Hiring managers often use pre-employment tests to create a “whole person” profile to determine the most-suited person for a specific job position. The aforementioned approach involves obtaining information regarding person’s skills, intellectual capacity, personality, cultural fit, and motivation. Human resource executives typically utilize various pre-employment assessments to acquire the above-mentioned data and recruit the right candidate.
However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considers any selection criterion a “test,” which makes it subject to legal scrutiny. This paper discusses some potential legal issues associated with pre-employment examinations and recommends a suitable evaluation approach for the Langham Hospitality Group. It also provides information on how organizations can prevent legal issues during the selection and hiring process.
Pre-employment Tests’ Purpose
Pre-employment assessments are currently growing in popularity since more companies recognize the importance of predictive accuracy during hiring. They measure the applicant’s cognitive ability, personality traits, and proficiencies in a rigorous, scientifically validated method. These aspects make the above-mentioned evaluation tool effective and efficient for determining the right candidates. Choosing the appropriate applicants can improve an enterprise’s productivity and performance. This view is supported by a study conducted by Ekwoaba et al. (2015), which revealed a positive correlation between objective hiring and the recruitment criteria, and good organizational performance. An effectual pre-employment assessment methodology contributes to constructive company outcomes and productivity.
Pre-employment tests can also serve as a short-term human capital investment. According to the human capital postulation, workers are vital human resources deemed critical for a company’s success (Campion et al., 2019). The theory argues that education and work experience augment one’s human capital, which, in turn, increases an organization’s productivity. Consistent with this viewpoint, Campion et al. (2019) demonstrated that applicants who performed well in pre-employment evaluations generally took advantage of the tests to perform better during practice. A conservative interpretation of this study is that pre-employment assessments can improve an employee’s performance, which, in turn, contributes to an enterprise’s overall success.
Ideal Pre-employment Tests for Langham Hospitality Group
Personality profiling is critical in the hospitality sector because its operations involve constant communication and interpersonal interaction. I would recommend personality assessments, particularly the Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP), a modification of the Sales Achievement Predictor assessment. It computes personality characteristics deemed crucial to one’s success in consumer service-related jobs (Maslakci & Sesen, 2019). These attributes include assertiveness, patience, cooperativeness, and diplomacy. The CSAP consists of 140 items, and its content’s readability corresponds with the sixth-grade level of reading. Validity scales help hiring managers distinguish applicants who minimize weaknesses or exaggerate strengths and automatically alter their scores.
I would also suggest using the skills assessment test, especially the Criteria Basic Skills Test, commonly abbreviated as CBST. The CBST will help human resource managers measure the fundamental verbal and math proficiencies necessary to succeed in various entry-level occupations (“Criteria basic skills test,” n.d.). The aforementioned evaluation methodology is often used to examine a candidate’s hard and soft proficiencies (Arthur, 2012). It provides an efficient way of evaluating applicants’ job readiness in consumer service, administrative, and clerical positions.
Another practical approach would be the integrity test, mainly the Workplace Productivity Profile, abbreviated as WPP; this approach will help the organization objectively measure applicants’ rule adherence, reliability, productivity, conscientiousness. Ultimately, I would endorse administering cognitive tests, especially the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT), for supervisory and management positions. CCATs are typically utilized for top-tier positions screening; it measures candidates’ ability to resolve issues, learn, think critically, and implement new information – skills that are critical for individuals holding decision-making authority.
Possible Legal Issues in Pre-employment Tests
The legal issues associated with these tests include discrimination, adverse impacts, and invasion of privacy. Section 703(h) of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits all employers from giving or acting upon test results to discriminate against protected groups (Arthur, 2012). Employers breach the above-mentioned statute when the administered evaluations adversely affect minority groupings and are not job-related.
Although the law does not proscribe organizations from using pre-employment analyses, it underscores the need for these assessments to be valid and reliable. Any test proven to be invalid, incredible, unrelated to the job position, and biased can lead to legal issues. Adverse impact refers to organizational practices that appear neutral but discriminate against protected categories, including age, sex, race, genetic data, religion, national origin, and color. If an employee’s unwillingness to share private information during an assessment test may negatively impact their prospects of getting the job, this may be considered a privacy violation.
Legal Issues Associated with Background Checks
Ineffective background checks are associated with legal challenges such as adverse impact claims, negligent hiring, and character defamation. Other legitimate issues related to inappropriate background checks include privacy invasion, tortious interference with present or prospective employment, and violations of the EEOC and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations. An employer can be held liable for negligent hiring when the court determines that harm to an employee could have been avoided through a reasonable background check. An employee can file for negligent hiring if they have been assaulted or injured by a coworker who has known felony offenses (“Conducting background investigations and reference checks,” n.d.). Organizations are legally required to conduct background checks and verify applicants’ claims to ensure that they recruit competent workers.
There are two forms of defamation: slander (oral) and libel (written). Employers are liable for defamation when a negative reference or false statement is given in retaliation to an employee’s complaint of discrimination or unlawful activity. Defamation can also occur when one organization reveals reference information to another company during a background check.
The FRCA regulates the use of consumer credit reports by third parties. When an employer uses a third-party to investigate an applicant’s credit history, they must uphold the highest confidentiality standards and comply with data disclosure regulations when giving references (“Conducting background investigations and reference checks,” n.d.). Various state laws and the EEOC proscribe disclosing data from background checks unless the organization has an intensely compelling reason to use such reports. Simply put, how an enterprise uses the information obtained from background checks can lead to liability claims unless the company has a logical justification and adheres with data privacy and confidentiality stipulations.
How to Prevent Negligent Hiring and Character Defamation
To prevent liability from character defamation, the organization should:
- Only provide information that is documented, such as dates and employment title, rather than subjective opinions.
- Only reveal information that is allowed for disclosure by company policy.
- All employee references should be done by the human resource department.
- Provide truthful data that is job-related.
To prevent liability from negligent hiring, the company should always ensure that they conduct an exhaustive background check before making an employment offer. The organization can also conduct pre-employment testing to determine if the applicant meets company expectations and fits into the enterprise’s culture.
Pre-employment tests are administered to select the most qualified applicants. These assessments can improve individual and organizational performance since they are scientifically validated. These evaluations can also lead to legal issues such as discrimination, adverse impact claims, and privacy violation if the court determines that the tests are invalid, unrelated to the job, and unreliable. Ineffective background checks can also trigger licit issues, including negligent hiring and character defamation. Therefore, employers should ensure that they not only conduct background checks but use such information appropriately.
Arthur, D. (2012). Recruiting, interviewing, selecting & orienting new employees (5th ed.). AMACOM.
Campion, M. C., Campion, E. D., & Campion, M. A. (2019). Using practice employment tests to improve recruitment and personnel selection outcomes for organizations and job seekers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(9), 1089–1102. Web.
Conducting background investigations and reference checks. (n.d.). Society of Human Resource Managers. Web.
Criteria basic skills test (CBST). (n.d.). Criteria. Web.
Ekwoaba, J. O., Ikeije, U. U., & Ufoma, N. (2015). The impact of recruitment and selection criteria on organizational performance. Global Journal of Human Resource Management, 3(2), 22–33. Web.
Maslakci, A., & Sesen, H. (2019). Multicultural personality traits and employee-perceived service quality in the hospitality industry: The mediating role of cross-cultural psychological capital. Journal of Research and Social Intervention, 65, 60–81. Web.