Applications for MAN4320



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Herbert G. Heneman III University of Wisconsin–Madison

Timothy A. Judge The Ohio State University

John D. Kammeyer-Mueller University of Minnesota

Pangloss Industries Columbus, OH



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Published by Pangloss Industries, Inc., 4130 Mountview Road, Columbus, OH 43220, in collaboration with McGraw-Hill Education, 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121. Copyright © 2019 by Pangloss Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Previous editions © 2015, 2012, and 2009. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the publisher, including, but not limited to, in any network or other electronic storage or transmission, or broadcast for distance learning.

Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers outside the United States.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. (FROM A DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES JOINTLY ADOPTED BY A COMMITTEE OF THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION AND A COMMITTEE OF PUBLISHERS.)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 LCR 21 20 19 18

ISBN 978-1-259-75655-9 MHID 1-259-75655-6

eISBN: 978-1-260-14132-0 McGraw-Hill ID (MHID): 1-260-14132-2

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Pangloss Industries 4130 Mountview Road Columbus, OH 43220 [email protected]

Note to the Instructor: Pangloss and McGraw-Hill Education have combined their respective skills to bring Staffing Organizations to your classroom. This text is marketed and distributed by McGraw-Hill Education. For assistance in obtaining information or supplementary material, please contact your McGraw-Hill Education sales representative or the customer services division of McGraw- Hill Education at 800-338-3987.

Compositor: Westchester Publishing Services

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Heneman, Herbert G., III, 1944– author. | Judge, Tim, author. | Kammeyer-Mueller, John,

author. Title: Staffing organizations / Herbert G. Heneman III, University of Wisconsin-Madison,

Timothy A. Judge, Ohio State University, John D. Kammeyer-Mueller, University of Minnesota.

Description: Ninth edition. | Columbus, OH : Pangloss Industries, [2019] Identifiers: LCCN 2017054981 | ISBN 9781259756559 (hardcover : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Employees—Recruiting. | Employee selection. Classification: LCC HF5549.5.R44 H46 2019 | DDC 658.3/11—dc23 LC record available at


Dedication To Susan, Jill, and Mia


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Herbert G. Heneman III is the Dickson-Bascom Professor Emeritus in the Management and Human Resources Department, School of Business, University of Wisconsin–Madison. He also serves as a senior researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. Herb has been a visiting faculty member at the University of Washington and the University of Florida, and he was the University Distinguished Visiting Professor at The Ohio State University. His research is in the areas of staffing, performance management, compensation, and work motivation. He is currently investigating the design and effectiveness of teacher performance management and compensation systems. Herb was on the board of directors of the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation and served as its director of research. He is the senior author of three other textbooks on human resource management. Herb is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Academy of Management. He is also the recipient of career achievement awards from the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management and from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Timothy A. Judge is the Joseph A. Alutto Chair in Leadership Effectiveness and executive director of the Fisher Leadership Initiative in the Department of Management and Human Resources, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University. Tim is also the director of research for Stay Metrics, a start-up company in Notre Dame’s Innovation Park. Prior to receiving his PhD at the University of Illinois, Tim was a manager for Kohl’s department stores. Tim has served on the faculties of Cornell University, University of Iowa, University of Florida, and University of Notre Dame. Tim’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of personality, leadership and influence behaviors, staffing, and job attitudes. Tim is a former program chair for the Society for Industrial and


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Organizational Psychology and a past chair of the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management. He has also served on the Academy of Management Board of Governors. Tim is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Society, and the Academy of Management.

John D. Kammeyer-Mueller is the Curtis L. Carlson Professor of Industrial Relations in the Department of Work and Organizations, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. John’s primary research interests include the areas of organizational socialization and employee adjustment, personality and the stress process, employee retention, and career development. He has taught courses related to organizational staffing at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. His research work has appeared in Academy of Management Journal; the Journal of Applied Psychology; Personnel Psychology; the Journal of Management; and the Journal of Organizational Behavior, among other outlets. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Psychology; Personnel Psychology; and Organizational Research Methods. In addition to his scholarly work, John has performed consulting work in the areas of employee satisfaction, retention, and workplace safety and health for 3M Corporation, Allegiance Healthcare, Allina Healthcare, and the State of Minnesota. He has also worked with the Florida Nurses Association and the Florida Bar on research projects of interest to their professional membership.



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here has been a continual effort to incorporate strategic organizational concerns into every edition of the textbook. The ninth edition of Staffing Organizations develops these concepts

significantly. Based on ideas from leading human resources thinkers, new discussions describe how to incorporate organizational strategy into every part of the staffing process. This material not only underlines the importance of strategic thinking for students, but provides specific guidance for specific actions that staffing decision makers can take to improve talent management.

This edition has been the beneficiary of major restructuring and updating to ensure continuing alignment of the material with current in-the-field business practices. The changes range from small inclusions of new standards to major chapter revisions. The new structure will make it easier for students to see how each part of the staffing process proceeds from beginning to end, and it will also help them see how the topics fit together to create a cohesive staffing management system.

The human resources landscape continues to be transformed by technology, and this edition of the textbook reflects this influence. The use of human resources information systems for tasks like recruitment, selection, and forecasting is now thoroughly integrated into all sections. The role of social media, the Internet, and other information management tools is emphasized in several chapters, and new examples from companies keep the application of concepts fresh and current.

The changes for this edition reflect the integration of technology into core staffing functions. Many of the previous headings related to web-based topics have thus been eliminated to reflect that these are no longer novel add-ons to staffing management but an integral part of the process.

Listed below are updates to each chapter.

Chapter One: Staffing Models and Strategy


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Updated workforce growth statistics throughout the chapter Updated list of companies that are intensively hiring Updated material on Gore’s position as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For New material on person-job match and person-organization fit New material based on a recent report on the current talent shortage in the IT, skilled trades, and sales industries Added material on the distinction between the labor force size and the labor force participation rate Updated definition of staffing ethics from the Society for Human Resource Management

Chapter Two: Legal Compliance

New material on classifying individuals as either employees or independent contractors based on criteria from the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on defining discrimination based on the meaning of race/color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, age, pregnancy, and genetic information Updated information on the protected characteristics of sexual orientation and gender identity

Chapter Three: Planning

Increased emphasis on organizational culture in the planning process New material on executive buy-in during human resources planning Updated discussion of workforce skills demand and employment patterns Revised exhibit showing labor force statistics trends New material on trends in labor force participation and work hours Streamlined discussion of forecasting techniques Comprehensive review of research on flexible workforce quality New material reviewing research on when to use outsourcing Updated information regarding affirmative action for veterans and qualified individuals with disabilities

Chapter Four: Job Analysis and Rewards

Greater emphasis on implementing competency-based job analysis New figure showing the process of job requirements job analysis New figure showing the process of competency-based job analysis New figure outlining the distinctions among knowledge, skills,


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abilities, and other characteristics and their workplace relevance Streamlined discussion of O*NET models Revised end-of-chapter cases Revised information on the types of evidence of essential job functions

Chapter Five: External Recruitment

New material on integrating in-house recruitment with external vendors Integration of online recruitment techniques across topic areas Comprehensive review of research on applicant reactions to the external recruitment process Increased discussion of social media effects on recruitment Revised and updated presentation of recruitment messages Increased treatment of targeted recruitment techniques New discussion of the transition from recruitment to selection Updated discussion regarding policies about written job applicants Revised material on best-practice recruitment ideas from the EEOC Updated information on recruitment using social media and job advertisements

Chapter Six: Internal Recruitment

New material describing best practices in the strategic policy development process Revised and updated presentation of recruitment messages Revised and updated discussion of replacement and succession plans New discussion of the transition from recruitment to selection New material on best-practice promotion ideas from the EEOC New discussion of barriers to upward mobility and improving upward mobility

Chapter Seven: Measurement

Updated example of the nominal level of measurement New material on biases in subjective measurement and rater training Revised percentiles example New discussion of the role of biases and contextual factors in interrater reliability New material on how construct-, content-, and criterion-related validation evidence should be amassed and interpreted together New material on the situational appropriateness of predictive versus concurrent validation designs Revised definition and discussion of content validity


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Updated illustrative study of the Maryland Department of Transportation New material reviewing the meta-analytic work on prior validity generalization and the gaps in our current understanding New example using insights from Glassdoor to highlight practical considerations in staffing New discussion of mobile and Internet-based test administration

Chapter Eight: External Selection I

New material on applicant reactions toward performance tests and the validity of such tests Updated discussion of video résumés New material on the adverse impact of résumés, letters of recommendation, credit checks, and biodata New discussion of the “double jeopardy” effect New discussion of the usefulness of a college education and quality of school as educational requirements, including examples New material on how studying abroad leads to an expanded cultural intelligence, an area of extracurricular activities that may be important for staffing New material on how experience is multidimensional, with many characteristics and levels of analysis New discussion of “Ban the Box” legislation New material on initial impressions as bias in initial interviews Updated material on applicant reactions and attraction from meta- analytic research Updated list of states that currently limit the use of credit information in staffing New material on social media screening and safeguards New discussion of bona fide occupational qualification claims and their justification

Chapter Nine: External Selection II

Updated Big Five stability and heritability estimates with the most recent meta-analytic research Updated website links and test information throughout the chapter New material and discussion on the “too much of a good thing” effect with conscientiousness New material and discussion on the “trivial validities” of personality, including updated meta-analytic research and additional personality frameworks


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New material and meta-analytic evidence on personality test faking New material and discussion on when socially desirable behavior is not desirable for job performance Updated Exhibits 9.2 and 9.13 based on new evidence Updated evaluation of cognitive ability tests with newest meta-analytic research on organizational citizenship behavior and counterproductive work behavior Revised adverse impact evidence for cognitive ability tests New material on how “star applicants” can become offended by having to take cognitive ability tests New material and discussion on physical abilities tests that draw from the most recent meta-analytic estimates New material and discussion on performance-based emotional intelligence measurement and emotional intelligence validity Updated meta-analytic validity estimates of work sample tests New material and discussion on the “situational” perspective on situational judgment tests New material on integrity test validity and faking New material on vocational congruence and attained vocational aspirations Updated meta-analytic research and other material for interviews, including structured interview characteristics, behavioral and situational interview comparisons, validity, and interviewer characteristics New material on the National Football League (NFL) and how OCBs matters less to outsiders (e.g., external consultants) than to insiders in team selection Updated statistics and figures on drug testing Revised material on the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures New discussion of marijuana and other drug testing

Chapter Ten: Internal Selection

Updated peer assessment section with meta-analytic results New material on the impact of self-assessments on biased promotion judgments New material on the impact of biases such as political skill on promotability ratings New meta-analytic material on the characteristics of assessment centers New material and discussion on solutions for the assessment center construct validity dilemma


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Revised the validity ranges to match traditional standards

Chapter Eleven: Decision Making

New section on predictive analytics New section describing the interface between organizational leaders and HR representatives based on best practices in the field New material covering techniques for assessing economic impact New exhibit reviewing techniques for assessing links between economic impact analysis and other functional areas of the business New exhibit covering the role of decision makers in selection New section covering differential weighting techniques for predictors Updated and revised discussion of choosing among weighting schemes Streamlined discussion of test score banding

Chapter Twelve: Final Match

New section on long-term adjustment and the process of new hire onboarding over time Updated and revised discussion of specific onboarding practices Increased discussion of expatriate adjustment in staffing Updated and revised discussion of the strategic approach to job offers, with increased linkages to decision making and system management Streamlined discussion of pay policies Streamlined discussion of employment contracts Revised material on negligent hiring and minimizing its occurrence

Chapter Thirteen: Staffing System Management

New section describing the design and administration of staffing systems Emphasis on strategic fit between staffing systems and organizational goals and processes Incorporation of strategic management research regarding HR systems New exhibit contrasting hierarchical and participative staffing systems Review of techniques for defining the mission of staffing Updated and revised material on organizational arrangements New EEO-1 report New discussion of incorporating implicit (hidden) bias material into EEO training New and revised material on internal and external dispute resolution procedures

Chapter Fourteen: Retention Management


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Enhanced review of techniques for analyzing turnover Comprehensive update and reorganization of material related to retention initiatives New section on predictive analytics in retention management New exhibit contrasting hire, quit, and layoff differences across industries New exhibit demonstrating how to use turnover breakout results Updated exhibit describing guidelines for increasing satisfaction and retention of employees Updated and revised discussion of causes of turnover Updated and revised discussion of the costs and benefits of turnover

In preparing previous editions, we have benefited greatly from the critiques and suggestions of numerous people whose assistance was invaluable. They helped us identify new topics, as well as clarify, rearrange, and delete material. We extend our many thanks to the following individuals:

Amy Banta, Franklin University Fred Dorn, University of Mississippi Hank Findley, Troy University Diane Hagan, Ohio Business College Mark Lengnick-Hall, University of Texas–San Antonio

We wish to extend a special note of thanks to the McGraw-Hill Education publishing team—in particular, Michael Ablassmeir, Laura Spell, Melissa Leick, and Jane Beck—for their hard work and continued support of the number-one staffing textbook in the market. Thanks also to the staff at Westchester Publishing Services for their dedicated work in this collaborative undertaking. We wish to thank Dr. David R. Glerum for his hard work on manuscript revisions, editing, and preparation. Finally, we wish to thank you—the students and faculty who use the book. If there is anything we can do to improve your experience with Staffing Organizations, please contact us. We will be happy to hear from you.


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The Nature of Staffing 3

CHAPTER ONE Staffing Models and Strategy 5 Learning Objectives and Introduction 6

Learning Objectives 6 Introduction 6

The Nature of Staffing 7 The Big Picture 7 Definition of Staffing 10 Implications of Definition 10 Staffing System Examples 13

Staffing Models 15 Staffing Quantity: Levels 15 Staffing Quality: Person/Job Match 16 Staffing Quality: Person/Organization Match 18 Staffing System Components 20 Staffing Organizations 23

Staffing Strategy 27 Staffing Levels 27 Staffing Quality 32

Staffing Ethics 33 Plan for the Book 36 Summary 37 Discussion Questions 38 Ethical Issues 38


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Applications 38 Staffing for Your Own Job 38 Staffing Strategy for a New Plant 40

Endnotes 41


Support Activities 45

CHAPTER TWO Legal Compliance 47 Learning Objectives and Introduction 49

Learning Objectives 49 Introduction 49

The Employment Relationship 50 Employer–Employee 50 Independent Contractors 53 Temporary Employees 54 Unpaid Interns and Trainees 55

Laws and Regulations 55 Need for Laws and Regulations 55 Sources of Laws and Regulations 56

EEO/AA Laws: General Provisions and Enforcement 58 General Provisions 58 Enforcement: EEOC 61 Enforcement: OFCCP 67

EEO/AA Laws: Specific Staffing Provisions 69 Civil Rights Acts (1964, 1978, 1991) 69 Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967) 72 Americans With Disabilities Act (1990, 2008) 73 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (2008) 77 Rehabilitation Act (1973) 78 Executive Order 11246 (1965, 1967, 2014) 78

Other Staffing Laws 79 Federal Laws 79 State and Local Laws 82 Civil Service Laws and Regulations 83

Legal Issues in Remainder of Book 85 Summary 85 Discussion Questions 86 Ethical Issues 86


Applications 87 Age Discrimination in a Promotion? 87 Disparate Impact: What Do the Statistics Mean? 88

Endnotes 89

CHAPTER THREE Planning 91 Learning Objectives and Introduction 93

Learning Objectives 93 Introduction 93

Internal and External Influences 94 Organizational Strategy 94 Organizational Culture 95 Labor Markets 97 Technology 102

Human Resource Planning 103 Process and Example 103 Initial Decisions 105 Forecasting HR Requirements 108 Forecasting HR Availabilities 111 Reconciliation and Gaps 119

Staffing Planning 121 Staffing Planning Process 121 Core Workforce 124 Flexible Workforce 125 Outsourcing 128

Diversity Planning 130 Demography of the American Workforce 130 Business Case for Diversity 131 Planning for Diversity 132

Legal Issues 134 Affirmative Action Plans 134 Legality of AAPs and Diversity Programs 139 AAPs for Veterans and Individuals With Disabilities 142 EEO and Temporary Workers 142

Summary 143 Discussion Questions 144 Ethical Issues 144 Applications 145

Markov Analysis and Forecasting 145 Deciding Whether to Use Flexible Staffing 145

Endnotes 147


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CHAPTER FOUR Job Analysis and Rewards 153 Learning Objectives and Introduction 155

Learning Objectives 155 Introduction 155

The Need for Job Analysis 156 Types of Job Analysis 156 The Changing Nature of Jobs 157

Job Requirements Job Analysis 159 Overview 159 Job Requirements Matrix 160 Job Descriptions and Job Specifications 168 Collecting Job Requirements Information 169

