Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Manage Your Applicant Pool to Minimize Your Risk of Adverse Impact (Discrimination) Findings

When you peel back the adverse impact analysis process, the one conducted on the applicant/selection data as part of your Affirmative Action Program obligations, you’ll see it’s strictly a numbers game.  If you stand back far enough you’ll see that if you reduce the applicant pool numbers you can minimize the statistical significance of the applicant/selection data, and with that you’re playing the game at an advanced level.  Some years ago there was a survey of companies that were audited by the OFCCP and the findings showed that around 90% of the contentious issues between the OFCCP and the audited companies revolved around the applicant/selection data.  If you look further at the cases where there were legal challenges you’ll also see that applicant/selection analysis is at the core of the majority of the cases. And if you look even deeper you’ll see that the most vulnerable positions in the challenges are the entry level jobs. These are the positions where there are limited minimum qualifications and large volumes of applicants. It’s no secret the OFCCP knows this and they target these areas in an audit. The higher the applicant pool numbers the more likely you can conclude statistical significance.
It isn’t rocket science to minimize the applicant pool. Here are six things you can do immediately:
1.   Review your positions and focus your attention on your entry level positions.
2.   Use legitimate minimum job qualification requirements to limit the pool.
3.   Target specific application form sections that you must have completed and consistently use and document the practice to weed out applicants who skimp on completing the application form (You may also just eliminate those applicants who don’t follow directions).
4.   Limit the time an opening is posted; if you don’t get qualified applicants start over by reposting the position.
5.   If you have a large group of applicants don’t review all of them, take a random sample and make that your applicant pool.
6.   If your departments select the applicants for further processing, such as interviews, make sure they take a sample diverse group to review; don’t review the entire group.
Bottom line; limit your applicant pool and you will minimize the chance and value of any statistical significance findings in adverse impact.  One final point to keep in mind, one of the four internet applicant rules says that an applicant has to be considered to be included in the applicant pool;  so this can’t be any clearer, don’t consider all the applicants.

(Contact me if you need assistance with your applicant analysis or AAP. Lou Rodarte at lou@swrci.com)