1. Conduct a Job Analysis. The first thing employers should do is a job analysis, which identifies the underlying characteristics needed to perform a job successfully and ensures that hiring criteria are related to the job. Job analysts look for knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to the job. Without this step, companies could hire the wrong person and find themselves with a legal compliance problem. The job analysis provides the documentation and knowledge to be able to link hiring tools to the job.
2. Consider Assessments. Assessments help employers narrow down the number of candidates and can provide great efficiencies when placed properly in a hiring system. In high-volume hiring situations with tens of thousands of applicants, a short 15-minute assessment early in the process can whittle down the applicant pool by screening out individuals who don't possess qualities that are important to job success. When hiring leaders or directors, an in-depth assessment can help to differentiate the final candidates from one another.
3. Apply a Consistent Standard. Using the job analysis, determine what criteria are critical for the position. Determine how much weight to give to application reviews, past experience, interviews, reference checks, and assessments to understand what kinds of behaviors you can expect to see on the job. Whatever decision criteria are used to determine if someone passes or fails an assessment must be applied consistently across all candidates for the position. Fairness is key.
4. Be Wary of Social Media. Many employers want to know what is on someone's social media page. However, employers may learn something that is not job-related, such as race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, or religion. If that individual is not hired, and the hiring process is challenged, the company must prove that this information didn't come into play when making a hiring decision. Organizations need to be exceptionally careful and document exactly what criteria they use to choose a candidate and how it is related to the job.
Amie Lawrence, Ph.D., is manager of product development at Select International.