The case analysis of a Federal agency and their selection process provides ample examples of why selection processes need to be periodically reviewed and analyzed to ensure they are still in compliance. In this specific case there are several violations of more recent laws and statutes that the selection process is out of compliance to given their definition over three decades ago. The following is a detailed analysis of the case that shows how, over time, selection processes can become skewed to a specific type of applicant and how the entire process often needs to be audited and updated to make the hiring process more equitable.
There is ample evidence that the selection procedures used throughout the hiring process at the Federal government agency favor white males despite their lower scores on testing and cognitive skills relative to women. Pass rates on the interviews show a clear bias towards men of any of the represented group relative to women, who are last in this category despite having the highest test score of any group. Clearly there is a bias towards males in the interview section of the test. In addition to this bias towards males, the test is ineffective in measuring blacks' ability to perform their roles given their low scores. The fact that there are no Asians or Native Americans in the sample at all also shows that the entire selection methodology may be oriented towards inadvertently screening them out as well. The test and interview sections indicate how skewed the content is towards whites in general and men specifically and also indicates significant modification of the entire hiring process is needed. Fairness in employee hiring procedures needs to be predicated on hiring methodologies and practices that provide each applicant an equitable opportunity of testing, validation of skills and prediction of future performance (Lawshe, 1983).
The agency must undertake an audit of the selection process, specifically concentrating on the areas of interview and test phases. As the entire methodology was created prior to the Uniform Guidelines being created in 1978, many of if core underlying concepts and methodology are dated and do not reflect current best practices. To rectify the exclusionary nature of the entire process, which is evident from the summary of interview and test results, the government agency must go through a re-evaluation of its core set of assumptions and elements pertaining to knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAO). In addition to redefining these aspects of the selection process, the government agency must also redefine how competency assessments are completed as well. On this latter point, competency-based assessments must be modified to reflect the changed role of the position, with the explicit assumption of roles being significantly different than they were when the job requirements were first defined (Hagan, Konopaske, Bernardin, Tyler, 2006). There are interim solutions that the government agency could undertake, yet the most thorough approach is the defining of an entirely new selection process based on re-evaluation and re-engineering each aspect of the recruitment, training and retention process itself.
Analysis of the Individual Components of the Selection process
The individual components of a selection process need to be assessed periodically to ensure they are continually in compliance despite the overall process still not showing an adverse impact. There are many reasons for taking this added precaution, the most significant being that each component may be gradually moving out of compliance, or have its negative effect being neutralized by other aspects of the entire selection process itself. One component of a selection process, such as the test shown in the government agency example, may so preclude and discriminate against blacks that in aggregate its errors are overshadowed by other components. Previous studies of content- and criterion-based validity tests also indicate how important the periodic review of each component of a selection process is to ensure long-term validity and the orthogonal nature of longitudinal, statistically-based results (Arthur, Bell, Villado, Doverspike, 2006). Within the case, the two areas of the written test need continual evaluation as well to ensure the position screening and testing stays aligned with the current requirements of the position, and second, to ensure the entire selection process has fidelity and uniformity of focus to it was well.
These factors of screening often need to be further clarified through the use of content-related or criterion-related validity testing. Content-related validity measurements are highly effective in measuring the degree to which a test reflects domain expertise and knowledge (Carrier, Dalessio, Brown, 1990). It is not an effective technique for measuring the probability of success for a given selection process when there is no clear relation between the sampling of items and a well-defined domain overall. Content validity is best used in stable, well-researched industries where the selection process is based on a very broad, well understood body of knowledge (Carrier, Dalessio, Brown, 1990).
Criterion-related validity studies are most effective when the selection process is defined through a series of predetermined metrics and indexes of relative performance that can be extrapolated across the entire population of job applicants and employees (Arthur, Bell, Villado, Doverspike, 2006). The use of indices to measure the probability of success in a given role is highly dependent on its situational context, the relative role of longitudinal data to measure performance the predictability of criterion-related validity overall (Carrier, Dalessio, Brown, 1990). Finally criterion-related validity scoring also needs to be continually evaluated in the context of applicability to a given position, ensuring the changing nature of a position and its selection process are continually aligned with each other (Hagan, Konopaske, Bernardin, Tyler, 2006).
In terms of the example of the government agency hiring for entry-level law enforcement jobs, the better approach is the criterion-related validity test. This approach to the selection process has a greater chance of removing variability of race, gender and age. The use of a criterion-related validity studies to evaluate and improve the selection process for entry-level law enforcement professionals can also be statistically analyzed over time to determine how effective this approach has been in the hiring process overall.
The job analysis completed in this case is essential to ensure the equitability of the selection process, and also to ensure the position overall stays aligned with the rapidly changing needs of those the government agency serves. The job analysis procedures also need to be thorough to ensure compliance to federal and state regulations pertaining to the hiring process overall. Third, the nature of all jobs or professional positions change over time and often the only way to ensure job analysis and selection processes stay aligned is to re-evaluate them in terms of their relevance. These factors related to job analysis have an immediate impact on the overall level of performance of new recruits in these entry-level positions as well.
Job analysis sets the foundation for success in training and on-the-job performance, as it often provides recruits with a full 360-degree view of their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the use of 360-degree views used as part of the job analysis provide employees with insights into the best possible criterion to use for a criterion-related validity study. Only by having an entire lifecycle view of the recruitment, hiring, retention, training and retirement stages of a given position longitudinally over time can an organization gain insights into how effective a criterion-related validity study is (Hagan, Konopaske, Bernardin, Tyler, 2006). Success in training provides a useful metric not just of the training programs, instructors and courseware, but also of the nature of the test instruments themselves and their applicability to applicants and new hires. As this case shows, there is significant variation in this aspect of the selection process alone over time. Second, on the job performance is essential for testing and validation to ensure the training has become part of the base of knowledge new employees are actively using on their jobs. Third, continual screening of these core areas of learning are also essential to ensure employees have the necessary foundation of expertise and skills to excel in their roles.
Top Ten Interview Questions
The following are a list of ten interview questions that meet the criterion as identified by Burden and Santos:
1. Provide an overview of the applicable federal laws pertaining to our state and local jurisdiction.
2. Please provide an example of a stressful and potentially volatile situation you were involved in, and how you diffused it to ensure no one was harmed.
3. How is law enforcement changing today as a result of technology and what have you done to keep up with these significant shifts?
4. Explain how the use of judgment over force is ultimately the best weapon a law enforcement officer has.
5. Provide examples of how you plan to stay current on laws and regulations regarding your position in law enforcement; what are the most valuable sources of information on staying up-to-date in this field that you have found?