tool?

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Posted by Greg Pope

I was talking recently with Sean Farrell, a manager of Evaluation and Assessment at a global professional services firm. Sean mentioned an interesting idea that I’d like to share with you, and I’d like to know what you think of it.

Sean recently signed up for a Twitter account. Observing how easy it is for people to post updates and comments there, he began to wonder about how an industrial psychologist could use Twitter. He found a Twitter application to use on his Blackberry, began to search through the options, and came across a function that would remind him to update his tweets on a timed schedule, say every 30 or 60 minutes. Then it hit him! Sean thought perhaps Twitter could be a very useful tool for collecting job task information. This idea made sense to me! I wanted to hear more about what Sean was thinking.

Job analysis is an important part of building valid assessments but in practice it is very difficult to capture good job analysis information. One technique cited in text books is to have job incumbents complete a work journal that captures what they are doing at various times of the work day. Often this technique is viewed as too time consuming and cumbersome for employees to complete. Sean thought: what if we were to ask employees to tweet every 15 or 30 minutes and explain what they are doing at that moment? The person conducting the study could ‘follow’ all the employees and have an instant combined view of tasks completed throughout the day.

twitter-logoIf today’s emerging workforce is already familiar with Twitter and finds it a fun activity then perhaps employees would not mind participating in a Twitter-based job analysis. I think this potential application of Twitter that Sean came up with is really interesting and could be a great way to augment traditional job task analysis information collection via surveys and other means. I want to throw it out there for discussion. Does anyone else think this approach could have merit and want to try it?

3 Responses to “Twitter: A Job Analysis Tool?”

  1. Stefanie says:

    I saw Sean’s tweet where he first posted this idea, it sounds very interesting! I’m not an expert on Job analysis, but it would seem to me that participants need well defined categories and labels, specially when using 140 character tweets on twitter, to harvest the job analysis data.

  2. venkat sastry says:

    Hello Greg,
    Sounds interesting. The quality of information provided may vary dramatically. There is a well known technique in Knowledge Acquisition in the domain of AI, where the experts are asked to describe why they are doing what they are doing. It is a skill that need to be acquired. Think of all those doctors doing their postmortem reports.

    In the context of e-assessment and feedback it may have some potential. At present, it appears to be intrusive, but if it can done in subtle ways as to engage the learner, it might have great potential.

  3. […] seen some interesting ideas from the likes of Greg Pope and Sean Farrell at the Questionmark Blog about using Twitter to collect job task […]

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