Competency-Based Job Analysis 177 Overview 179 Nature of Competencies 179 Collecting Competency Information 182

Job Rewards 185 Types of Rewards 185 Employee Value Proposition 185 Collecting Job Rewards Information 186

Legal Issues 193 Job Relatedness and Court Cases 193 Essential Job Functions 194

Summary 195 Discussion Questions 196 Ethical Issues 197 Applications 197

Conducting a Job Requirements or Job Rewards Job Analysis 197 Maintaining Job Descriptions 198

Endnotes 199


Staffing Activities: Recruitment 203

CHAPTER FIVE External Recruitment 205 Learning Objectives and Introduction 207

Learning Objectives 207 Introduction 207


Strategic Recruitment Planning 208 Defining Strategic External Recruitment Goals 209 Open Versus Targeted Recruitment 211 Organization and Administration 213

Applicant Reactions 219 Reactions to Job and Organizational Characteristics 220 Reactions to Recruiters 220 Reactions to the Recruitment Process 221 Reactions to Diversity Issues 222

Communication 223 Communication Message 223 Communication Media 229

Strategy Implementation 236 Individual Recruitment Sources 236 Social Recruitment Sources 239 Organizational Recruitment Sources 242 Recruitment Metrics 248

Transition to Selection 251 Legal Issues 252

Definition of a Job Applicant 252 Affirmative Action Programs 254 Electronic Recruitment 254 Job Advertisements 257 Fraud and Misrepresentation 257

Summary 258 Discussion Questions 259 Ethical Issues 259 Applications 260

Improving a College Recruitment Program 260 Internet Recruitment 262

Endnotes 263

CHAPTER SIX Internal Recruitment 269 Learning Objectives and Introduction 270

Learning Objectives 270 Introduction 270

Strategic Recruitment Planning 271 Defining Strategic Internal Recruitment Goals 271 Mobility Paths and Policies 271 Closed, Open, and Hybrid Recruitment 276 Organization and Administration 279


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Timing 280 Applicant Reactions 283 Communication 284

Communication Message 284 Communication Media 285

Strategy Implementation 286 Recruitment Sources 286 Recruitment Metrics 292

Transition to Selection 295 Legal Issues 295

Affirmative Action Programs 296 Bona Fide Seniority Systems 296 The Glass Ceiling 298

Summary 301 Discussion Questions 302 Ethical Issues 302 Applications 302

Recruitment in a Changing Internal Labor Market 302 Succession Planning for a CEO 304

Endnotes 304


Staffing Activities: Selection 309

CHAPTER SEVEN Measurement 311 Learning Objectives and Introduction 313

Learning Objectives 313 Introduction 313

Importance and Use of Measures 314 Key Concepts 315

Measurement 315 Scores 319 Correlation Between Scores 322

Quality of Measures 327 Reliability of Measures 328 Validity of Measures 336 Validation of Measures in Staffing 339 Validity Generalization 348 Staffing Metrics and Benchmarks 351


Collection of Assessment Data 351 Testing Procedures 352 Acquisition of Tests and Test Manuals 354 Professional Standards 354

Legal Issues 355 Determining Adverse Impact 355 Standardization 358 Best Practices 358

Summary 359 Discussion Questions 361 Ethical Issues 361 Applications 361

Evaluation of Two New Assessment Methods for Selecting Telephone Customer Service Representatives 361

Conducting Empirical Validation and Adverse Impact Analysis 364 Endnotes 367

CHAPTER EIGHT External Selection I 371 Learning Objectives and Introduction 372

Learning Objectives 372 Introduction 372

Preliminary Issues 372 The Logic of Prediction 373 The Nature of Predictors 374 Development of the Selection Plan 376 Selection Sequence 376

Initial Assessment Methods 379 Résumés and Cover Letters 379 Application Blanks 383 Biographical Information 391 Reference and Background Checks 396 Initial Interview 402 Choice of Initial Assessment Methods 404

Legal Issues 409 Disclaimers 410 Reference Checks 410 Social Media Screening 411 Background Checks: Credit and Criminal 412 Preemployment Inquiries 415 Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications 417

Summary 420


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Discussion Questions 420 Ethical Issues 421 Applications 421

Reference Reports and Initial Assessment in a Start-Up Company 421 Developing a Lawful Application Blank 422

Endnotes 424

CHAPTER NINE External Selection II 431 Learning Objectives and Introduction 432

Learning Objectives 432 Introduction 432

Substantive Assessment Methods 433 Personality Tests 433 Ability Tests 442 Emotional Intelligence Tests 450 Performance Tests and Work Samples 453 Situational Judgment Tests 456 Integrity Tests 459 Interest, Values, and Preference Inventories 464 Structured Interview 466 Selection for Team Environments 475 Choice of Substantive Assessment Methods 477

Discretionary Assessment Methods 481 Contingent Assessment Methods 481

Drug Testing 482 Medical Exams 488

Legal Issues 488 Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures 488 Selection Under the Americans With Disabilities Act 489 Marijuana and Other Drug Testing 493

Summary 494 Discussion Questions 495 Ethical Issues 496 Applications 496

Assessment Methods for the Job of Human Resources Director 496 Choosing Among Finalists for the Job of Human Resources Director 

498 Endnotes 499

CHAPTER TEN Internal Selection 513


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Learning Objectives and Introduction 515 Learning Objectives 515 Introduction 515

Preliminary Issues 516 The Logic of Prediction 516 Types of Predictors 517 Selection Plan 517

Initial Assessment Methods 518 Talent Management/Succession Systems 518 Peer Assessments 519 Self-Assessments 521 Managerial Sponsorship 521 Informal Discussions and Recommendations 523 Choice of Initial Assessment Methods 525

Substantive Assessment Methods 525 Seniority and Experience 526 Job Knowledge Tests 527 Performance Appraisal 528 Promotability Ratings 530 Assessment Centers 531 Interview Simulations 538 Promotion Panels and Review Boards 539 Choice of Substantive Assessment Methods 539

Discretionary Assessment Methods 541 Legal Issues 541

Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures 541 The Glass Ceiling 542

Summary 543 Discussion Questions 544 Ethical Issues 544 Applications 544

Changing a Promotion System 544 Promotion From Within at Citrus Glen 545 Questions 546

Endnotes 547


Staffing Activities: Employment 553



Decision Making 555 Learning Objectives and Introduction 557

Learning Objectives 557 Introduction 557

Choice of Assessment Method 558 Validity Coefficient 558 Correlation With Other Predictors 560 Adverse Impact 560 Hiring Success Gain 560 Economic Gain 563

Determining Assessment Scores 566 Single Predictor 566 Multiple Predictors 566

Hiring Standards and Cut Scores 571 Description of the Process 572 Consequences of Cut Scores 573 Methods to Determine Cut Scores 574

Methods of Final Choice 579 Random Selection 579 Ranking 579 Grouping 580 Ongoing Hiring 580

Decision Makers 581 Organizational Leaders 581 Human Resource Professionals 582 Managers 583 Coworkers 583

Legal Issues 584 Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures 584 Diversity and Hiring Decisions 585

Summary 586 Discussion Questions 587 Ethical Issues 587 Applications 587

Utility Concerns in Choosing an Assessment Method 587 Choosing Entrants Into a Management Training Program 589

Endnotes 591

CHAPTER TWELVE Final Match 595 Learning Objectives and Introduction 597

Learning Objectives 597


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Introduction 597 Employment Contracts 598

Requirements for an Enforceable Contract 598 Parties to the Contract 599 Form of the Contract 600 Disclaimers 602 Contingencies 603

Job Offers 603 Strategic Approach to Job Offers 604 Job Offer Content 606

Job Offer Process 615 Formulation of the Job Offer 615 Presentation of the Job Offer 622 Timing of the Offer 623 Job Offer Acceptance and Rejection 623 Reneging 624

New Employee Orientation and Socialization 626 Orientation 627 Socialization 627 Long-Term Adjustment 631 Examples of Programs 632

Legal Issues 633 Employment Eligibility Verification 633 Negligent Hiring 634 Employment-at-Will 635

Summary 635 Discussion Questions 636 Ethical Issues 637 Applications 637

Making a Job Offer 637 Evaluating a Hiring and Variable-Pay Plan 639

Endnotes 641


Staffing System and Retention Management 647

CHAPTER THIRTEEN Staffing System Management 649 Learning Objectives and Introduction 650

Learning Objectives 650


Introduction 650 Design and Administration of Staffing Systems 651

Defining the Mission of Staffing 651 Organizational Arrangements 652 Policies and Procedures 655 Human Resource Information Systems 657 Outsourcing 660

Evaluation of Staffing Systems 663 Staffing Process 663 Staffing Process Results 666 Calculating Staffing Metrics 672

Legal Issues 673 Record Keeping and Privacy 673 EEO Report 675 Legal Audits 675 Training for Managers and Employees 677 Dispute Resolution 678

Summary 680 Discussion Questions 681 Ethical Issues 681 Applications 681

Learning About Jobs in Staffing 681 Evaluating Staffing Process Results 682

Endnotes 683

CHAPTER FOURTEEN Retention Management 687 Learning Objectives and Introduction 689

Learning Objectives 689 Introduction 689

Turnover and Its Causes 690 Nature of the Problem 690 Types of Turnover 690 Causes of Turnover 692

Analysis of Turnover 695 Measurement 695 Reasons for Leaving: Self-Report 697 Reasons for Leaving: Predictive Analytics 699 Costs and Benefits 700

Retention Initiatives: Voluntary Turnover 707 Desirability of Leaving 708 Ease of Leaving 713


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Alternatives 714 Current Practices and Deciding to Act 715

Retention Initiatives: Discharge 720 Performance Management 720 Progressive Discipline 725

Retention Initiatives: Downsizing 726 Weighing Advantages and Disadvantages 726 Staffing Levels and Quality 727 Alternatives to Downsizing 728 Employees Who Remain 728

Legal Issues 730 Separation Laws and Regulations 730 Performance Appraisal 730

Summary 731 Discussion Questions 733 Ethical Issues 733 Applications 734

Managerial Turnover: A Problem? 734 Retention: Deciding to Act 735

Endnotes 737

Name Index 743 Subject Index 753


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The Staffing Organizations Model


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The Nature of Staffing

CHAPTER ONE Staffing Models and Strategy


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Staffing Models and Strategy

Learning Objectives and Introduction Learning Objectives Introduction

The Nature of Staffing The Big Picture Definition of Staffing Implications of Definition Staffing System Examples

Staffing Models Staffing Quantity: Levels Staffing Quality: Person/Job Match Staffing Quality: Person/Organization Match Staffing System Components Staffing Organizations

Staffing Strategy Staffing Levels Staffing Quality

Staffing Ethics

Plan for the Book


Discussion Questions

Ethical Issues

Applications Staffing for Your Own Job


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Staffing Strategy for a New Plant



Learning Objectives

Define staffing and consider how, in the big picture, staffing decisions matter Review the five staffing models presented, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each Consider the staffing system components and how they fit into the plan for the book Understand the staffing organizations model and how its various components fit into the plan for the book Appreciate the importance of staffing strategy, and review the 13 decisions that staffing strategy requires Realize the importance of ethics in staffing, and learn how ethical staffing practice is established

Introduction Staffing is a critical organizational function concerned with the acquisition, deployment, and retention of the organization’s workforce. As we note in this chapter and throughout the book, staffing is arguably the most critical function underlying organizational effectiveness, because “the people make the place,” labor costs are often the highest organizational cost, and poor hiring decisions are not easily undone.

This chapter begins with a look at the nature of staffing. This includes a view of the “big picture” of staffing, followed by a formal definition of staffing and the implications of that definition. Examples of staffing systems are given.

Five models are then presented to elaborate on and illustrate various facets of staffing. The first model shows how projected workforce head- count requirements and availabilities are compared to determine the appropriate staffing level for the organization. The next two models illustrate staffing quality, which refers to matching a person’s qualifications with the requirements of the job or organization. The person/job match model is the foundation of all staffing activities; the person/organization


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match model shows how person/job matching could extend to how well the person will also fit with the organization. The core staffing components model identifies recruitment, selection, and employment as the three key staffing activities, and it shows that both the organization and the job applicant interact in these activities. The final model, staffing organizations, provides the entire framework for staffing and the structure of this book. It shows that organizations, human resources (HR), and staffing strategy interact to guide the conduct of staffing support activities (legal compliance, planning, and job analysis) and core staffing activities (recruitment, selection, and employment); employee retention and staffing system management are shown to cut across both types of activities.

Staffing strategy is then explored in detail by identifying and describing a set of 13 strategic staffing decisions that confront any organization. Several of the decisions pertain to staffing levels and the remainder to staffing quality.

The ethics of staffing—the moral principles and guidelines for acceptable practice—is discussed next. Several pointers that help guide ethical staffing conduct are indicated, as are some of the common pressures to ignore these pointers and compromise one’s ethical standards. Suggestions for how to handle these pressures are also made.

Finally, the plan for the remainder of the book is presented. The overall structure of the book is shown, along with key features of each chapter.


The Big Picture

Organizations are combinations of physical, financial, and human capital. Human capital refers to the knowledge, skill, and ability of people and their motivation to use these successfully on the job. The term “workforce quality” refers to an organization’s human capital. The organization’s workforce is thus a stock of human capital that it acquires, deploys, and retains in pursuit of organizational outcomes such as profitability, market share, customer satisfaction, and environmental sustainability. Staffing is the organizational function used to build this workforce through such systems as staffing strategy, HR planning, recruitment, selection, employment, and retention.

At the national level, the collective workforces of US organizations total over 121 million (down from a peak of nearly 140 million in 2005), with employees spread across nearly 7.5 million work sites. The work sites vary considerably in size, with 24% of employees in work sites with fewer than 20 employees, 54% in work sites with 20–500 employees, and 21% in work


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sites with more than 500 employees.1 Each of these work sites used some form of a staffing process to acquire its employees. Job creation has continued to expand since job growth recovery from the Great Recession was achieved in April 2014; since then, nearly 4.6 million jobs have been added as of December 2015. Among the industries contributing to this job growth, service-providing industries such as hospitality, leisure, health care, and professional services have been leading the way. Given the steadily increasing job growth over the last five years, as well as the boon in professional services such as selection and assessment, staffing is big business for both organizations and job seekers.2

For most organizations, a workforce is an expensive proposition and cost of doing business. It is estimated that an average organization’s employee cost (wages or salaries and benefits) is over 22% of its total revenue (and generally a higher percentage of total costs).3 The percentage is much greater for organizations in labor-intensive industries—the service- providing as opposed to goods-producing industries—such as retail trade, information, financial services, professional and business services, education, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Since service- providing industries now dominate our economy, matters of employee cost and whether the organization is acquiring a high-quality workforce are of considerable concern.

A shift is gradually occurring from viewing employees as just a cost of doing business to valuing employees as human capital that creates a competitive advantage for the organization. Organizations that deliver superior customer service, much of which is driven by highly knowledgeable employees with fine-tuned customer service skills, have a definite and hopefully long-term advantage over their competitors. The competitive advantage derived from such human capital has important financial implications.

