McDowell Economic Development Association, Inc.
The WorkKeys® job profiling system is a job analysis system developed by ACT that helps businesses identify the skills and skill levels employees must have to perform particular jobs effectively. It also gives individuals a clear picture of the skill levels they need to qualify for and be successful in the jobs they want. When used with the assessments, instruction, and reporting, job profiling allows students and workers to make decisions about appropriate jobs and to identify areas they need to strengthen in pursuing their education and career goals.
WorkKeys® job profiling is conducted by job analysts who have been trained and authorized by WorkKeys® industrial/organization psychologists. The profiling procedure is designed to systematically develop accurate profiles through a task analysis that is used to select the tasks most critical to a job, a skill analysis that is used to identify the skills and skill levels required at the entry level and for effective performance on that job, and skill ranking, which determines which WorkKeys® skills are the most critical to the job.
Task analysis – When profiling the job, the ACT-authorized job profiler first obtains background information about the job and the company. The profiler then begins the process of task analysis by consulting the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to develop a list of tasks that are relevant to the job. The profiler meets with subject matter experts (SMEs) who are incumbent workers or are supervisors in the job being studied. They work together to tailor the task list to make sure it accurately and completely describes their job. The SMEs add, delete, consolidate, and change the descriptions of tasks, as needed, to make sure they accurately depict their job as it is performed at their company.
After carefully examining this list of tasks, the SMEs rate each task according to two dimensions: Importance and Relative Time Spent. Importance refers to the significance of the task to overall job performance. Relative Time Spent is the amount of time spent performing this task compared to that spent on other tasks. The average Importance rating is multiplied by the average Relative Time Spent rating to produce the Criticality rating for each task. These ratings represent aggregate information, rather than information reached by the consensus of the SMEs. To complete the task analysis, the SMEs review a revised list, which shows the tasks in the order of their Criticality. They review the order of the tasks, remove the least critical tasks, and make any necessary revisions to the remaining tasks. The resulting Final Task List establishes which tasks are the most critical to performing the job.
Skill analysis – Once the SMEs understand the definition of a WorkKeys® skill and have determined its relevance to the job, they independently identify the tasks on the Final Task list that require the skill. Using the resulting list of tasks that require the skill, the SMEs then identify the work behaviors that specifically use that skill. For example, they might note that Reading for Information is necessary for performing detailed descriptions of the WorkKeys® skill levels to the SMEs. These descriptions include examples of problems or situations employees deal with at each level. The SMEs decide which skill levels are necessary at the entry level and for effective performance of their job.
Skill ranking – The last step the SMEs take during the job profiling session is to rank the skills included in the profile in terms of their criticality to performing the job. Each SME makes this judgment independently and then the profiler compiles the results of the rankings. The result is a rank ordering of the WorkKeys® skills that are most critical to performing the job.
Whenever profile data will be used to make selection decisions, ACT recommends repeating the profile process with at least one other group of subject matter experts, depending on the number of job incumbents available. The subsequent sessions are called replications. The completed WorkKeys® job profile includes a report that provides employers with job-related criteria that can assist them in making selection, promotion, and training decisions.
Isothermal Planning and Development Commission has two authorized job profilers on staff to answer your questions.  Contact Jerry Broome, at 828-659-6001  or Susan Alcide, at 704-473-6854  to find out how the WorkKeys® job profile system can improve the quality of your selection, training and development plans.