Selection tools such as employment tests, interviews, and preferred qualifications can enhance the quality of your workforce and help you make high-stakes employment decisions. But which tools are most effective and appropriate for your company?
These tools may come under scrutiny by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), or private experts. Under current guidelines, your company’s selection tools could be unlawful. To evaluate and potentially validate your selection procedures— and mitigate your risks— you need experts who can offer guidance and support.
Although the commonly-used tools below can provide value to employers by differentiating candidates on job-related dimensions, they also have the potential to be challenged along EEO lines. Evaluation and validation of employment selection tools can offer critical insight.
While some tests focus on specific job knowledge, others assess broader individual qualities like cognitive ability, personality, and attitudes. These tests can be handwritten or administered online. Interviews are flexible tools that can measure a variety of characteristics. They can be conducted in several formats, including via phone, video, or online. Work simulations that attempt to mirror tasks performed on the job are commonly-used tools that can provide job-related information to the employer as well as a realistic job preview to the candidate.
Work experience, education, and other dimensions of work and life history can be used as selection tools as well. These may be used as minimum qualifications, preferred qualifications, scored application blanks, or more complex empirically-scored biodata profiles intended to predict specific work outcomes like turnover, injuries, and other measures of performance.
Many employers leverage criminal records, credit history, and other screens as part of a background check for specific jobs. While these tools may be used for a variety of job-related purposes, they have recently become targets for enforcement agencies who have noted the potential for adverse impact against racial/ethnic minorities. DCI I/O Psychologists are experts in evaluating and validating these tools and have testified before the EEOC on related matters.
Because many jobs have specific physical requirements, in certain cases it may be beneficial to evaluate the physical abilities of job candidates. While employers can choose from a wide variety of physical assessments, these tools have recently become targets for enforcement agencies. They may be challenged under Title VII (particularly related to adverse impact against females) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although the process of analyzing and validating physical ability tests is often nuanced, DCI consultants are experts in this area.
Recent advances in data science have led to many new algorithm-based assessment tools. Some of these tools are sold by external vendors, while others are developed in-house by employer teams focused on workforce analytics. These tools may look and feel like resume reviews, application screens, interviews, and even video games. Regardless of the source or the way they are presented, it’s important to evaluate these tools for job-relatedness and EEO outcomes any time they are used to make employment decisions.
DCI Consulting is a risk management human resources consulting firm strategically located in Washington, D.C.
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