Third, the panel conducted a short qualitative survey of HRM professionals, asking about possible users of O*NET (Ryan and Pearlman, 2009).
Although these information sources were valuable, they cannot be presumed to comprehensively represent the entire user community of O*NET for HRM. Time and resource constraints precluded us from conducting systematic, in-depth, or long-term fact-finding or data-gathering efforts. The panel faced the problem that “we did not know what we didn’t know.” It is not possible to determine how much additional information on uses of O*NET data for HRM purposes might have been uncovered had time permitted additional efforts. Because there is no single, readily available repository of O*NET user information and feedback to shed additional light on typical O*NET applications and data needs, the information that follows must be considered suggestive. Furthermore, because of these limits, it was not possible to evaluate the effectiveness or appropriateness of the specific applications of O*NET reported to us by human resource managers and consultants.
Despite these caveats, the panel judged the data gathered sufficient to reach conclusions and recommendations about the use of O*NET data for HRM purposes. This judgment is based on intensive and diligent efforts to solicit and receive input from a relatively wide range of O*NET users. It is also based on the observation that there is some degree of repetition or redundancy among the comments made and issues that surfaced across workshop presentations and papers and other user input. This can be considered a sign that most of the relevant issues or information has been captured.
A major use of O*NET is for job analysis. Note that the terms “job analysis” and “occupational analysis” are not synonymous. An occupational analysis looks at all those holding jobs in a given occupational category (e.g., all firefighters), whereas a job analysis focuses specifically on those holding jobs in an organization (e.g., all firefighters in the city of Detroit). O*NET provides an occupational analysis, but job analysts are typically not interested in all jobs in an occupation, but only those job holders in their own organizations.
Organizations conduct job analyses to describe the nature of work to be performed and to identify worker requirements for accomplishing that work. O*NET provides four essential elements of a job analysis that can serve as input to various HRM applications: (1) O*NET can inform job descriptions for use in designing and implementing selection systems, train-