In addition to direct bottom-line implications, an organization’s focus on creating an effective selection system also has indirect implications for a competitive advantage by enhancing employees’ well-being and retention. One recent study showed that employees who perceive that their company uses effective selection practices such as formal selection tests and structured job interviews (practices that we will discuss in this book) are more committed to their organizations. In turn, those higher levels of commitment lead to more helping or citizenship behaviors on the part of employees, as well as stronger intentions to remain employed, both of which ultimately contribute to an organization’s bottom line.4

This renewed focus on establishing a competitive advantage in staffing has also been revolutionized by advancements in technology that have changed the way employees are assessed during the staffing process. These


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include changes in the delivery of assessments (e.g., computerized adaptive testing [CAT] and mobile assessment); novel ways of assessing applicant knowledge, skill, and ability (e.g., simulation-based training and serious games); and the advanced scoring and reporting of assessments (e.g., electronic scoring and reporting). Although these changes are often financially sound and efficient benefits for organizations, this new paradigm in staffing is not without its limitations, including the potential threat of reduced effectiveness due to decreased face-to-face contact in assessment and a potential for the cognitively demanding nature of electronic assessments to adversely affect members of the applicant pool.5 Interestingly, this recent “technology effect” suggests that certain technological advancements may be viewed with rose-colored glasses, even without proper evaluation of their effectiveness.6

Thus, organizations are increasingly recognizing the value creation that can occur through staffing. Quotes from several organizational leaders attest to this, as shown in Exhibit 1.1. Of course, it should also be noted that effective staffing involves a series of trade-offs in practice, such as between customization and consistency or wide reach and coherence.7

EXHIBIT 1.1 The Importance of Staffing to Organizational Leaders

“Staffing is absolutely critical to the success of every company. To be competitive in today’s economy, companies need the best people to create ideas and execute them for the organization. Without a competent and talented workforce, organizations will stagnate and eventually perish. The right employees are the most important resources of companies today.”a

Gail Hyland-Savage, chief operating officer Michaelson, Connor & Boul—real estate and marketing

“At most companies, people spend 2% of their time recruiting and 75% managing their recruiting mistakes.”b

Richard Fairbank, CEO Capital One

“I think about this in hiring, because our business all comes down to people.… In fact, when I’m interviewing a senior job candidate, my biggest worry is how good they are at hiring. I spend at least half the interview on that.”c

Jeff Bezos, CEO—Internet merchandising

“We missed a really nice nursing rebound … because we just didn’t


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do a good job hiring in front of it. Nothing has cost the business as much as failing to intersect the right people at the right time.”d

David Alexander, president Soliant Health—health care

“Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”e

Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) Former US secretary of state

aG. Hyland-Savage, “General Management Perspective on Staffing; The Staffing Commandments,” in N. C. Burkholder, P. J. Edwards, Jr., and L. Sartain (eds.), On Staffing (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004), p. 280. bJ. Trammell, “CEOs Must Own Recruiting: 10 Rules for Building a Top-Notch Function,” Forbes, Apr. 17, 2013 ( rules-for-building-a-top-notch-function). cG. Anders, “Taming the Out-of-Control In-Box,” Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2000, p. 81. dJ. McCoy, “Executives’ Worst Mistakes in Staffing,” Staffing Industry Review, Sept. 2010, pp. 1–2. eC. Powell, “A Leadership Primer: Lesson 8,” Department of the Army (

Definition of Staffing The following definition of staffing is offered and will be used throughout this book:

Staffing is the process of acquiring, deploying, and retaining a workforce of sufficient quantity and quality to create positive impacts on the organization’s effectiveness.

This straightforward definition contains several implications that are identified and explained next.

Implications of Definition

Acquire, Deploy, Retain An organization’s staffing system must guide the acquisition, deployment, and retention of its workforce. Acquisition activities involve external staffing systems that govern the initial intake of applicants into the


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organization. These involve planning for the numbers and types of people needed, establishing job requirements in the form of the qualifications or knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) needed to perform the job effectively, establishing the types of rewards the job will provide, conducting external recruitment campaigns, using selection tools to evaluate the KSAOs that applicants possess, deciding which applicants are the most qualified and will receive job offers, and putting together job offers that applicants will hopefully accept.

Deployment refers to the placement of new hires in the actual jobs they will hold, something that may not be entirely clear at the time of hire, such as the specific work unit or geographic location. Deployment also encompasses guiding the movement of current employees throughout the organization through internal staffing systems that handle promotions, transfers, and new project assignments. Internal staffing systems mimic external staffing systems in many respects, such as planning for promotion and transfer vacancies, establishing job requirements and job rewards, recruiting employees for promotion or transfer opportunities, evaluating employees’ qualifications, and making job offers to employees for new positions.

Retention systems seek to manage the inevitable flow of employees out of the organization. Sometimes these outflows are involuntary on the part of the employee, such as through layoffs or the sale of a business unit to another organization. Other outflows are voluntary in that they are initiated by the employee, such as leaving the organization to take another job (a potentially avoidable turnover by the organization) or leaving to follow one’s spouse or partner to a new geographic location (a potentially unavoidable turnover). Of course, no organization can or should seek to completely eliminate employee outflows, but it should try to minimize the types of turnover in which valued employees leave for greener pastures elsewhere—namely, voluntary-avoidable turnover. Such turnover can be very costly to the organization, as can turnover due to employee discharges and downsizing. Through various retention strategies and tactics, the organization can combat these types of turnover, seeking to retain those employees it thinks it cannot afford to lose.

Staffing as a Process or System Staffing is not an event, as in, “We hired two people today.” Rather, staffing is a process that establishes and governs the flow of people into the organization, within the organization, and out of the organization. Organizations use multiple interconnected systems to manage the people flows. These include planning, recruitment, selection, decision making, job offer, and retention systems. Occurrences or actions in one system inevitably


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affect other systems. If planning activities show a forecasted increase in vacancies relative to historical standards, for example, the recruitment system will need to gear up for generating more applicants than previously, the selection system will have to handle the increased volume of applicants needing to be evaluated in terms of their KSAOs, decisions about job offers may have to be sped up, and the job offer packages may have to be sweetened to entice the necessary numbers of new hires. Further, steps will have to be taken to retain the new hires and thus avoid having to repeat the above experiences in the next staffing cycle.

Quantity and Quality Staffing the organization requires attention to both the numbers (quantity) and the types (quality) of people brought into, moved within, and retained by the organization. The quantity element refers to having enough people to conduct business, and the quality element refers to having people with the requisite KSAOs so that jobs are performed effectively. It is important to recognize that it is the combination of sufficient quantity and quality of labor that creates a maximally effective staffing system.

Organizational Effectiveness Staffing systems exist and should be used to contribute to the attainment of organizational goals such as survival, profitability, and growth. A macro view of staffing like this is often lost or ignored because most of the day-to- day operations of staffing systems involve micro activities that are procedural, transactional, and routine in nature. While these micro activities are essential for staffing systems, they must be viewed within the broader macro context of the positive impacts staffing can have on organizational effectiveness. There are many indications of this critical role of staffing.

Leadership talent is at a premium, with very large stakes associated with new leader acquisition. Sometimes leadership talent is bought and brought from the outside to hopefully execute a reversal of fortune for the organization or a business unit within it. For example, in 2012, Yahoo brought in Marissa Mayer, a former executive at Google, to turn around the aging tech giant. Organizations also acquire leaders to start new business units or ventures that will feed organizational growth. The flip side of leadership acquisition is leadership retention. A looming fear for organizations is the unexpected loss of a key leader, particularly to a competitor. The exiting leader carries a wealth of knowledge and skill out of the organization and leaves a hole that may be hard to fill, especially with someone of equal or higher leadership stature. The leader may also take other key employees along, thus increasing the exit impact.


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Organizations recognize that talent hunts and loading up on talent are ways to expand organizational value and provide protection from competitors. Such a strategy is particularly effective if the talent is unique and rare in the marketplace, valuable in the anticipated contributions to be made (such as product creations or design innovations), and difficult for competitors to imitate (such as through training current employees). Talent of this sort can serve as a source of competitive advantage for the organization, hopefully for an extended time period.8

Talent acquisition is essential for growth even when it does not have such competitive advantage characteristics. As hiring has steadily picked up since the end of the Great Recession, many companies are scrambling to staff positions in order to keep up with demand. For example, Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and PWC are each attempting to fill over a whopping 2,000 positions that all pay at least $50,000 a year.9 Shortages in the quantity or quality of labor can mean lost business opportunities, scaled-back expansion plans, an inability to provide critical consumer goods and services, and even threats to the organization’s survival.

Finally, for individual managers, having sufficient numbers and types of employees on board is necessary for the smooth, efficient operation of their work units. Employee shortages often require disruptive adjustments, such as job reassignments or overtime for current employees. Underqualified employees present special challenges to the manager, as they need to be trained and closely supervised. Failure of the underqualified to achieve acceptable performance may require termination, a difficult decision to make and implement.

In short, organizations experience and respond to staffing forces and recognize how critical these forces can be to organizational effectiveness. The forces manifest themselves in numerous ways: acquisition of new leaders to change the organization’s direction and effectiveness, prevention of key leader losses, use of talent as a source of growth and competitive advantage, shortages of labor—both quantity and quality—that threaten growth and even survival, and the ability of individual managers to effectively run their work units.

Staffing System Examples

Staffing Jobs Without Titles W. L. Gore & Associates is a Delaware-based organization that specializes in making products derived from fluoropolymers. Gore produces fibers (including dental floss and sewing threads), tubes (used, for example, in heart stents and oil exploration), tapes (including those used in space exploration), and membranes (used in Gore-Tex waterproof clothing).


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In its more than a half-century history, Gore has never lost money. Gore employs over 9,000 workers and appears on nearly every “best place to work” list, including Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” list every year since 1998. In addition, it boasts a miniscule 3% full- time voluntary turnover rate. What makes Gore so special? Gore associates say that it’s the culture, and the culture starts with the hiring.

Gore has a strong culture, as seen in its structure: a team-based, flat lattice structure that fosters personal initiative. At Gore, no employee can ever command another employee—all commitments are voluntary, and any employee can say no to any request. Employees are called “associates” and managers are called “sponsors.” How do people become leaders at Gore? “You get to be a leader if your team asks you to lead them.”10

Gore extends this egalitarian, entrepreneurial approach to its staffing process. The focal point of Gore’s recruitment process is the careers section of its website, which describes its core values and its unique culture. The website also provides position descriptions and employee perspectives on working at Gore, complete with pictures of the associates and videos. Three Gore associates—Janice, Katrin, and Mike—work on Gore’s footwear products, striving to uphold the company’s “keep you dry” guarantee. As Mike notes, “The reasons that I chose Gore from the start are the same reasons why I stay at Gore today, and continue to have fun every day: It’s the people. Our team is a great team, and I think that is reflected or echoed across the entire enterprise.” Hajo, Alicia, and Austin make up a team working on the clinical product Thoracic Endoprosthesis. As Hajo notes, “When you come to work each day, you don’t have a boss to give you explicit instructions on what you need to accomplish.”

Gore finds that its employee-focused recruitment efforts do not work for everyone, which is exactly what it intends. “Some of these candidates, or prospects in the fields we were recruiting for, told us ‘this company probably isn’t for me,’ ” says Steve Shuster, who helped develop the recruitment strategy. Shuster says that this self-selection is another benefit of its recruitment message. Potential recruits who prefer a more traditional culture quickly see that Gore isn’t for them. Shuster says, “Rather than have them go through the interview process and invest their time and our time, we wanted to weed that out.” Of course, Gore has a culture that fits many. Says Gore associate Hannah, who works on the company’s heart device team, “I feel like Gore is not just a job, that it’s more of a lifestyle and a huge part of my life.”11

Pharmaceutical Industry Managers Though Pfizer has been recognized by other pharmaceutical companies as a leader in selecting and developing its employees, it recently realized a need


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to dramatically overhaul its approach to staffing. Despite the previous success of its selection efforts, “Pfizer was not focused on managing the external environment,” said Pfizer executive Chris Altizer. In the past, according to Altizer, Pfizer would project what kind of talent it would need in the next 10 years and then select employees whose skills matched the talent needs. Pfizer now believes the plan no longer works because there is increased global competition, especially from smaller start-up pharmaceutical firms that can rush products to market. That puts a premium on adaptability.

To address changing market conditions, Pfizer now looks at hiring employees who can jump from one position to another. This means that Pfizer focuses less on job descriptions (i.e., hiring for skills that fit a specific job) and more on general competencies that will translate from job to job. According to Altizer, Pfizer needs “a person who can switch from working on a heart disease product to one that helps people stop smoking”—in other words, rather than relying on past experience with one product (say, heart disease medications), Pfizer is looking for competencies that will allow the employee to quickly and proficiently move from one venture to the next.12

Management Trainees Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a private company founded in 1957 with locations in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Germany. Enterprise boasts that its 5,500 offices in the United States are located within 15 miles of 90% of the population. Among its competitors, Enterprise frequently wins awards for customer satisfaction.

To staff its locations, Enterprise relies heavily on recruiting recent college graduates. In fact, Enterprise hires more college graduates—often between 8,000 and 9,000 a year—than any other company. New hires enter Enterprise’s management training program, where they learn all aspects of running a branch, including taking reservations, picking up customers, developing relationships with car dealerships and body shops for future rentals, managing the fleet, handling customer issues, and even washing cars. Nearly all promotions at Enterprise occur from within and are strictly performance based, allowing management trainees to see a clear path from their current position to higher positions such as assistant manager, branch manager, and area manager. Typically, the first promotion occurs within 9– 12 months of being hired, which speeds the climb up the corporate ladder.

To fill so many positions with college graduates, Enterprise relies on several strategies, including recruiting from an internship program of approximately 1,000 students a year, attending college recruitment fairs, using its website to highlight its performance- driven culture as well as employee testimonials, and devoting a large


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percentage of its television advertising to the NCAA basketball tournament, which occurs each March and has a high college viewership. Although graduates’ grades are important to Enterprise, communication skills are even more essential, says Dylan Schweitzer, northeast manager of talent acquisition.

Although the management trainee program at Enterprise has been described as a grueling process, with many trainees leaving prior to being promoted, its executives often describe it as an “MBA without the IOU” because trainees gain firsthand experience in sales, marketing, finance, and operations.13

STAFFING MODELS Various elements of staffing are depicted in the staffing models presented here. Each of these is described in detail to more fully convey the nature and richness of staffing the organization.

Staffing Quantity: Levels The quantity or head-count portion of the staffing definition means organizations must be concerned about staffing levels and their adequacy. Exhibit 1.2 shows the basic model. The organization as a whole, as well as each of its units, forecasts workforce quantity requirements (the needed head count) and then compares these with forecasted workforce availabilities (the likely employee head count) to determine its likely staffing level position. If head-count requirements match availabilities, the organization will be fully staffed. If requirements exceed availabilities, the organization will be understaffed, and if availabilities exceed requirements, the organization will be overstaffed.

EXHIBIT 1.2 Staffing Quantity

Making forecasts to determine appropriate staffing levels and


then developing specific plans are the essence of planning. Being understaffed means the organization will have to gear up its staffing efforts, starting with accelerated recruitment and carrying on through the rest of the staffing system. It may also require developing retention programs that will slow the outflow of people, thus avoiding costly “turnstile” or “revolving door” staffing. Overstaffing projections signal the need to slow down or even halt recruitment, as well as to take steps to reduce head count, perhaps through early retirement plans or layoffs.

Staffing Quality: Person/Job Match The person/job match seeks to align characteristics of individuals with jobs in ways that will result in desired HR outcomes. Casual comments made about applicants often reflect awareness of the importance of the person/job match: “Clark just doesn’t have the interpersonal skills that it takes to be a good customer service representative.” “Mary has exactly the kind of budgeting experience this job calls for; if we hire her, there won’t be any downtime while she learns our systems.” “Gary says he was attracted to apply for this job because of its sales commission plan; he says he likes jobs where his pay depends on how well he performs.” “Diane was impressed by the amount of challenge and autonomy she will have.” “Jack turned down our offer; we gave him our best shot, but he just didn’t feel he could handle the long hours and amount of travel the job calls for.”

Comments like these raise four important points about the person/job match. First, jobs are characterized by their requirements (e.g., interpersonal skills, previous budgeting experience) and embedded rewards (e.g., commission sales plan, challenge and autonomy). Second, individuals are characterized by their level of qualification (e.g., few interpersonal skills, extensive budgeting experience) and motivation (e.g., need for pay to depend on performance, need for challenge and autonomy). Third, in each of the previous examples, the issue was the likely degree of fit or match between the characteristics of the job and the person. Fourth, there are implied consequences for every match. For example, Clark may not perform very well in his interactions with customers; retention might quickly become an issue with Jack.

These points and concepts are shown more formally through the person/job match model in Exhibit 1.3. In this model, the job has certain requirements and rewards associated with it. The person has certain qualifications, referred to as KSAOs, and motivations. There is a need for a match between the person and the job. To the extent that the match is good, it will likely have a positive impact on HR outcomes, particularly with attraction of job applicants, job performance, retention, attendance, and


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satisfaction. There is a need for a dual match to occur: job requirements to KSAOs,

and job rewards to individual motivation. In and through staffing activities, there are attempts to ensure both of these. Such attempts collectively involve what will be referred to throughout this book as the matching process.

EXHIBIT 1.3 Person/Job Match

Several points pertaining to staffing need to be made about the person/job match model. First, the concepts shown in the model are not new.14 They have been used for decades as the dominant way of thinking about how individuals successfully adapt to their work environments. The view is that the positive interaction of individual and job characteristics creates the most successful match. Thus, a person with a given package of KSAOs is not equally suited to all jobs, because jobs vary in the KSAOs required. Likewise, an individual with a given set of needs or motivations will not be satisfied with all jobs, because jobs differ in the rewards they offer. Thus, in staffing, each individual must be assessed relative to the requirements and rewards of the job being filled.

