An ERE article last month by Michael McNeil (OFCCP: Friend or Foe?) stimulated a few thoughts about “applicants” and OFCCP audits. Michael pointed out the staffing director’s innate fear of an OFCCP audit, bad PR, and lawsuits. He went on to discuss what constituted an “applicant” and how that definition is still being sorted out. His comments were right on the money, and I would like to expand on them a little more. Staffing, done well, is among the most difficult jobs in an organization. It involves building accurate job requirements, sourcing far and wide for candidates, determining applicant status, assessing applicant skills, and tracking the whole mess. You can think of staffing as being the organization’s “Employee Purchasing Agent.” Plenty of attention has been paid to sourcing and tracking, but unfortunately, little attention to anything else. If you are just using a tracking or sourcing system, your organization is far short of the goal of hiring consistently qualified people?? and it is costing your organization megabucks! The new year is a good time to rediscover the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. The Guidelines not only represent “best practices,” they also outline the Federal Government’s position on prohibiting discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and the Civil Service Commission have all adopted the Guidelines. The following highlights represent important facts staffing professionals should know about the Guidelines. The numbers refer to the numbered sections in the Guidelines, which are accessible through the link above. These highlights should not be confused with legal advice?? that is the domain of lawyers specializing in EEOC or labor law. Definition of a “Selection Procedure” A selection procedure is ANY measure, combination of measures, or procedure used to make a decision about an employee or applicant. This includes methods such as traditional paper and pencil tests, performance tests, training programs, or probationary periods and physical, educational, and work experience requirements, informal or casual interviews, scored, and unscored application forms, etc. Definition of a “Job Analyses” A job analysis is a professionally conducted study that formally identifies both job requirements and business necessity. It gathers information from both jobholders and mangers, translates it into measurable competencies, and uses that information to develop a fair and valid selection system. A job analysis is NOT the same as a job evaluation (what a job is worth) NOR is it the same as a job description (why a job exists). 60-3.1 Purpose of the “Guidelines”
- To provide a framework for determining the proper use of tests and other selection procedures. All employers with 15 or more employees are subject to these guidelines. Only a few special interest groups are exempt.
60-3.2 Employment Decisions
- Employment “decisions” are defined as hiring decisions, promotions, demotions, membership referral, retention, licensing, certification, etc.
60-3.3 Reducing Discrimination
- If adverse impact occurs using a valid selection system, employers should search for an equally valid selection method that has less adverse impact.
60-3.4 Measuring Adverse Impact
- Employers should keep records of adverse impact at every step of the selection process.
- Adverse impact is defined as a selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group, which is less than four-fifths (or 80%) of the selection rate of the group with the highest selection rate.
- Employers subject to a court order need not comply with the four-fifths rule.
60-3.5 Use Only Valid “Tests”
- Employers may use studies of content validity (measure represents important aspects of the job), criterion validity (scores correlate with job performance), or construct validity (measure correlates with characteristics of successful employees).
- Study guidelines should follow the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.
- Studies are necessary for any procedure that has adverse impact.
- Selection tools should not measure information that the applicant could learn in a short period of time.
- Cutoff scores should be documented and reflect acceptable proficiency on the job.
- If job progression is not automatic, employers cannot evaluate candidates for a position more than about five years in the future.
- Employers can use their current selection methods if they can demonstrate either existing validity or a validity study in progress.
60-3.6 Using Non-Validated Tests
- The employer should continually search for methods that reduce adverse impact.
- Employers subject to affirmative action programs are not excused from using valid and job-related selection methods.
60-3.7 Using Other Validity Studies
- The employer is always responsible for validity, even if someone else conducted a validity study.
- The employer can use an external validity study only if it meets the EEOC Guidelines, the job is similar, and the test demonstrates “fairness.”
- A job analysis of both positions is required.
60-3.8 Conducting Cooperative Studies
- Employers with similar jobs can cooperate in joint validity studies.
60-3.9 Making Assumptions About Validity
- Promotional literature, reputation, name, descriptions, testimonials, credentials, etc. are not evidence of any kind of validity.
- Job analysis and careful development of selection procedures is always recommended.
60-3.10 Responsibilities of Employment Agencies
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- Employment agencies should follow the “Guidelines.”
- Employers using employment agencies are responsible for ensuring the agency follows the “Guidelines.”
60-3.11 Treating Applicants Differently
- Employers must treat all candidates equally.
- Employers must offer reasonable opportunities for retesting.
60-3.13 Affirmative Action
- Affirmative action programs are encouraged, but do not affect “Guideline” requirements and vice versa.
60-3.13 Technical Standards of Doing a Validity Study
- Employers must complete both job analyses and validity studies.
- Similar jobs can be grouped together.
- Criteria should be objective and as free from personal judgment as possible.
- People in the job analysis should be drawn from all protected groups.
- Professionally acceptable statistical methods and standards should be used.
- Selection methods should be based on both the job analysis and validity study.
- Employers do not have to select a candidate who is unqualified for the job even if the candidate belongs to a protected group.
- The type of validity study depends on information gathered during the job analysis.
- On-the-job observation is recommended.
60-3.14 Requirements for Documentation
- Each employer must keep records of adverse impact.
- Each employer must have records documenting each job analysis and validity study.
- Records of alternative selection methods, users, and cut-off scores should be maintained.
- Documentation of each selection method and relation to the job must be kept.
There, you have it… The new year is a good time to “step up to the plate” and become a better staffing professional by following best practices, hiring better employees, and becoming a strategic player in your organization. Are you up to the challenge?