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    Applicant Testing Process: legal and ethical considerations, interview screening

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    1) The company you work for is considering changing its applicant testing process. Your supervisor has asked you to address the following in a document that will be sent to other managers within the organization.

    Write a short essay discussing some of the legal and ethical considerations in testing. Given these considerations, which testing system do you believe may be the most legitimate? Remember to compare and contrast testing methods specifically to demonstrate how the methodologies you have not selected may have more negative ethical and legal consequences than the one you have selected.

    In your answer also discuss ways in which advancements in technology have helped to make the applicant testing and selection process more efficient and effective

    Please provide a summary and conclusion, and references.

    2) Participate in a group discussion concerning the following scenario:

    Tech Planet, of Menlo Park, CA, uses weekly lunches and "wacky follow-up sessions" as substitutes for first-round job interviews. During the informal meals, potential employees are expected to mingle, and they are then reviewed by the Tech Planet employees they meet at the luncheons. One Tech Planet employee asks candidates to ride a unicycle in her office to see if "they'll bond with the corporate culture or not." Toward the end of the screening process, the surviving group of interviewees has to solve brainteasers, and then openly evaluate their fellow candidates' strengths and weaknesses.

    The group should arrive at answers regarding the following set of questions:

    1. What issues with screening might this form of interviewing elicit?

    2. Is this form of candidate selection likely to increase or decrease diversity at Tech Planet?

    3. Does this methodology raise concerns about reliability and validity? If so,how?

    4. What do you think would be a better methodology at Tech Planet and why?

    Students should conduct a discussion on the discussion board to address the above questions. This is done via an initial posting with your thoughts on the process, and then responses to other students on their posts. Following that discussion, post your follow up DB response detailing your final thoughts on each of these questions. Keep in mind that the follow up post is to be a detailed post with your developed reasoning to support your answers to each question.

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    Solution Preview


    An important case you may wish to discuss with your legal counsel is WATSON v. FORT WORTH BANK & TRUST, 487 U.S. 977 (1988). This case involved a charge of discrimination when NO testing was involved. The Supreme Court's opinion was that:

    "...an employer could insulate itself from liability under Griggs and its progeny simply by combining such practices (interviews) with a subjective component, such as a brief interview, in a system that refrained from making the objective tests absolutely determinative, and could thereby remain free to give those tests almost as much weight as it chose without risking a disparate impact challenge."
    In a further conclusion in this case, the Court went on to say that employers do not need to prove 'validation studies' that are predictive of job success when it said:

    "The nature of the 'business necessity' or 'job relatedness' defense - under which the defendant has a burden of producing evidence after the plaintiff has made out a prima facie case - also constrains the application of the disparate impact theory. Employers are not required, even when defending standardized or objective tests, to introduce formal "validation studies" showing that particular criteria predict actual on-the-job performance. In the context of subjective or discretionary decisions, the employer will often find it easier than in the case of standardized tests to produce evidence of a 'manifest relationship to the employment in question.'"

    We also believe the statement went on to speak of tests like the Hire Success Personality Profile which does NOT test aptitude, intelligence or skills when it said:

    "Many jobs, for example those involving managerial responsibilities require personal qualities that are not amenable to standardized testing but are nevertheless job related. In evaluating claims that discretionary practices are insufficiently related to legitimate business purposes, courts are generally less competent than employers to restructure business practices and therefore should not attempt to do so. Pp. 997-999."

    APPLICABILITY WITHOUT TESTING - GRIGGS v. DUKE POWER CO., 401 U.S. 424 (1971) has played a pivotal role in how employers look at testing applicants and employees. The first step is to understand the scope of this particular decision and what was alleged in the lawsuit. The following is from the first paragraph of the Supreme Court's opinion:

    "Negro employees at respondent's generating plant brought this action, pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, challenging respondent's requirement of a high school diploma or passing of intelligence tests as a condition of employment in or transfer to jobs at the plant. These requirements were not directed at or intended to measure ability to learn to perform a particular job or category of jobs. While 703 (a) of the Act makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to limit, segregate, or classify employees to deprive them of employment opportunities or adversely to affect their status because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, 703 (h) authorizes the use of any professionally developed ability test, provided that it is not designed, intended, or used to discriminate."

    The issue being addressed in this case was brought about because it was believed that the use of "intelligence tests" were being used as a tool to discriminate against a protected group under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the "Act"). The issue of testing for "personality" was not the issue, rather only "intelligence". The Hire Success Personality Profile does not take age, race, gender, or any other protected element, into consideration in the development of the Personality Profile and uses no measure, or means to measure, "intelligence" as part of determining a person's personality.

    A further indication that the Hire Success Personality Profile is not a discriminatory tool is the personality ...

    Solution Summary

    The 2568 word solution is an excellent source of material in response to the questions. Much of it is in outline form which can easily be adapted. The solution is cited.