Second, the model emphasizes a dual match of KSAOs to requirements and motivation to rewards. Both matches require attention in staffing. For example, a staffing system may be designed to focus on the KSAOs/requirements match by carefully identifying job requirements and


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then thoroughly assessing applicants relative to those requirements. While such a staffing system may accurately identify the probable high performers, problems could arise. By ignoring or downplaying the motivation/rewards portion of the match, the organization may have difficulty getting people to accept job offers (an attraction outcome) or having new hires remain with the organization for any length of time (a retention outcome). It does little good to identify the likely high performers if they cannot be induced to accept job offers or to remain with the organization. Paradoxically, a recent research study has demonstrated that although matching the KSAOs to requirements is important for organizations, job advertisements that emphasize the fit between employee needs and employer fulfillment of those needs (e.g., motivation to rewards) actually led to more applications and a higher-quality applicant pool.15

Third, job requirements should be expressed in terms of both the tasks involved and the KSAOs needed to perform those tasks. Most of the time, it is difficult to establish meaningful KSAOs for a job without having first identified the job’s tasks. KSAOs usually must be derived or inferred from knowledge of the tasks. An exception to this involves very basic or generic KSAOs that are reasonably deemed necessary for most jobs, such as literacy and oral communication skills.

Fourth, job requirements often extend beyond task and KSAO requirements. For example, the job may require punctuality, good attendance, safety toward fellow employees and customers, and travel. Matching an individual to these requirements must also be considered when staffing the organization. Travel requirements of the job, for example, may involve assessing applicants’ availability for, and willingness to accept, travel assignments. Integrating this with the second point above, travel issues, which frequently arise in the consulting industry, play a role in both the attraction process (getting people to accept) and the retention process (getting people to stay). “Road warriors,” as they are sometimes termed, may first think that frequent travel will be exciting, only to discover later that they find it taxing.

Finally, the matching process can yield only so much by way of impacts on the HR outcomes. The reason for this is that these outcomes are influenced by factors outside the realm of the person/job match. Retention, for example, depends not only on how close the match is between job rewards and individual motivation but also on the availability of suitable job opportunities in other organizations and labor markets. As hiring begins to improve and unemployment continues to drop, organizations are likely to face increased retention pressures as other opportunities present themselves to employees due to more favorable economic conditions.


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Staffing Quality: Person/Organization Match Often the organization seeks to determine how well the person matches not only the job but also the organization. Likewise, applicants often assess how well they think they will fit into the organization, in addition to how well they match the specific job’s requirements and rewards. For both the organization and the applicant, then, there may be a concern with a person/organization match.16

Exhibit 1.4 shows this expanded view of the match. The focal point of staffing is the person/job match, and the job is the bull’s eye of the matching target. Four other matching concerns involving the broader organization also arise in staffing: organizational values, new job duties, multiple jobs, and future jobs.

EXHIBIT 1.4 Person/Organization Match

Organizational values are norms of desirable attitudes and behaviors for


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the organization’s employees. Examples include honesty and integrity, achievement and hard work, and concern for fellow employees and customers. Though such values may never appear in writing, such as in a job description, the likely match of the applicant to them is judged during staffing. The effects of a mismatch between an employee and the organization on values can be quite strong, given that the mismatch tends to deplete an individual’s regulatory resources, leading to low performance and a decreased ability to adapt.17

New job duties are tasks that may be added to the target job over time. Organizations desire new hires who will be able to successfully perform these new duties as they are added. In recognition of this, job descriptions often contain the catchall phrase “and other duties as assigned.” These other duties are usually vague at the time of hire, and they may never materialize. Nonetheless, the organization would like to hire people it thinks could perform these new duties. Having such people will provide the organization the flexibility to complete new tasks without having to hire additional employees. As we will discuss later in this book, certain types of individuals are better than others at adapting to changing circumstances, and organizations with evolving job duties are well advised to select them.

Flexibility concerns also enter the staffing picture in terms of hiring people who can perform multiple jobs. Small businesses, for example, often desire new hires who can wear multiple hats, functioning as jacks-of-all- trades. Organizations experiencing rapid growth may require new employees who can handle several job assignments, splitting their time among them on an as-needed basis. Such expectations obviously require assessments of person/organization fit.

Future jobs represent forward thinking by the organization and the person as to which job assignments the person might assume beyond the initial job. Here the applicant and the organization are thinking of long-term matches over the course of transfers and promotions as the employee becomes increasingly seasoned for the long run. As technology and globalization cause jobs to change at a rapid pace, more organizations are engaging in “opportunistic hiring,” where an individual is hired into a newly created job or a job that is an amalgamation of previously distributed tasks. In such cases, person/organization match is more important than person/job match.18

In each of the four concerns, the matching process is expanded to consider requirements and rewards beyond those of the target job as it currently exists. Though the dividing line between person/job and person/organization matching is fuzzy, both types of matches are frequently of concern in staffing. Ideally, the organization’s staffing systems focus first and foremost on the person/job match. This will allow the nature of the


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employment relationship to be specified and agreed to in concrete terms. Once these terms have been established, person/ organization match possibilities can be explored during the staffing process. In this book, for simplicity’s sake, we will use the term “person/job match” broadly to encompass both types of matches, though most of the time we will be referring to the match with the actual job itself.

Staffing System Components As noted, staffing encompasses managing the flows of people into and within the organization, as well as retaining them. The core staffing process has several components that represent steps and activities that occur over the course of these flows. Exhibit 1.5 shows these components and the general sequence in which they occur.

As shown in the exhibit, staffing begins with a joint interaction between the applicant and the organization. The applicant seeks the organization and job opportunities within it, and the organization seeks applicants for job vacancies it has or anticipates having. Both the applicant and the organization are thus “players” in the staffing process from the very beginning, and they remain joint participants throughout the process.

EXHIBIT 1.5 Staffing System Components


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At times, the organization may be the dominant player, such as in aggressive and targeted recruiting for certain types of applicants. At other times, the applicant may be the aggressor, such as when he or she desperately seeks employment with a particular organization and will go to almost any length to land a job with it. Most of the time, the staffing process involves a more balanced and natural interplay between the applicant and the organization.

The initial stage in staffing is recruitment, which involves identification and attraction activities by both the organization and the applicant. The organization seeks to identify and attract individuals so that they become job applicants. Activities such as advertising, job fairs, use of recruiters, preparation and distribution of informational brochures, and “putting out the word” about vacancies among its own employees are undertaken by the organization. The applicant identifies organizations with job opportunities by reading advertisements, contacting an employment agency, mass mailing résumés to employers, and so forth. These activities are accompanied by attempts to make one’s qualifications (KSAOs and motivation) attractive to organizations, such as by applying in person for a job or preparing a carefully constructed résumé that highlights significant skills and experiences.

Gradually, recruitment activities phase into the selection stage and its accompanying activities. Now, the emphasis is on assessment and evaluation. For the organization, this means the use of various selection techniques (interviews, application blanks, and so on) to assess applicant KSAOs and motivation. Data from these assessments are then evaluated against job requirements to determine the likely degree of person/job match. At the same time, the applicant is assessing and evaluating the job and organization on the basis of the information gathered from organizational representatives (e.g., recruiter, manager with the vacancy, and other employees), written information (e.g., brochures, employee handbook), informal sources (e.g., friends and relatives who are current employees), and visual inspection (e.g., a video presentation, a work site tour). This information, along with a self-assessment of KSAOs and motivation, is evaluated against the applicant’s understanding of job requirements and rewards to determine whether a good person/job match is likely.

The last core component of staffing is employment, which involves decision making and final match activities by the organization and the applicant. The organization must decide which applicants to allow to continue in the process and which to reject. This may involve multiple decisions over successive selection steps or hurdles. Some applicants ultimately become finalists for the job. At that point, the organization must


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decide to whom it will make the job offer, what the content of the offer will be, and how it will be drawn up and presented to the applicant. Upon the applicant’s acceptance of the offer, the final match is complete, and the employment relationship is formally established.

For the applicant, the employment stage involves self-selection, a term that refers to deciding whether to continue in the staffing process or drop out. This decision may occur anywhere along the selection process, up to and including the moment of the job offer. If the applicant continues as part of the process through the final match, the applicant has decided to be a finalist. His or her attention now turns to a possible job offer, possible input and negotiation on its content, and making a final decision about the offer. The applicant’s final decision is based on his or her overall judgment about the likely suitability of the person/job match.

Note that the above staffing components apply to both external and internal staffing. Though this may seem obvious in the case of external staffing, a brief elaboration may be necessary for internal staffing, where the applicant is a current employee and the organization is the current employer. As we discussed above, Enterprise Rent-A-Car staffs the overwhelming majority of its managerial positions internally. Job opportunities (vacancies) exist within the organization and are filled through the activities of the internal labor market. Those activities involve recruitment, selection, and employment, with the employer and the employee as joint participants. As another example, at the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, candidates for promotion to partner are identified through a multistep process.19 They are “recruited” by division heads identifying prospective candidates for promotion (as in many internal staffing decisions, it is assumed that all employees are interested in promotion). Candidates are then vetted on the basis of input from senior managers in the firm and are evaluated from a dossier that contains the candidate’s photograph, credentials, and accomplishments. After this six-month process, candidates are recommended for partner to the CEO, who then makes the final decision and offers partnership to those lucky enough to be selected (partners average $7 million a year, plus perks). When candidates accept the offer of partnership, the final match has occurred, and a new employment relationship has been established.

Staffing Organizations The overall staffing organizations model, which forms the framework for this book, is shown in Exhibit 1.6. It depicts that the organization’s mission, along with its goals and objectives, drives both organization strategy and HR and staffing strategy, which interact with each other when they are being


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formulated. Staffing policies and programs result from such interaction and serve as an overlay to both support activities and core staffing activities. Employee retention and staffing system management concerns cut across these support and core staffing activities. Finally, though not shown in the model, it should be remembered that staffing levels and staffing quality are the key focal points of staffing strategy, policy, and programs. A more thorough examination of the model follows next.

EXHIBIT 1.6 Staffing Organizations Model

Organization, HR, and Staffing Strategy An organization formulates strategy to express an overall purpose or mission and to establish broad goals and objectives that will help fulfill its mission. For example, a newly formed software development company may have a mission to “help individuals and families manage all of their personal finances and records through electronic means.” With this mission statement, the organization might develop goals and objectives pertaining to product development, sales growth, and competitive differentiation through superior product quality and customer service.

Underlying these objectives are certain assumptions about the size and


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types of workforces that will need to be acquired, trained, managed, rewarded, and retained. HR strategy represents the key decisions about how these workforce assumptions will be handled. Such HR strategy may not only flow from the organization strategy but also may actually contribute directly to the formulation of the organization’s strategy.

Consider again the example of the software development company and its objective pertaining to new product development. Being able to develop new products assumes that sufficiently qualified product-development team members are available internally and externally, and that assurances from the HR department about availability may have been critical in helping the organization decide on its product development goals. From this general assumption, HR strategy may suggest (1) obtaining new, experienced employees from other software companies rather than going after newly minted college and graduate school graduates; (2) building a new facility for software development employees in a geographic area that is an attractive place to work, raise families, and pursue leisure activities; (3) developing relocation assistance packages and family-friendly benefits; (4) offering wages and salaries above the market average, plus using hiring bonuses to help lure new employees away from their current employers; (5) creating a special training budget for each employee to use at his or her own discretion for skills enhancement; and (6) putting in place a fast-track promotion system that allows employees to rise upward in either their professional specialty or the managerial ranks. In all these ways, HR strategy seeks to align acquisition and management of the workforce with organization strategy.

Staffing strategy is an outgrowth of the interplay between organization strategy and HR strategy, described above. It deals directly with key decisions regarding the acquisition, deployment, and retention of the organization’s workforces. Such decisions guide the development of recruitment, selection, and employment programs. In the software development company example, the strategic decision to acquire new employees from the ranks of other organizations may lead the organization to develop very active, personalized, and secret recruiting activities for luring these experienced people away. It may also lead to the development of special selection techniques for assessing job experience and accomplishments. In such ways, strategic staffing decisions shape the staffing process.

Support Activities Support activities serve as the foundation and necessary ingredients for the conduct of core staffing activities. Legal compliance represents knowledge of the myriad laws and regulations, especially equal employment


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opportunity and affirmative action (EEO/AA), and incorporation of their requirements into all phases of the core staffing activities. Planning serves as a tool for first becoming aware of key external influences on staffing, particularly economic conditions, labor markets, and labor unions. Such awareness shapes the formulation of staffing levels—both requirements and availabilities—the results of which drive planning for the core staffing activities. Job analysis represents the key mechanism by which the organization identifies and establishes the KSAO requirements for jobs, as well as the rewards that the jobs will provide, both first steps toward filling projected vacancies through core staffing activities.

Returning to our example of the software development company, if it meets various size thresholds for coverage (usually 15 or more employees), it must ensure that the staffing systems to be developed comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Planning activities will revolve around first determining the major types of jobs that will be necessary for the product development venture, such as computer programmers, Internet specialists, and project managers. For each job, a forecast must be made about the number of employees needed and the likely availability of individuals both externally and internally for the job. Results of such forecasts serve as the key input for developing detailed staffing plans for the core staffing activities. Finally, job analysis will be needed to specify for each job exactly which KSAOs and rewards will be necessary for these sought-after new employees. Once all these support activities are in place, the core staffing activities can begin.

Core Staffing Activities Core staffing activities focus on recruitment, selection, and employment of the workforce. Since staffing levels have already been established as part of staffing planning, the emphasis shifts to staffing quality to ensure that successful person/job and person/organization matches will be made. Accomplishment of this end result will require multiple plans, decisions, and activities, including recruitment methods, communication with potential applicants with a special recruitment message, recruitment media, types of selection tools, deciding which applicants will receive job offers, and job offer packages. Staffing experts and the hiring manager will be involved in these core staffing activities. Moreover, it is likely that the activities will have to be developed and tailor-made for each type of job.

Consider the job of computer programmer in our software development company example. It will be necessary to develop specific plans for issues such as the following: Will we recruit only online, or will we use other methods such as newspaper ads or job fairs (recruitment methods)? What


exactly will we tell applicants about the job and our organization (recruitment message), and how will we deliver the message, such as on our website or in a brochure (recruitment media)? What specific selection tools —such as interviews, assessments of experience, work samples, and background checks—will we use to assess and evaluate the applicants’ KSAOs (selection techniques)? How will we combine and evaluate all the information we gather on applicants with these selection tools and then decide which applicants will receive job offers (decision making)? What exactly will we put in the job offer, and what will we be willing to negotiate (employment)?

Staffing and Retention System Management The various support and core staffing activities are quite complex, and they must be guided, coordinated, controlled, and evaluated. Such is the role of staffing system management. In our software development company example, what will be the role of the HR department, and what types of people will be needed to develop and manage the new staffing systems (administration of staffing systems)? How will we evaluate the results of these systems—will we collect and look at cost-per-hire and time-to-hire data (evaluation of staffing systems)? Data such as these are key effective indicators that both general and staffing managers are attuned to.

Finally, voluntary employee departure from the organization is usually costly and disruptive, and it can involve the loss of critical talent that is difficult to replace. Discharges can also be disruptive. Unless the organization is downsizing, replacements must be found in order to maintain desired staffing levels. The burden for such replacement staffing can be substantial, particularly if the turnover is unanticipated and unplanned. Other things being equal, greater employee retention means less staffing, and thus effective retention programs complement staffing programs.

In our software development company example, the primary focus will likely be on “staffing up” in order to keep producing existing products and develop new ones. Unless attention is also paid to employee retention, maintaining adequate staffing levels and quality may become problematic. Hence, the organization will need to monitor the amount and quality of employees who are leaving, along with the reasons they are leaving, in order to learn how much of the turnover is voluntary and avoidable; monitoring discharges will also be necessary. With these data, tailor-made retention strategies and programs to better meet employees’ needs can be developed. If these are effective, strains on the staffing system will be lessened.

The remainder of the book is structured around and built on the staffing organizations model shown in Exhibit 1.6.


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page 27STAFFING STRATEGY As noted, staffing strategy requires making key decisions about the acquisition, deployment, and retention of the organization’s workforce. Thirteen such decisions are identified and discussed below. Some decisions pertain primarily to staffing levels, and others pertain primarily to staffing quality. A summary of the decisions is shown in Exhibit 1.7. While each decision is shown as an either-or, each is more appropriately thought of as lying on a continuum anchored at the ends by these either-or extremes. When discussing the decisions, continued reference is made to the software development company example.

Staffing Levels

Acquire or Develop Talent A pure acquisition staffing strategy would have an organization concentrate on acquiring new employees who can “hit the ground running” and be at peak performance the moment they arrive. These employees would bring their talents with them to the job, with little or no need for training or development. A pure development strategy would lead to acquisition of just about anyone who is willing and able to learn the KSAOs required by the job. Staffing strategy must position the organization appropriately along this “buy or make your talent” continuum. For critical and newly created positions, such as might occur in the software development company example, the emphasis would likely be on acquiring talent because of the urgency of developing new products. There may not be time to train, and qualified internal candidates may not be available.

