A recent Workforce column (http://www.workforce.com/archive/feature/25/58/09/) entitled Testing the Tests, gives added impact to my column entitled EQ vs IQ (dated 10.8.07). An example is FedEx who agreed to abandon the basic skills test they utilized as a part of their hiring process. As a career adviser, I've long known that many of the requirements listed for a position had little relevance to the actual performance on-the-job. Many factors play into the job descriptions posted on websites, printed in the help-wanted section of a newspaper, or posted on bulletin boards. Those factors range from: "We've always used that job description for that job" - to "We do not have time to observe someone actually doing the work then write a job description that more accurately fits the needs of the position". Somewhere in the middle is a good solution. Finding that solution takes an investment in time, people and resources. For those companies focused on bottom line profitability, it may be hard to justify a time-out to find the solution. However, the cost of not investing could be much higher.
To give you an idea of some of the information in the article, here are some excerpts/statements contained in the article: Employers should also review their educational degree requirements. The high school diploma requirement is the granddaddy of all testing and selection issues. "Outdated tests and job requirements and blanket diploma requirements open the door to legal challenges by unsuccessful candidates". "To explore alternatives, bring .....existing employees, their direct supervisors, HR and diversity personnel"...to the table. (At a time when education is highly stressed, this seems like a contradictory statement. Read the article to get a better understanding)
The Internet provides an upside and a downside to equal employment. Capturing the data has become easier, thanks to the internet. Conversely, that reporting data is now available to others who are looking for the adverse impact of said data.
Ultimately, most employers want a selection method that really works, not one that avoids liability. Most prospective employees want a fair chance to be hired. There is a common meeting ground, but it takes dedication on both sides of the fence, added to a new way of analyzing the real job requirements for a position.
Interesting times for HR professionals and their employers.