The Tough Screener

Published May 29, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Employers are struggling with employee recruiting challenges from an inherent inability to attract qualified candidates, in spite the high unemployment conditions. Arthur (2012) suggests that employers develop a three way recruiting strategy. This includes: (a) providing clarity and details about the organization like a mission statement and what each department contributes to long and short term goals; (b) target their recruiting strategies to motivate, attract, and retain high level performers; and (c) offer clarity to the applicants with respect to job description, expectations, opportunities for growth and advancement, as well as compensation plans, and benefit packages (Arthur, 2012). Employers who make these components clear and concise as part of the application process, put applicants in a better position to identify whether there is the possibility of an organizational fit.

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Although an employer is well within their rights to do as much homework as they can on a potential job candidate, they will ultimately run into issues if they do not remain within the legal framework and parameters of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), American Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Privacy Act of 1974. For example, conducting background checks requires a release that is fully executed by the applicant and gives authorization for a potential employer to conduct one (Dessler, 2011). Without this agreement, employers are setting themselves up for time consuming litigation by gathering information illegally or in a stealth manner without consent. In addition, although studies support the validity of honesty testing, most tests cannot accurately reveal the true nature of an individual. The test taker for example, may be focused on impressing their prospective employer. In fact, they may actually respond to a question the way they believe will render the highest score, rather than retort sincerely.

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Instead, employers are encouraged to verbally ask honesty related questions like, “Have you ever covered up a lie for a colleague?”  In this way, the interviewer can detect clues in the applicant’s body language and the manner in which the individual responds to distinguish whether they feel the answer is satisfactory. A well skilled leader who participates in active listening can pick up nonverbal cues and discern whether the individual is sincere and confident in their response. Furthermore, some states like Rhode Island have very strict guidelines when it comes to implementing honesty tests in the application process. With strategic planning, leaders and Human Resource managers who are well versed in EEOC, ADA and the 1974 Privacy Act, can gather a wide range of candidate information legally, without violating any laws.

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References:

Arthur, D. (2012). Recruiting, interviewing, selecting & orienting new employees. New York, NY: AMACOM.

Dessler, G. (2011). A framework for human resource management (Sixth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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