EXHIBIT 1.7 Strategic Staffing Decisions

Staffing Levels Acquire or Develop Talent Hire Yourself or Outsource External or Internal Hiring Core or Flexible Workforce Hire or Retain National or Global Attract or Relocate Overstaff or Understaff Short- or Long-Term Focus

Staffing Quality Person/Job or Person/Organization Match


Specific or General KSAOs Exceptional or Acceptable Workforce Quality Active or Passive Diversity

Hire Yourself or Outsource Increasingly, organizations are outsourcing their hiring activities, meaning they use outside organizations to recruit and select employees. Although there are variations of staffing outsourcing (we will have more to say about it in Chapter 3), in some cases, an organization wholly cedes decision- making authority to the vendor. Why might an organization do this? First, it may believe that the vendor can do a better job of identifying candidates than the organization itself can do. This is particularly true for small and midsize companies that lack a professional HR function. Second, in labor shortages, an organization may not be able to recruit enough employees on its own, so it may supplement its recruiting or selection efforts with those of a vendor that specializes in staffing. Finally, outsourcing may also have advantages for legal compliance, as many vendors maintain their own procedures for tracking compliance with equal-opportunity laws.

External or Internal Hiring When job vacancies occur or new jobs are created, should the organization seek to fill them from the external or internal labor market? While some mixture of external and internal hiring will be necessary in most situations, the relative blend could vary substantially. To the extent that the organization wants to cultivate a stable, committed workforce, it will probably need to emphasize internal hiring. This will allow employees to use the internal labor market as a springboard for launching long-term careers within the organization. External hiring might then be restricted to specific entry-level jobs, as well as newly created ones for which there are no acceptable internal applicants. External hiring might also be necessary when there is rapid organizational growth, such that the number of new jobs created outstrips internal supply.

Core or Flexible Workforce The organization’s core workforce is made up of individuals who are viewed (and view themselves) as regular full-time or part-time employees of the organization. They are central to the core goods and services delivered by the organization.

The flexible workforce is composed of more peripheral workers who are used on an as-needed, just-in-time basis. They are not viewed (nor do they


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view themselves) as regular employees, and legally, most of them are not even employees of the organization. Rather, they are employees of an alternative organization such as a staffing firm (temporary help agency) or an independent contractor. The organization must decide whether to use both core and flexible workforces, what the mixture of core versus flexible workers will be, and in what jobs and units of the organization these mixtures will be deployed. Within the software development company, programmers may be considered part of the core workforce, but ancillary workers (e.g., clerical) may be part of the flexible workforce, particularly since the need for them will depend on the speed and success of new product development.

Hire or Retain There are trade-offs between hiring strategies and retention strategies for staffing. At one extreme, the organization can accept whatever level of turnover occurs and simply hire replacements to fill the vacancies. Alternatively, the organization can seek to minimize turnover so that the need for replacement staffing is held to a minimum. For example, SAS Institute, a company that frequently finds itself on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” list, has an annual turnover rate of less than 3%, meaning that fewer than 3 out of 100 of its employees leave voluntarily within a 12-month period. The company’s ability to retain its employees at such a high level is likely due in part to the generous perks it offers, including subsidized Montessori child care, unlimited sick time, a free health care center, and four cafeterias serviced by a local organic farm.20 An organization could conduct an analysis to determine the costs and benefits of these types of strategies and then strive for an optimal mix to control its inflow needs (replacement staffing) by controlling its outflow (retention staffing).

National or Global As we noted earlier, one form of outsourcing is when organizations outsource staffing activities. Of course, many organizations outsource more than staffing activities—technical support, database management, customer service, and manufacturing are common examples. A growing number of computer-chip makers, such as IBM, Intel, and Motorola, contract with outside vendors to manufacture their chips; often these companies are overseas. Offshoring is related to, but distinct from, outsourcing. Whereas outsourcing is moving a business process (service or manufacturing) to another vendor (whether that vendor is inside or outside the organization’s home country), offshoring is the organization setting up its own operations


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in another country (the organization is not contracting with an outside vendor; rather, it is establishing its own operations in another country). In the computer-chip example, outsourcing would be if the organization, say, IBM, contracted with an outside vendor to manufacture the chips. Offshoring would be if IBM set up its own plant in another country to manufacture the chips.

Increasingly, US organizations are engaged in both overseas outsourcing and offshoring, a trend spurred by three forces. First, most nations have lowered trading and immigration barriers, which has facilitated offshoring and overseas outsourcing. Second, particularly in the United States and western Europe, organizations find that by outsourcing or offshoring, they can manufacture goods or provide services more cheaply than they can in their own country. Third, some organizations cannot find sufficient talent in their home countries, so they have to look elsewhere. A recent report by ManpowerGroup suggests that the world is currently experiencing the highest talent shortage since 2007, particularly in the IT, skilled trades, and sales industries. Although the cost of talent is often cited as a reason for this shortage (e.g., applicants often look for more pay than what is offered), the most frequently cited reasons why employers can’t fill the positions are a lack of applicants, a lack of technical competencies, and a lack of experience. Notably, nearly one-fifth of those surveyed by ManpowerGroup have resorted to outsourcing.21

Attract or Relocate Typical staffing strategy is based on the premise that the organization can induce sufficient numbers of qualified people to come to it for employment. Another version of this premise is that it is better (and cheaper) to bring the labor to the organization than to bring the organization to the labor. Some organizations, both established and new ones, challenge this premise and choose locations with ample supplies of labor. The shift of lumber mills and automobile manufacturing plants to the southern United States reflects such a strategy. Likewise, the growth of high technology pockets such as Silicon Valley reflects the establishment or movement of organizations to geographic areas where there is ready access to highly skilled labor and where employees would like to live, usually locations with research universities nearby to provide the needed graduates for jobs. The software development company, for example, might find locating in such an area very desirable.

Overstaff or Understaff While most organizations seek to be reasonably fully staffed, some opt for


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being over- or understaffed. Overstaffing may occur when there are dips in demand for the organization’s products or services that the organization chooses to ride out. Organizations may also overstaff in order to stockpile talent, recognizing that the staffing spigot cannot be easily turned on or off. Alternatively, understaffing may occur when the organization is confronted with chronic labor shortages, such as is the case for nurses in health care facilities. Also, prediction of an economic downturn may lead the organization to understaff in order to avoid future layoffs. Finally, the organization may decide to understaff and adjust staffing level demand spikes by increasing employee overtime or using flexible staffing arrangements such as temporary employees. Many have blamed the slow job recovery following the Great Recession on the reluctance of companies to put themselves in an overstaffing situation, instead asking current employees to work longer hours in order to handle increased demand in the company’s products or services. The software development company might choose to overstaff in order to retain key employees and to be poised to meet the hopeful surges in demand as its new products are released.

Short- or Long-Term Focus Although any organization would want to have its staffing needs fully anticipated for both the short term and the long term, optimizing both goals is difficult, so trade-offs are often required. In this case, it often means addressing short-term labor shortages by identifying and developing talent for the long term. When forced to choose, organizations focus on their short- term needs. This is understandable because labor shortages can be debilitating. Even when the overall economy is sluggish, the pool of qualified applicants may be thin. One recruiting expert noted, “The weak labor market has really increased the noise level as more unqualified candidates apply for a decreasing number of job openings.”22 So, even in periods of economic duress, a labor shortage can happen in any industry. When business leaders in the trucking industry were asked to identify their top business concerns, 86% of executives listed the unavailability of drivers as one of their top three concerns.23

Balanced against this short-term “crisis management” focus are long- term concerns. Organizations with a long-term view of their staffing needs have put in place talent management programs. In some cases, this means thinking about the strategic talent, or future skill, needs for the entire organization. Bringing to mind John Maynard Keynes’s comment, “In the long run we are all dead,” the problem with a long-term focus is that long- term needs (demand) and availability (supply) are often unclear. Often, it seems as if calls for an upcoming labor shortage due to baby boomer retirements never end. As Peter Cappelli concluded, “They’ve been


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predicting a labor shortage since the mid-1990’s and guess what, it’s not happening.” In fact, recent projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predict that by 2024 the labor force will have grown by 7.9 million, an average of 0.5% per year (which is much smaller than the growth rates of previous decades). However, BLS economist Ian Wyatt admits that whereas population and labor force growth can be forecasted fairly accurately, labor demand estimates are far less reliable. The future demand for workers “is a very tough question to answer,” Wyatt said. “Perhaps because of this, while most organizations are aware of projected labor shortages, many fewer have any concrete plans to do anything about it.” Furthermore, even though the labor force is expected to slowly grow over the next decade, the labor force participation rate, or the number of those from the labor force expected to become employed and work, is slated to decrease steadily by 2024.24

These long-term forecasting difficulties notwithstanding, growth will occur in some skill areas, while others will decrease in demand. Employers that make no efforts to project future supply and demand risk having their strategies derailed by lack of available labor. As a result of a lack of planning, some companies are facing unanticipated skilled labor shortages. For example, Linda Fillingham cannot find skilled laborers to work in her family’s Bloomington, Illinois, steel plant. Fillingham expresses puzzlement as to her labor shortage, given the alleged lack of job growth in manufacturing: “It’s there if you want to do it,” she said. Perhaps long-term planning would have avoided or ameliorated Fillingham’s dilemma.25

Staffing Quality

Person/Job or Person/Organization Match When acquiring and deploying people, should the organization opt for a person/job or person/organization match? This is a complex decision. In part, a person/job match will have to be assessed anytime a person is hired to perform a finite set of tasks. In our software company example, programmers might be hired to do programming in a specific language such as Java, and most certainly the organization would want to assess whether applicants meet this specific job requirement. On the other hand, jobs may be poorly defined and fluid, making a person/job match infeasible and requiring a person/organization match instead. Such jobs are often found in technology and software development organizations.

Specific or General KSAOs Should the organization acquire people with specific KSAOs or more general ones? The former means focusing on job-specific competencies, often of the job knowledge and technical skill variety. The latter requires a


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focus on KSAOs that will be applicable across a variety of jobs, both current and future. Examples of such KSAOs include flexibility and adaptability, ability to learn, written and oral communication skills, and algebra/statistics skills. An organization expecting rapid changes in job content and new job creation, such as in the software company example, might position itself closer to the general competencies end of the continuum.

Exceptional or Acceptable Workforce Quality Strategically, the organization could seek to acquire a workforce that is preeminent KSAO-wise (exceptional quality) or that is more “ballpark” variety KSAO-wise (acceptable quality). Pursuit of the exceptional quality strategy would allow the organization to stock up on the “best and the brightest” with the hope that this exceptional talent pool would deliver truly superior performance. The acceptable quality strategy means pursuit of a less high-powered workforce and probably a less expensive one as well. If the software development company is trying to create clearly innovative and superior products, it will likely opt for the exceptional workforce quality end of the continuum.

Active or Passive Diversity The labor force is becoming increasingly diverse in terms of demographics, values, and languages. Does the organization want to actively pursue this diversity in the labor market so that its own workforce mirrors it, or does the organization want to more passively let diversity of its workforce happen? Advocates of an active diversity strategy argue that it is legally and morally appropriate and that a diverse workforce allows the organization to be more attuned to the diverse needs of the customers it serves. Those favoring a more passive strategy suggest that diversification of the workforce takes time because it requires substantial planning and assimilation activity. In the software company illustration, an active diversity strategy might be pursued as a way of acquiring workers who can help identify a diverse array of software products that might be received favorably by various segments of the marketplace.

STAFFING ETHICS Staffing the organization involves a multitude of individuals—hiring managers, staffing professionals, potential coworkers, legal advisors, and job applicants. During the staffing process, all of these individuals may be involved in recruitment, selection, and employment activities, as well as decision making. Are there, or should there be, boundaries on these


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individuals’ actions and decisions? The answer is yes, for without boundaries, potentially negative outcomes and harmful effects may occur. For example, staffing is often a hurried process, driven by tight deadlines and calls for expediency (e.g., the hiring manager who says to the staffing professional, “Just get me someone now—I’ll worry about how good they are later on”). Such calls may lead to negative consequences, including hiring someone without proper assessment and subsequently having him or her perform poorly, ignoring the many applicants who would have been successful performers, failing to advance the organization’s workforce diversity initiatives and possible legal obligations, and making an exceedingly generous job offer that provides the highest salary in the work unit, causing dissatisfaction and possible turnover among other work unit members. Such actions and outcomes raise issues of staffing ethics.

Ethics involves determining moral principles and guidelines for the acceptable practice of staffing. Within the realm of the workplace, ethics emphasizes “awareness of organizational values, guidelines and codes, and behaving within those boundaries when faced with dilemmas in business or professional work.”26 More specifically, organizational ethics seeks to do the following:

Raise ethical expectations Legitimize dialogue about ethical issues Encourage ethical decision making Prevent misconduct and provide a basis for enforcement

While organizations are increasingly developing general codes of conduct, it is unknown whether these codes contain specific staffing provisions. Even the general code will likely have some pertinence to staffing through provisions on such issues as legal compliance, confidentiality and disclosure of information, and use of organizational property and assets. Individuals involved in staffing should know and follow their organization’s code of ethics. Several points that pertain to staffing specifically can guide a person’s ethical conduct. These points are shown in Exhibit 1.8 and elaborated on below.

EXHIBIT 1.8 Suggestions for Ethical Staffing Practice

1. Represent the organization’s interests. 2. Beware of conflicts of interest. 3. Remember the job applicant. 4. Follow staffing policies and procedures. 5. Know and follow the law.


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6. Consult professional codes of conduct. 7. Shape effective practice with research results. 8. Seek ethics advice. 9. Be aware of an organization’s ethical climate/culture.

The first point is that the person is serving as an agent of the organization and is duty bound to represent the organization first and foremost. That duty is to bring into being effective person/job and person/organization matches. The second point indicates that the agent must avoid placing his or her own interest, or that of a third party (such as an applicant or friend), above that of the organization. Point three suggests that even though the HR professional represents the organization, he or she should remember that the applicant is a participant in the staffing process. How the HR professional treats applicants may well lead to reactions by them that are favorable to the organization and further its interests, let alone those of applicants. Point four reminds the HR professional to know the organization’s staffing policies and procedures and adhere to them. The fifth point indicates a need to be knowledgeable of the myriad laws and regulations governing staffing, to follow them, and to seek needed assistance in their interpretation and application. Point six guides the HR professional toward professional codes of conduct pertaining to staffing and HR. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a formal code of ethics. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) follows the ethics code of the American Psychological Association (APA) and has issued a set of professional principles to guide appropriate use of employee selection procedures. The seventh point states that there is considerable useful research-based knowledge about the design and effectiveness of staffing systems and techniques that should guide staffing practice. Much of that research is summarized in usable formats in this book. The eighth point suggests that when confronted with ethical issues, it is appropriate to seek ethical advice from others. Handling troubling ethical issues alone is unwise.

The final point is that one must be aware of an organization’s climate and culture for ethical behavior. Organizations differ in their ethical climate/culture, and this has two implications for staffing.27 First, an organization may have expectations for how staffing decisions are made. How an organization communicates with recruits (including those who are rejected) and whether selection decisions are made hierarchically or collaboratively are two examples of ethical staffing issues that may well vary from organization to organization. Second, an organization’s ethics climate may well affect which staffing decisions are made. An organization that has high expectations for ethics may weight selection information


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differently (placing more weight on, say, background checks) than an organization with more typical expectations.

In both of these ways, one needs to realize that while some ethics considerations are universal, in other cases, what is considered ethical in one climate may be seen as a breach of ethics in another.

It should be recognized that many pressure points on HR professionals may cause them to compromise the ethical standards discussed above. Research suggests that the principal causes of this pressure are the felt needs to follow top management’s or a supervisor’s directive, be a team player, protect the interests of the organization, save others’ jobs, meet performance goals, deal with internal competition, and cope with having limited resources.28

The suggestions for ethical staffing practice in Exhibit 1.8 are a guide to one’s own behavior. Being aware of and consciously attempting to follow these constitute a professional and ethical responsibility. But what about situations in which ethical lapses are suspected or observed in others?

One response to the situation is to do nothing—neither report nor attempt to change the misconduct. Research suggests a small proportion (about 20%) chooses to ignore and not report misconduct.29 Major reasons for this response include the need to report the incident to the person involved, the belief that no action would be taken, a lack of anonymity in the reporting process, and the fear of retaliation from one’s boss or senior management. Against such reasons for inaction must be weighed the harm that has, or could, come to the employer, the employee, or the job applicant. Moreover, failure to report the misconduct may well increase the chances that it will be repeated, with continuing harmful consequences. Not reporting misconduct may also conflict with one’s personal values and create remorse for not having done the right thing. Finally, a failure to report misconduct may bring penalties to oneself if that failure subsequently becomes known to one’s boss or senior management. In short, “looking the other way” should not be viewed as a safe, wise, or ethical choice.

