This was the catch phrase of a goofy-looking Alfred E. Newman character in Mad Magazine. It is also, unfortunately the catch phrase of many people in the HR and recruiting community. Put another way, "We did the interviewing. The line manager did the hiring. What? Me worry?"
Every day, unwitting people engaged in the hiring process expose their organization to millions of dollars in litigation and even larger amounts in lost productivity and poor public relations (you don’t have to lose a claim to lose money). Concerned readers can evaluate their own organizational exposure by considering what the OFCCP and the EEOC look for in an audit...
Where to Begin
First, they look for "adverse impact"…the practice of rejecting too many members of one protected demographic group at the expense of another.
We suspect there are very few humanists in government. Reality suggests politicians owe their jobs to voters who can be divided into demographic groups with specific personal agendas. As a result, they don’t personally care if Billy Bob is hired; they care if members of their demographic voting block are hired (i.e., race, age, gender, ethnicity, disability, nationality, religion, and so forth).
Thus, resulting laws require an examination of hiring and promotion data based on demographic, not individual averages (i.e., are nematode rejection rates more than one standard deviation greater than the trilobite rejection rate for the fossil position). Organizations can use the 80% rule to test their own data, but the government tends to use a statistical analysis technique that sounds like the name of a rare disease (e.g., Cochran’s and Mantel-Haenszel).
Bottom Line: Unless, your hiring system is located in a black-hole where everyone and everything is reduced to unity, the odds of winning or losing this statistical test are a crap-shoot. Furthermore (we won’t get into explanations in this newsletter), almost every effective hiring system in our experience has adverse impact.
So now that we know that almost every organization probably has adverse impact, what do the Feds examine next?
- Validation evidence: Documentation? Protocol? Specific jobs? Strength of correlations?
- Vendor data: How much reliance?
- Job data: Have jobs changed? Which ones were included in the validation study?
In a rare twist of fate, a legal hiring and an effective hiring system are the same thing! By following the law, organizations can maximize their applicant pool while minimizing poor employee performance...That’s what we all want. But woe to the organizations that don’t do their homework…it can be VERY expensive.