The PAQ is a structured job analysis questionnaire that aids the user in conducting a quantified analysis of a given job. To complete a job analysis using the PAQ, the user reviews background information, observes the job, and conducts thorough interviews with job incumbents to determine job content then rates the extent to which each item on a standard list of PAQ job elements applies to that particular job. There are six types of rating scales used in the PAQ: Extent of Use; Importance to This Job; Amount of Time; Possibility of Occurrence; Applicability; and Item-Specific scales.

The PAQ consists of 187 items related to job activities or work situation. There are an additional 8 items related to the type of compensation received by the job incumbents. The PAQ items are organized into six divisions: Information Input, Mental Processes, Work Output, Relationships with Other Persons, Job Context, and Other Job Characteristics. These divisions provide a frame of reference for thinking about the major aspects of virtually any job. Familiarity with the overall structure of the PAQ will enable the analyst to obtain a very thorough analysis of a job. The analyst must recognize, however, that job incumbents seldom share this conceptual structure. Therefore, it is important that the analyst become adept at organizing the data obtained from the job analysis in a fashion both consistent with the PAQ and comprehensible to the job incumbents.

The organization of the PAQ into these six divisions provides the analyst with a logical structure to use in approaching the analysis of any job and in organizing the data obtained from the job analysis. The six divisions address the various types of activities a person may encounter in a job. Some organizations have employees who specialize in describing and studying jobs for a variety of human resource management purposes and may have training as job analysts. These individuals can readily use the PAQ as part of the job analysis process. Individuals who are not trained job analysts, but who work in staff positions in human resource or related departments, may become competent job analysts with appropriate training. The Job Analysis Manual can be especially valuable to both types of staff members who are looking to serve as job analysts. Generally speaking, the PAQ should not be completed by job incumbents or supervisors.

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