A different way to handle unethical staffing practices by others is to seek advice from one’s boss, senior management, coworkers, legal counsel, an ethics officer or ombudsperson, or an outside friend or family member. The guidelines in Exhibit 1.8 can serve as a helpful starting point to frame the discussion and make a decision about what to do.

At times, the appropriate response to others’ misconduct is to step in directly to try to prevent or rectify the misconduct. This would be especially appropriate with employees whom one supervises or with coworkers. Before taking such an action, it would be wise to consider whether one has the authority and resources to do so, along with the likely support of those other employees or coworkers.


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PLAN FOR THE BOOK The book is divided into six parts:

1. The Nature of Staffing 2. Support Activities 3. Staffing Activities: Recruitment 4. Staffing Activities: Selection 5. Staffing Activities: Employment 6. Staffing System and Retention Management

Each chapter in these six parts begins with a brief topical outline to help the reader quickly discern its general contents. The “meat” of the chapter comes next. A chapter summary then reviews and highlights points from the chapter. A set of discussion questions, ethical issues to discuss, applications (cases and exercises), and detailed endnotes complete the chapter.

The importance of laws and regulations is such that they are considered first in Chapter 2 (Legal Compliance). The laws and regulations, in particular, have become so pervasive that they require special treatment. Therefore, Chapter 2 reviews the basic laws affecting staffing, with an emphasis on the major federal laws and regulations pertaining to EEO/AA matters generally. Specific provisions relevant to staffing are covered in depth. Each subsequent chapter has a separate section labeled “Legal Issues,” in which specific legal topics relevant to the chapter’s content are discussed. This allows for a more focused discussion of legal issues while not diverting attention from the major thrust of the book.

The endnotes at the end of each chapter are quite extensive. They are drawn from academic, practitioner, and legal sources with the goal of providing a balanced selection from each of these sources. Emphasis is on the inclusion of recent references of high quality and easy accessibility. An overly lengthy list of references to each specific topic is avoided; instead, a sampling of only the best available is included.

The applications at the end of each chapter are of two varieties. First are cases that describe a particular situation and require analysis and response. The response may be written or oral (such as in class discussion or a group presentation). Second are exercises that entail small projects and require active practice of a particular task. Through these cases and exercises the reader becomes an active participant in the learning process and is able to apply the concepts provided in each chapter.

SUMMARY At the national level, staffing involves a huge number of hiring transactions


each year, is a major cost of doing business (especially for service-providing industries), and can lead to substantial revenue and market value growth for the organization. Staffing is defined as “the process of acquiring, deploying, and retaining a workforce of sufficient quantity and quality to create positive impacts on the organization’s effectiveness.” The definition emphasizes that both staffing levels and labor quality contribute to an organization’s effectiveness, and that a concerted set of labor acquisition, deployment, and retention actions guides the flow of people into, within, and out of the organization. Descriptions of three staffing systems help highlight the definition of staffing.

Several models illustrate various elements of staffing. The staffing level model shows how projected labor requirements and availabilities are compared to derive staffing levels that represent being overstaffed, fully staffed, or understaffed. The next two models illustrate staffing quality via the person/job match and the person/organization match. The former indicates there is a need to match (1) the person’s KSAOs to job requirements and (2) the person’s motivation to the job’s rewards. In the person/organization match, the person’s characteristics are matched to additional factors beyond the target job, namely, organizational values, new job duties for the target job, multiple jobs, and future jobs. Effectively managing the matching process results in positive impacts on HR outcomes such as attraction, performance, and retention. The core staffing components model shows that there are three basic activities in staffing: recruitment (identification and attraction of applicants), selection (assessment and evaluation of applicants), and employment (decision making and final match). The staffing organizations model shows that organization, HR, and staffing strategies are formulated and shape staffing policies and programs. In turn, these meld into a set of staffing support activities (legal compliance, planning, and job analysis), as well as the core activities (recruitment, selection, and employment). Retention and staffing system management activities cut across both support and core activities.

Staffing strategy is both an outgrowth of and a contributor to HR and organization strategy. Thirteen important strategic staffing decisions loom for any organization. Some pertain to staffing level choices, and others deal with staffing quality choices.

Staffing ethics involves determining moral principles and guidelines for practice. Numerous suggestions were made for ethical conduct in staffing, and many pressure points for sidestepping such conduct are in operation. Appropriate ways of handling such pressures will be discussed in the remainder of the book.

The staffing organizations model serves as the structural framework for the book. The first part treats staffing models and strategy. The second part


page 38 treats the support activities of legal compliance, planning, and job analysis. The next three parts treat the core staffing activities of recruitment, selection, and employment. The last section addresses staffing systems and employee retention management. Each chapter has a section labeled “Legal Issues,” as well as discussion questions, ethical issues questions, applications, and endnotes.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What are potential problems with having a staffing process in which

vacancies are filled (1) on a lottery basis from among job applicants, or (2) on a first come–first hired basis among job applicants?

2. Why is it important for the organization to view all components of staffing (recruitment, selection, and employment) from the perspective of the job applicant?

3. Would it be desirable to hire people only according to the person/organization match, ignoring the person/job match?

4. What are examples of how staffing activities are influenced by training activities? Compensation activities?

5. Are some of the 13 strategic staffing decisions more important than others? If so, which ones? Why?

ETHICAL ISSUES 1. Assume that you are either the staffing professional in the department

or the hiring manager of a work unit. Explain why it is so important to represent the organization’s interests (see Exhibit 1.8). What are some possible consequences of not doing so?

2. One of the strategic staffing choices is whether to pursue workforce diversity actively or passively. First suggest some ethical reasons for active pursuit of diversity, and then suggest some ethical reasons for a more passive approach. Assume that the type of diversity in question is increasing workforce representation of women and ethnic minorities.


Staffing for Your Own Job

Instructions Consider a job you previously held or your current job. Use the staffing components model to help you think through and describe the staffing


page 39process that led to your getting hired for the job. Trace and describe the process (1) from your own perspective as a job applicant and (2) from the organization’s perspective. Listed below are some questions to jog your memory. Write your responses to these questions and be prepared to discuss them.

Applicant Perspective Recruitment:

1. Why did you identify and seek out the job with this organization? 2. How did you try to make yourself attractive to the organization?


1. How did you gather information about the job’s requirements and rewards?

2. How did you judge your own KSAOs and needs relative to the requirements and rewards?


1. Why did you decide to continue on in the staffing process, rather than drop out of it?

2. Why did you decide to accept the job offer? What were the pluses and minuses of the job?

Organization Perspective Even if you are unsure of the answers to the following questions, try to answer them or guess at them.


1. How did the organization identify you as a job applicant? 2. How did the organization make the job attractive to you?


1. What techniques (application blank, interview, etc.) did the organization use to gather KSAO information about you?

2. How did the organization evaluate this information? What did it see as your strong and weak points, KSAO-wise?


1. Why did the organization continue to pursue you as an applicant, rather than reject you from further consideration?


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2. What was the job offer process like? Did you receive a verbal or written offer (or both)? Who made the offer? What was the content of the offer?

Reactions to the Staffing Process Now that you have described the staffing process, what are your reactions to it?

1. What were the strong points or positive features of the process? 2. What were the weak points or negative features of the process? 3. What changes would you like to see made in the process, and why?

Staffing Strategy for a New Plant Household Consumer Enterprises, Inc. (HCE) specializes in the design and production of household products such as brooms, brushes, rakes, kitchen utensils, and garden tools. It has its corporate headquarters in downtown Chicago, with manufacturing and warehouse/distribution facilities throughout the north-central region of the United States. The organization recently changed its mission from “providing households with safe and sturdy utensils” to “providing households with visually appealing utensils that are safe and sturdy.” The new emphasis on “visually appealing” will necessitate new strategies for designing and producing products that have design flair and imagination built into them. One strategy under consideration is to target various demographic groups with different utensil designs. One group is 25- to 40-year-old professional and managerial people, who are believed to want such utensils for both their visual and conversation-piece appeal.

A tentative strategy is to build and staff a new plant that will have free rein in the design and production of utensils for the 25–40 age group. To start, the plant will focus on producing a set of closely related (design-wise) plastic products: dishwashing pans, outdoor wastebaskets, outdoor plant holders, and watering cans. These items can be produced without too large a capital and facilities investment, can be marketed as a group, and can be on stores’ shelves and on HCE’s store website in time for Christmas sales.

The facility’s design and engineering team has decided that each of the four products will be produced on a separate assembly line, though the lines will share common technology and require roughly similar assembly jobs. Following the advice from the HR vice president, Jarimir Zwitski, the key jobs in the plant for staffing purposes will be plant manager, product designer (computer-assisted design), assemblers, and packers/warehouse workers. The initial staffing level for the plant will be 150 employees. Because of the riskiness of the venture and the low initial margins that are


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planned on the four products due to high start-up costs, the plant will run continuously six days per week (i.e., a 24/6 schedule), with the remaining day reserved for cleaning and maintenance. Pay levels will be at the low end of the market, except for product designers, who will be paid above market. Employees will have limited benefits, namely, health insurance with a 30% employee copay after one year of continuous employment and an earned time-off bank (for holidays, sickness, and vacation) of 160 hours per year. They will not receive a pension plan.

The head of the design team, Maria Dos Santos, and Mr. Zwitski wish to come to you, the corporate manager of staffing, to share their preliminary thinking and ask you some questions, knowing that staffing issues abound for this new venture. They ask you to discuss the following questions with them, which they have sent to you in advance so you can prepare for the meeting:

1. What geographic location might be best for the plant in terms of attracting sufficient quantity and quality of labor, especially for the key jobs?

2. Should the plant manager come from inside the current managerial ranks or be sought from the outside?

3. Should staffing be based on just the person/job match or also on the person/organization match?

4. Would it make sense to initially staff the plant with a flexible workforce by using temporary employees and then shift over to a core workforce if it looks like the plant will be successful?

5. In the early stages, should the plant be fully staffed, understaffed, or overstaffed?

6. Will employee retention likely be a problem, and if so, how will this affect the viability of the new plant?

Your task is to write out a tentative response to each question that will be the basis for your discussion at the meeting.

ENDNOTES   1. “2014 County Business Patterns,” United States Census Bureau

(, accessed Nov. 4, 2016.

  2. J. Stuart, Jr., “Employment Continued to Expand in 2015,” Monthly Labor Review, Apr. 2016, pp. 1–12.

  3. Saratoga Institute, The Saratoga Review (Santa Clara, CA: author, 2009), p. 10.   4. R. R. Kehoe and P. M. Wright, “The Impact of High-Performance Human

Resource Practices on Employees’ Attitudes and Behaviors,” Journal of


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Management, 2013, 39, pp. 366–391.   5. W. F. Cascio and R. Montealegre, “How Technology Is Changing Work and

Organizations,” Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2016, 3, pp. 349–375; D. L. Stone, D. L. Deadrick, K. M. Lukaszewski, and R. Johnson, “The Influence of Technology on the Future of Human Resource Management,” Human Resource Management Review, 2015, 25(2), pp. 216–231; and N. T. Tippins, “Technology and Assessment in Selection,” Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2015, 2, pp. 551–582.

  6. T. Chamorro-Premuzic, D. Winsborough, R. A. Sherman, and R. Hogan, “New Talent Signals: Shiny New Objects or a Brave New World?” Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2016, 9(3), pp. 621–640; and B. B. Clark, C. Robert, and S. A. Hampton, “The Technology Effect: How Perceptions of Technology Drive Excessive Optimism,” Journal of Business Psychology, 2016, 31(1), pp. 87–102.

  7. A. M. Ryan and E. Derous, “Highlighting Tensions in Recruitment and Selection Research and Practice,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2016, 24(1), pp. 54–62.

  8. J. B. Barney and P. M. Wright, “On Becoming a Strategic Partner: The Role of Human Resources in Gaining Competitive Advantage,” Human Resource Management, 1998, 37(1), pp. 31–46; C. G. Brush, P. G. Greene, and M. M. Hart, “From Initial Idea to Unique Advantage: The Entrepreneurial Challenge of Constructing a Resource Base,” Academy of Management Executive, 2001, 15(1), pp. 64–80.

  9. K. Dill, “The Companies Hiring the Most Right Now,” Forbes, Apr. 16, 2015 ( right-now-2/#4d3e909730ff), accessed Nov. 7, 2016.

10. D. Roberts, “At W. L. Gore, 57 Years of Authentic Culture,” Fortune (Leadership: 100 Best Companies to Work for), Mar. 5, 2015, (, accessed Nov. 7, 2016; G. Hamel, “Five Ways to Evolve Management,” Dividend, Spring 2011, p. 6.

11. “Mike’s Story,” W. L. Gore & Associates (; “Hajo’s Story,” W. L. Gore & Associates (; “Our Culture,” W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., 2010 (

12. J. Marquez, “A Talent Strategy Overhaul at Pfizer,” Workforce Management, Feb. 12, 2007, pp. 1, 3.

13. A. Fisher, “Graduating This Spring? How to Stand Out From the Crowd,” Fortune, Mar. 1, 2013 ( how-to-stand-out-from-the-crowd/), accessed Aug. 28, 2013; S. Pathak, “Frat Boys Get an MBA Without the IOU at Enterprise,” Sales Job Watch, Mar. 3, 2011 (, accessed Aug. 28, 2013.

14. D. F. Caldwell and C. A. O’Reilly III, “Measuring Person-Job Fit With a Profile- Comparison Process,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1990, 75, pp. 648–657; R. V. Dawis, “Person-Environment Fit and Job Satisfaction,” in C. J. Cranny, P. C. Smith, and E. F. Stone (eds.), Job Satisfaction (New York: Lexington, 1992), pp. 69–88; R. V. Dawis, L. H. Lofquist, and D. J. Weiss, A Theory of Work Adjustment (A Revision) (Minneapolis: Industrial Relations Center, University of Minnesota, 1968).


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15. J. A. Schmidt, D. S. Chapman, and D. A. Jones, “Does Emphasizing Different Types of Person-Environment Fit in Online Job Ads Influence Application Behavior and Applicant Quality? Evidence From a Field Experiment,” Journal of Business Psychology, 2015, 30, pp. 267–282.

16. T. A. Judge and R. D. Bretz, Jr., “Effects of Work Values on Job Choice Decisions,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1992, 77, pp. 1–11; C. A. O’Reilly III, J. Chatman, and D. F. Caldwell, “People and Organizational Culture: A Profile Comparison Approach to Assessing Person-Organization Fit,” Academy of Management Journal, 1991, 34, pp. 487–516; A. L. Kristof, “Person- Organization Fit: An Integrative Review of Its Conceptualizations, Measurement, and Implications,” Personnel Psychology, 1996, 49, pp. 1–50; A. K. Brown and J. Billsberry, Fit: Key Issues and New Directions (Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, 2013).

17. H. Deng, C.-H. Wu, K. Leung, and Y. Guan, “Depletion From Self-Regulation: A Resource-Based Account of the Effect of Value Incongruence,” Personnel Psychology, 2016, 69, pp. 431–465.

18. L. L. Levesque, “Opportunistic Hiring and Employee Fit,” Human Resource Management, 2005, 44, pp. 301–317.

19. S. Craig, “Inside Goldman’s Secret Rite: The Race to Become Partner,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 13, 2006, pp. A1, A11; J. La Roche, “A Tiny Group of Goldman Sachs Employees Are About to Get the Phone Call of a Lifetime,” Business Insider (Finance), Nov. 11, 2014 ( a-partner-at-goldman-sachs-2014-11), accessed Nov. 7, 2016.

20. “100 Best Companies to Work For,” Fortune, 2012 (, accessed Aug. 28, 2013.

21. ManpowerGroup, 2016/2017 Talent Shortage Survey ( Global-Talent-Shortage-Infographic.pdf), accessed Nov. 7, 2016.

22. B. Leonard, “Economic Climate Provides Chance to Refine Recruiting Practices,” Staffing Management, July 14, 2009 (

23. S. Wisnefski, “Truckers’ Worries: Fuel, Driver Short-fall,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 25, 2006, p. B3A.

24. K. R. Lewis, “Recession Aside, Are We Headed for a Labor Shortage?” The Fiscal Times, Aug. 26, 2010 (; K. Gurchiek, “Few Organizations Planning for Talent Shortage as Boomers Retire,” SHRM News, Nov. 17, 2010 (; M. Toossi, “Labor Force Projections to 2024: The Labor Force Is Growing, but Slowly,” Monthly Labor Review, Dec. 2015 (, accessed Nov. 7, 2016.

25. C. Bowers, “Skilled Labor Shortage Frustrates Employers,” CBS Evening News, Aug. 11, 2010 ( tag=mncol;lst;1).

26. Society for Human Resource Management, Introduction to the Human Resource Discipline of Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Feb. 17, 2016 ( samples/toolkits/pages/introfethicsandsustainability.aspx), accessed Nov. 7, 2016.

27. A. Ardichvili and D. Jondle, “Ethical Business Cultures: A Literature Review and Implications for HRD,” Human Resource Development Review, 2009, 8(2), pp.


223–244. 28. Society for Human Resource Management, The Ethics Landscape in American

Business: Sustaining a Strong Ethical Work Environment, June 2008 ( surveys/Documents/08%20Ethics_Landscape_in_American_Business%20FINAL.pdf), accessed Nov. 7, 2016.

29. Society for Human Resource Management, The Ethics Landscape in American Business: Sustaining a Strong Ethical Work Environment, p. 34.


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The Staffing Organizations Model


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Support Activities

CHAPTER TWO Legal Compliance


CHAPTER FOUR Job Analysis and Rewards


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Legal Compliance

Learning Objectives and Introduction Learning Objectives Introduction

The Employment Relationship Employer–Employee Independent Contractors Temporary Employees Unpaid Interns and Trainees

Laws and Regulations Need for Laws and Regulations Sources of Laws and Regulations

EEO/AA Laws: General Provisions and Enforcement General Provisions Enforcement: EEOC Enforcement: OFCCP

EEO/AA Laws: Specific Staffing Provisions Civil Rights Acts (1964, 1978, 1991) Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967) Americans With Disabilities Act (1990, 2008) Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (2008) Rehabilitation Act (1973) Executive Order 11246 (1965, 1967, 2014)

Other Staffing Laws Federal Laws State and Local Laws Civil Service Laws and Regulations


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page 49

Legal Issues in Remainder of Book


Discussion Questions

Ethical Issues

Applications Age Discrimination in a Promotion? Disparate Impact: What Do the Statistics Mean?



Learning Objectives

Contrast legal differences among employees, independent contractors, temporary employees, and unpaid trainees and interns Appreciate why staffing laws are necessary, and their sources Review six major federal equal employment opportunity and affirmative action laws Distinguish between disparate treatment and disparate impact approaches to enforcement Examine specific staffing provisions of the six major laws Look at other important staffing laws and regulations Gain an overview of legal issues covered in Chapters 3–14

Introduction When the organization selects people to do work for it, a legal employment relationship is established. The selected people may be employees, independent contractors, or temporary employees. Laws are needed to define how the employer may utilize each type of worker, as well as the rights of each type. In addition, laws have been developed to create fairness and nondiscrimination in staffing. The laws and accompanying regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of many protected characteristics, such as race, sex, and disability. Actions based on these characteristics must be removed from staffing practices and decisions. Instead, employers must focus on job-related knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics


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(KSAOs) as the bases for those practices and decisions. Employers that ignore or sidestep these laws and regulations could potentially face stiff penalties.

This chapter begins by discussing the formation of the employment relationship from a legal perspective. It first defines what an employer is, along with the rights and obligations of being an employer. The employer may acquire people to work for it in the form of employees, independent contractors, and temporary employees. Unpaid trainees and interns represent a special case. Legal meanings and implications for each of these terms are provided.

The employment relationship has become increasingly regulated, and reasons for the myriad laws and regulations affecting the employment relationship are suggested. Next, the major sources of the laws and regulations controlling the employment relationship are indicated.

Equal employment opportunity and affirmative action (EEO/AA) laws and regulations have become paramount in the eyes of many who are concerned with staffing organizations. The general provisions of six major EEO/AA laws are summarized, along with indications of how these laws are administered and enforced. While voluntary compliance is preferred by the enforcement agencies, if it fails, litigation may follow. Litigation is based on the key concepts of disparate treatment and disparate impact.

For these same six laws, their specific (and numerous) provisions regarding staffing are then presented in detail. Within this presentation the true scope, complexity, and impact of the laws regarding staffing become known.

Attention then turns to other staffing laws and regulations. These include myriad federal laws, state and local laws, and civil service laws and regulations. These laws, like federal EEO/AA laws, have major impacts on staffing activities.

Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the “Legal Issues” section that appears at the end of each of the remaining chapters. In these sections, specific topics and applications of the law are presented. Their intent is to provide guidance and examples (not legal advice, per se) regarding staffing practices that are permissible, impermissible, and required.

THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP From a legal perspective, the term “staffing” refers to formation of the employment relationship. That relationship involves several types of arrangements between the organization and those who provide work for it.


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These arrangements have special and reasonably separate legal meanings. This section explores those arrangements: employer–employee, independent contractor, temporary employee, and unpaid interns and trainees.1

Employer–Employee By far the most prevalent form of the employment relationship is that of employer–employee. This arrangement is the result of the organization’s usual staffing activities—a culmination of the person/job matching process. As shown in Exhibit 2.1, the employer and the employee negotiate and agree on the terms and conditions that will define and govern their relationship. The formal agreement represents an employment contract, the terms and conditions of which represent the promises and expectations of the parties (job requirements and rewards, and KSAOs and motivation). Over time, the initial contract may be modified due to changes in requirements or rewards of the current job, or employee transfer or promotion. Either party may terminate the contract, thus ending the employment relationship.

Employment contracts come in a variety of forms. They may be written or oral (both types are legally enforceable), and their specificity varies from extensive to bare bones. In some cases involving written contracts, terms and conditions are described in great detail. Examples of such contracts are collective bargaining agreements and contracts for professional athletes, entertainers, and upper-level executives. At the other extreme, the contract may be little more than some simple oral promises about the job, such as certain wages and hours, agreed to with a handshake.

EXHIBIT 2.1 Matching Process, Employment Contract, and Employment Relationship


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When and how the employment relationship ends is very important. For the employer, staffing flexibility makes it possible to quickly terminate employees without constraint. For the employee, the degree of continued employment and job security that will be expected is an important aspect of the employment relationship. Under the common-law principle of employment-at-will and in the absence of any contract language to the contrary, the employment relationship is strictly an at-will one, meaning that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, without prior notification. Restrictions on the employment-at-will right are usually established as part of the employment contract (such as termination for “just cause” only). Other restrictions come from federal, state, and local laws (such as nondiscrimination in termination).2

From a legal perspective, an employer is an entity that employs others to work on its behalf. Those employed are classified as either employees or independent contractors. For those classified as employees, the employer has a right to control what will be done and how it will be done. The right to control independent contractors, especially how their work is done, is much weaker. More about this distinction follows.

With employees the employer must (1) withhold payroll taxes (income, Social Security); (2) pay required taxes (unemployment and workers’ compensation, Social Security, and Medicare); (3) adhere to minimum wage and overtime pay requirements; (4) conform to equal


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employment opportunity laws and regulations; and (5) assume liability for harmful acts of its employees while working.

With independent contractors the employer does not have the above requirements. This creates an incentive to classify persons as independent contractors rather than employees. But there are legal constraints on how persons are classified, and misclassification of persons as independent contractors can lead to costly penalties. For example, Federal Express reached a $228 million settlement for misclassifying 2,300 of its truck drivers as independent contractors. While the drivers owned their trucks (suggesting they were independent contractors), they were required to follow many policies and rules in an operating agreement with FedEx that detailed such things as delivery times and schedules, paperwork, customer service and safe driving standards, and personal appearance standards (suggesting they were employees). The court concluded that FedEx had sufficient right to control the drivers that they were indeed employees. This is not an isolated case. In a four-year period, the US Department of Labor (DOL) assessed $1.1 billion in penalties to employers for misclassifying employees as independent contractors.3

So, what is the dividing line between employees and independent contractors? There is no single, bright-line test. Instead, there are two similar legal approaches, both using multiple criteria to guide the employer’s classification judgment.4

The first approach, used by the Internal Revenue Service, emphasizes the degree of employer control and worker independence. Eleven criteria, falling into three categories (behavioral, financial, and type of relationship), are used to determine the proper classification. As an example, a person is more likely to be an independent contractor in the following situations:

Working in a distinct occupation or business Working without supervision or oversight from the employer Paying one’s own business and travel expenses Setting one’s own work hours Possessing a high degree of skill Using one’s own tools, materials, and office Working on a project with a definite completion date Working on relatively short projects Being paid by the project or commission rather than by the time spent

The other approach, used by the DOL, is based on the economic realities test. It determines whether a person is economically dependent on the business (i.e., an employee) or is in business for himself or herself (i.e., an independent contractor). Under these six criteria, a person is more likely to be an independent contractor when:


The work performed is not integral to the employer’s business The person has and uses managerial skills that affect the opportunity for profit or loss The person makes investments that support a business The person has special skills and initiative to operate an independent business There is not a permanent relationship with the employer The person controls meaningful aspects of the work performed

The DOL indicated all of these criteria should be considered together as a whole when making classification judgments. It also concluded that under these six criteria most persons are employees rather than independent contractors.

Independent Contractors As part of its staffing plan, the employer may hire independent contractors.5 An independent contractor is not legally considered an employee, however. Therefore, the rights and responsibilities the employer has toward the independent contractor are different from those for its employees. Classifying and using a person as an independent contractor frees the employer of the tax withholding, tax payment, and benefits obligations it has for employees. It may also reduce employer exposure under laws and regulations governing the employment relationship, such as nondiscrimination (e.g., Civil Rights Act) and wage and hour laws.

There is an increasing desire for the staffing and labor cost advantages of using independent contractors, coupled with more people wishing to be solo workers unattached to a single employer. Terms such as “on-demand workers,” “project-based freelancers,” “gig workers,” and “solotrepreneurs” capture this new independent contractor wave.

Yet, given the classification issues discussed above, the organization must be diligent in classifying people correctly as employees or independent contractors. As shown above, misclassification of people as independent contractors can be costly. On top of that, to undo the misclassifications the organization will have to develop new staffing plans, policies, and practices for replacing these independent contractors with employees.

How should the organization approach its use of independent contractors in ways that will protect their classification as such? Several suggestions can be made.

First, review all current or planned classifications against the criteria discussed above. Ensure the classifications are within legal bounds. Second, develop very specific contractor agreements that address these criteria. Indicate, for example, that the contractor will be working on a specific


page 54project for a flat fee, and that the contractor will furnish his or her own tools and equipment. Third, do not overly supervise or otherwise try to manage the independent contractor. Finally, treat the contractor as such, rather than as an employee. Do not provide job descriptions or training, computers or other digital devices, work materials, phones, or any employee benefits.6

Temporary Employees Temporary employees do not have special legal stature. They are considered employees of the temporary help agency (staffing firm) that obtained them through its own staffing process. Temporary employees are given job assignments with other employers (clients) by the staffing firm. During these assignments, the temporary employee remains on the payroll of the staffing firm, and the client employer simply reimburses the staffing firm for its wage and other costs. The client employer has a severely limited right to control temporary employees that it utilizes because they are not its employees but employees of the staffing firm.

Use of temporary employees often raises issues of joint employment, in which the client employer and the staffing firm share the traditional role of employer.7 Because both function as employers to an extent, their obligations and liabilities under various laws need to be sorted out. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides guidance on coverage and responsibility requirements for staffing firms and their client organizations.8 When both the firm and the client exercise control over the temporary employee and both have the requisite number of employees, they are considered employers and jointly liable under the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The firm must make referrals and job assignments in a nondiscriminating manner, and the client may not set discriminatory job referral and job assignment criteria. The client must treat the temporary employees in a nondiscriminatory manner; if the firm knows this is not happening, it must take any corrective actions within its control. There are substantial penalties for noncompliance. There is also special guidance for issues related to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

The demarcation between an employee and a temporary employee becomes increasingly blurred when an employer uses a set of temporary employees from a staffing firm on a long-term basis, resulting in so-called permatemps. Nationally, 29% of such employees work for the same client employer for a year or more, so they appear more like employees of the client than of the staffing firm. Which are they? Court cases suggest that these individuals are in fact employees of the client employer rather than of


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the staffing firm, particularly because of the strong degree of control the client employer typically exercises over those people. Hence, to help ensure that permatemps will not be legally considered the client’s employees, the client must give up, or never exercise, direct control over these people and treat them as truly separate from regular employees. This may require, for example, not training or supervising them, not listing them in the phone directory, and not allowing them to use the organization’s stationery. In practice, this is difficult to do.9

Unpaid Interns and Trainees The organization cannot simply say that a person is not an employee but rather an unpaid intern or trainee. In fact, a person must meet six requirements in order to be classified as an unpaid intern or trainee; otherwise the person is an employee. The requirements are that (1) the training must be similar to that given in school, (2) the training experience is to benefit the intern, (3) the trainee does not displace another person and works under close supervision of the employer’s staff, (4) the employer does not gain an immediate advantage from the trainee’s activities, and on occasion operations may be hampered, (5) the trainee is not entitled to a job at the end of training, and (6) the employer and the trainee must understand that the trainee is not entitled to any pay for time spent.10

LAWS AND REGULATIONS Establishing and maintaining the employment relationship involve exercising discretion by both the employer and the employee. Employment laws affecting that relationship spring from a need to define the scope of permissible discretion and place limits on it. The need for laws and regulations and the sources of them are explored below.

Need for Laws and Regulations

Balance of Power Employment relationships involve negotiating issues of power. The employer has something desirable to offer the employee (e.g., a job with certain requirements and rewards), and the employee has something to offer the employer (e.g., KSAOs and motivation). The employer usually has the upper hand in employment relationships since it controls the creation of jobs, the definition of jobs in terms of requirements and rewards, access to jobs via staffing systems, the movement of employees among jobs, and the retention or termination of employees. While employees participate in these


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processes and decisions, it is seldom as an equal or a partner of the employer. Employment laws and regulations exist, in part, to reduce or limit such employer power in the employment relationship.

Protection of Employees Laws and regulations seek to provide specific protections to employees that they are unlikely to get for themselves in an employment contract. These protections pertain to employment standards, individual workplace rights, and consistency of treatment. Employment standards represent the minimum acceptable terms and conditions of employment. Examples include minimum wage, nondiscrimination, and overtime pay, as well as safety and health standards. Individual rights examples include organizing and collective bargaining, privacy protections, and constraints on unilateral termination. Finally, laws and regulations, in effect, guarantee consistency of treatment among employees. Hiring and promotion decisions, for example, cannot be made on the basis of protected employee characteristics (e.g., race, sex).

Protection of Employers Employers also gain protections from laws and regulations. First, they provide guidance to employers as to what are permissible practices and what are impermissible practices. The Civil Rights Act, for example, not only forbids certain types of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin but also specifically mentions employment practices that are permitted. One of those practices is the use of professionally developed ability tests, a practice that has major implications for external and internal selection. Second, questions about the meaning of the law are clarified through many avenues—court decisions, policy statements from government agencies, informal guidance from enforcement officials, and networking with other employers. The result is increasing convergence on what is required for compliance with the laws. This allows the employer to implement needed changes, which then become standard operating procedure in staffing systems. In this manner, for example, affirmative action programs (AAPs) have been developed and incorporated into the staffing mainstream for many employers.

Sources of Laws and Regulations Numerous sources of laws and regulations govern the employment relationship. Exhibit 2.2 provides examples of these as they pertain to staffing. Each of these is commented on next.


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Common Law Common law, which has its origins in England, is court-made law, as opposed to law from other sources, such as the state. It consists of the case- by-case decisions of the court, which determine over time permissible and impermissible practices, as well as their remedies. There is a heavy reliance on common law in the precedents established in previous court decisions. Each state develops and administers its own common law. Employment-at- will and workplace tort cases, for example, are treated at the state level. As noted, employment-at-will involves the rights of the employer and the employee to terminate the employment relationship at will. A tort is a civil wrong that occurs when the employer violates a duty owed to its employees or customers that leads to harm or damages suffered by them. Staffing tort examples include negligent hiring of unsafe or dangerous employees, fraud and misrepresentation regarding employment terms and conditions, defamation of former employees, and invasion of privacy.

EXHIBIT 2.2 Sources of Laws and Regulations

Source Examples

Common law Employment-at-will Workplace torts

Constitutional law Fifth Amendment Fourteenth Amendment

Statutory law Civil Rights Act Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Age Discrimination in Employment Act Americans With Disabilities Act Rehabilitation Act Immigration Reform and Control Act Fair Credit Reporting Act Employee Polygraph Protection Act Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act State and local laws Civil service laws

Executive order Agencies

11246 (nondiscrimination under federal contracts) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)


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Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Department of Homeland Security State fair employment practice (FEP) agencies

Constitutional Law Constitutional law is derived from the US Constitution and its amendments. It supersedes any other source of law or regulation. Its major application is in the area of public employee rights, particularly their due process rights.

Statutory Law Statutory law is derived from written statutes passed by legislative bodies. These bodies are federal (Congress), state (legislatures and assemblies), and local (municipal boards and councils). Legislative bodies may create, amend, and eliminate laws and regulations. They may also create agencies to administer and enforce the law.

Agencies Agencies exist at the federal, state, and local levels. Their basic charge is to interpret, administer, and enforce the law. At the federal level, the two major agencies of concern to staffing are the DOL and the EEOC. Housed within the DOL are several separate units for administration of employment law, most notably the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The Department of Homeland Security handles issues regarding foreign workers and immigration in its agency, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Agencies rely heavily on written documents in performing their functions. These documents are variously referred to as rules, regulations, guidelines, and policy statements. Rules, regulations, and guidelines are published in the Federal Register, as well as incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and they have the weight of law. Policy statements are somewhat more benign in that they do not have the force of law. They do, however, represent the agency’s official position on a point or question.



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In this section, the major federal EEO/AA laws are summarized in terms of their general provisions. Mechanisms for enforcement of the laws are also discussed. More details may be found online.

General Provisions The major federal EEO/AA laws are the following:

1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts (1964, 1978, 1991) 2. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967) 3. Americans With Disabilities Act (1990, 2008) 4. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (2008) 5. Rehabilitation Act (1973) 6. Executive Order 11246 (1965, 1967, 2014)

Exhibit 2.3 contains a summary of the basic provisions of these laws pertaining to coverage, prohibited discrimination, and enforcement agency. These laws are appropriately labeled “major” for several reasons. First, the laws are very broad in their coverage of employers. Second, they specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of several individual characteristics (race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, pregnancy, genetic information, disability, and handicap). Guidance on the meanings of these characteristics, given by the EEOC, is shown in Exhibit 2.4. Note the generally expansive definitions of the characteristics. Third, separate agencies have been created for administration and enforcement of these laws. Finally, these agencies have issued numerous rules, regulations, and guidelines to assist in interpreting, implementing, and enforcing the law. The specifics of these regulations will be discussed in subsequent chapters.

EXHIBIT 2.3 Major Federal EEO/AA Laws: General Provisions


page 61Exhibit 2.3 shows that for some laws, the number of employees in the organization determines whether the organization is covered. To count employees, the EEOC has issued guidance indicating that the organization should include any employee with whom the organization had an employment relationship in each of 20 or more calendar


weeks during the current or preceding year. In essence, this means that full- time and part-time employees—and possibly temporary employees if there is true coemployment—should be included in the employee count.11

Individuals who oppose unlawful practices, participate in proceedings, or request accommodations are protected from retaliation under the laws shown in Exhibit 2.3. The term “retaliation” is broadly interpreted by the courts and the EEOC to include refusal to hire, denial of promotion, termination, other actions affecting employment (e.g., threats, unjustified negative evaluations), and actions that deter reasonable people from pursuing their rights (e.g., assault, unfounded civil or criminal charges). The EEOC has issued specific guidance on what constitutes evidence of retaliation, as well as special remedies for retaliatory actions by the employer.12

Three other general features of the EEO laws, as interpreted by the EEOC and the courts, should be noted. First, state (but not local) government employers are immune from lawsuits by employees who allege violation of the ADA or the ADEA. State employees must thus pursue disability and age discrimination claims under applicable state laws. Second, organization officials and individual managers cannot be held personally liable for discrimination under the Civil Rights Act, the ADA, or the ADEA. They might be liable, however, under state law. Third, the ADA, the Civil Rights Act, and the ADEA extend to US citizens employed overseas by American employers. Also, a foreign company that is owned or controlled by an American employer and is doing business overseas generally must also comply with the Civil Rights Act, the ADA, and the ADEA.

An overview of the broad, sweeping nature of the specific employment practices affected by the federal EEO/AA laws is shown in Exhibit 2.5.

Enforcement: EEOC As shown in Exhibit 2.3, the EEOC is responsible for enforcing the Civil Rights Act, the ADEA, and the ADA. Though each law requires separate enforcement mechanisms, some generalizations about their collective enforcement are possible.13

Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact Claims of discrimination in staffing ultimately require evidence and proof, particularly as these charges pertain to the staffing system itself and its specific characteristics as it has operated in practice. Toward this end, there are two avenues or paths to follow—disparate treatment and disparate impact.14 Both paths may be followed for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, ADA, and ADEA claims.


page 62EXHIBIT 2.4 EEOC Protected Classes and Their Definitions

(I) Race/Color • Of a certain race • Of personal characteristics associated with a race (e.g., facial

features) • Of skin color complexion • Of marriage/association with person of particular race/color • Of connection with an organization associated with people of


(II) National Origin • Of a particular country or part of the world • Of ethnicity or accent • Of a certain background • Of marriage/association with person of particular national origin • Of connection with an ethnic organization or group

(III) Sex • Of the person’s sex, which includes gender identity, transgender

status, and sexual orientation • Of connection with an organization or group of a certain sex

(IV) Religion • Of religious beliefs in a traditional, organized religion • Of sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs • Of marriage/association with a person of a particular religion • Of connection with a religious organization

(V) Disability • A qualified person with a disability • Has a history of a disability • Believed to have a physical or mental impairment • Of a relationship with a person with a disability

(VI) Age • Of the person’s age, if age 40 or older

(VII) Pregnancy • Of her pregnancy, childbirth, or medical condition related to

pregnancy or childbirth

(VIII) Genetic Information • Of information about an individual’s genetic tests and genetic

tests of family members, as well as family medical history


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• Of request or receipt of genetic services, including reproduction

SOURCE: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2016.

EXHIBIT 2.5 Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices Under Federal Law

Under the laws enforced by the EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The law forbids discrimination in every aspect of employment. The laws enforced by the EEOC prohibit an employer or other

covered entity from using neutral employment policies and practices that have a disproportionately negative effect on applicants or employees of a particular race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or national origin, or on an individual with a disability or class of individuals with disabilities, if the policies or practices at issue are not job related and necessary to the operation of the business. The laws enforced by the EEOC also prohibit an employer from using neutral employment policies and practices that have a disproportionately negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older, if the policies or practices at issue are not based on a reasonable factor other than age.

Covered practices: • Job advertisements, recruitment, and job referrals • Application and hiring • Job assignments and promotion • Employment references • Pre-employment inquiries • Discipline and discharge • Pay and benefits • Reasonable accommodation and disability, religion • Training and apprenticeship programs • Harassment • Terms and conditions of employment, dress code • Constructive discharge/forced to resign


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SOURCE: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2010.

Disparate Treatment. Claims of disparate treatment involve allegations of intentional discrimination in which the employer knowingly and deliberately discriminated against people on the basis of specific characteristics such as race or sex. Evidence for such claims may be of several sorts.

First, the evidence may be direct. It might, for example, refer to an explicit written policy of the organization, such as one stating that “women are not to be hired for the following jobs.”

Second, the situation may not involve such blatant action but may consist of what is referred to as a mixed motive. Here, both a prohibited characteristic (e.g., race) and a legitimate reason (e.g., job qualifications) are mixed together to contribute to a negative decision about a person, such as a failure to hire or promote. If an unlawful motive such as race plays any part in the decision, it is illegal, despite the presence of a lawful motive as well.

Finally, the discrimination may be such that evidence of a failure to hire or promote because of a protected characteristic must be inferred from several situational factors. Here, the evidence involves four factors:

1. The person belongs to a protected class. 2. The person applied for, and was qualified for, a job the employer was

trying to fill. 3. The person was rejected despite being qualified. 4. The position remained open and the employer continued to seek

applicants as qualified as the person rejected.

Most disparate treatment cases involve and require the use of these four factors to initially prove a charge of discrimination.

Disparate Impact. Disparate impact, also known as adverse impact, focuses on the effect of employment practices, rather than on the motive or intent underlying them. Accordingly, the emphasis here is on the need for direct evidence that, as a result of a protected characteristic, people are being adversely affected by a practice. Statistical evidence must be presented to support a claim of adverse impact.15 Three types of statistical evidence may be used, and these are shown in Exhibit 2.6. Refer to “Legal Issues” in Chapters 3 and 7 for elaboration.

The first type of evidence shown in the exhibit is applicant flow statistics, which look at differences in selection rates (proportion of applicants hired)


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among different groups for a particular job. If the differences are large enough, this suggests that the effect of the selection system is discriminatory. In the example, the selection rate for men is .50 (or 50%) and for women it is .11 (or 11%), suggesting the possibility of discrimination.

A second type of statistical evidence involves the use of stock statistics. Here, the percentage of women or minorities actually employed in a job category is compared with their availability in the relevant population. Relevant is defined in terms of such things as “qualified,” “interested,” or “geographic.” The example shows a disparity in the percentage of minorities employed (10%) compared with their availability (30%), which suggests their underutilization.

The third type of evidence involves the use of concentration statistics. Here, the percentages of women or minorities in various job categories are compared to see if they are concentrated in certain workforce categories. In the example shown, women are concentrated in clerical jobs (97%), men are concentrated in production (85%) and managerial (95%) jobs, and men and women are roughly equally concentrated in sales jobs (45% and 55%, respectively).

EXHIBIT 2.6 Types of Disparate Impact Statistics


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Initial Charge and Conciliation Enforcement proceedings begin when an employee or job applicant files a charge (the EEOC itself may also file a charge). In states where there is an EEOC-approved fair enforcement practice (FEP) law, the charge is initially deferred to the state. The charge is investigated to determine whether there is reasonable cause to assume discrimination has occurred. If reasonable cause is not found, the charge is dropped. If reasonable cause is found, the EEOC attempts conciliation of the charge. Conciliation is a voluntary settlement process that seeks agreement by the employer to stop the practice(s) in question and abide by proposed remedies. This is the EEOC’s preferred method of settlement. Whenever the EEOC decides not to pursue a claim further, it will issue a “right to sue” letter to the complaining party, allowing a private suit to be started against the employer.

Complementing conciliation is the use of mediation. With mediation, a neutral third party mediates the dispute between the employer and the EEOC and obtains an agreement between them that resolves the dispute. Participation in mediation is voluntary, and either party may opt out of it for any reason. Mediation proceedings are confidential.


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Any agreement reached between the parties is legally enforceable. More than 70% of complaints that go to mediation are resolved, and 96% of employers that use the EEOC mediation program say they would do so again.16 In short, the EEOC prefers settlement to litigation.

Litigation and Remedies Should conciliation fail, suit is filed in federal court. The ensuing litigation process under Title VII is shown in Exhibit 2.7. As can be seen, the charge of the plaintiff (charging party) will follow either a disparate treatment or a disparate impact route.17 In either event, the plaintiff has the initial burden of proof. Such a burden requires the plaintiff to establish a prima facie case that demonstrates reasonable cause to assume discrimination has occurred. Assuming this case is successfully presented, the defendant must rebut the charge and accompanying evidence.

EXHIBIT 2.7 Basic Litigation Process Under Title VII: EEOC

SOURCE: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, May 26, 2004 (

In disparate treatment cases, the defendant must provide


nondiscriminatory reasons during rebuttal for the practice(s) in question. In disparate impact cases, the employer must demonstrate that the practices in question are job related and consistent with business necessity.

Following rebuttal, the plaintiff may respond to the defense provided by the defendant. In disparate treatment cases, that response hinges on a demonstration that the defendant’s reasons for a practice are a pretext, or smoke screen, for the practice. In disparate impact cases, the plaintiff’s response will focus on showing that the defendant has not shown its practices to be job related and/or that the employer refuses to adopt a practice that causes less adverse impact.

Disparate impact litigation involving age discrimination charges is somewhat different. After the disparate impact claim (supported by disparate impact statistics) is made, the defendant rebuttal will involve an attempt to prove that the challenged practice is supported by a reasonable factor other than age, and the plaintiff response will attempt to prove that the factor cited is unreasonable and not the true reason for the practice.

Who bears the final, or ultimate, burden of proof? In disparate treatment cases, the plaintiff must ultimately prove that the defendant’s practices are discriminatory. For disparate impact cases, on the other hand, the burden is on the defendant. That is, the defendant must prove that its practices are not discriminatory.

The plaintiff and the defendant have an opportunity to end their dispute through a consent decree. This is a voluntary, court-approved agreement between the two parties. The consent decree may contain an agreement to not only halt certain practices but also implement certain remedies, such as various forms of monetary relief and AAPs. An example of a consent decree is shown in Exhibit 2.8.

In the absence of a consent decree, the court will fashion its own remedies from those permitted under the law, of which several are available. First, the court may enjoin certain practices (i.e., to require the defendant to halt the practices). Second, the court may order the hiring or reinstatement of individuals. Third, the court may fashion various forms of monetary relief, such as back pay, front pay, attorney’s fees, and compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory and punitive damages, which are capped at $300,000, may be applied only in cases involving disparate treatment; front pay and back pay are excluded from the cap. Finally, under the Civil Rights Act and the ADA, the court may order “such affirmative action as may be appropriate,” as well as “any other equitable relief” that the court deems appropriate. Through these provisions, the court has considerable latitude in the remedies it imposes, including the imposition of AAPs.

Enforcement: OFCCP


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Enforcement mechanisms used by the OFCCP are very different from those used by the EEOC. Most covered employers are required to develop and implement written AAPs for women and minorities. Specific AAP requirements for employers under Executive Order 11246 are spelled out in Affirmative Action Programs Regulations, discussed within “Legal Issues” in Chapter 3.

EXHIBIT 2.8 Example of a Consent Decree

CLEVELAND—Presrite Corporation, a manufacturing company headquartered in Cleveland that makes gears and other industrial parts, will pay $700,000, offer jobs to no fewer than 40 women, and commit to other injunctive relief to settle a systemic class action lawsuit brought by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged widespread discrimination against women who applied to work at one or more of Presrite’s three plants in Cleveland and Ashtabula County. According to the EEOC, Presrite—a federal contractor—passed over female applicants in favor of less qualified males for entry-level positions at all three plants. The EEOC also cited evidence that women who were hired for such positions were harassed.

The EEOC charged the company with failing to keep applications and other employee data in violation of federal law. The EEOC alleged that Presrite failed to produce more than a thousand employment applications for persons the company hired and failed to maintain accurate or complete data about applicants. As a result, the EEOC said, it was unable to verify by name all of the female applicants who were unlawfully denied hire.

On April 24, Judge Patricia A. Gaughan signed a publicly filed consent decree resolving the case. Under the terms of the decree, Presrite will pay $700,000 in compensatory damages to establish a class fund for women who sought certain positions at Presrite and were denied hire. Over the course of the next three years, Presrite will also offer jobs to no fewer than 40 women identified by the EEOC during the claims process. The decree compels Presrite to give those females priority consideration and to offer them jobs before any current applicants.

The decree also requires Presrite to implement a number of measures designed to prevent future discrimination such as periodic reports to the EEOC disclosing the number of females and males who applied as compared to those who were hired; mandatory training; and compulsory retention of employment and applicant


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records, including creating and producing electronic data. The decree includes an injunction prohibiting Presrite from discriminating against women in the recruiting and hiring process, and compelling the company to make all good-faith, reasonably necessary efforts to find female candidates to fill vacancies in laborer and operative positions.

“We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with this defendant,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “Moving forward, qualified female applicants will be judged by their talents and skill and not simply passed over because of their gender and women who were wrongfully denied positions will be compensated.”

SOURCE: Adapted from EEOC press release, April 30, 2013 (, accessed May 22, 2013.

To enforce these requirements, the OFCCP conducts off-site desk audits and reviews of employers’ records and AAPs, as well as on-site visits and compliance reviews of employers’ AAPs. It also investigates complaints charging noncompliance. Employers found to be in noncompliance are urged to change their practices through a conciliation process. Should conciliation be unsuccessful, employers are subject to various penalties that affect their status as a federal contractor. These include cancellation of contracts and debarment from bidding on future contracts.

EEO/AA LAWS: SPECIFIC STAFFING PROVISIONS Each of the major laws covered in the previous section contains specific provisions pertaining to staffing practices by organizations. This section summarizes those specific provisions, including agencies’ and courts’ interpretations of them. Phrases in quotation marks are from the laws themselves. Applications of these provisions to staffing policies, practices, and actions occur throughout the remainder of the book.

Civil Rights Acts (1964, 1978, 1991) The provisions of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 1978, and 1991 are combined for discussion purposes here. The 1978 amendment added pregnancy as a protected characteristic. The 1991 law is basically a series of amendments to the 1964 law, though it does contain some provisions unique


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to it.

Unlawful Employment Practices This section of the law contains a comprehensive statement regarding unlawful employment practices. Specifically, it is unlawful for an employer

1. “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”; or

2. “to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

These two statements are the foundation of civil rights law. They are very broad and inclusive, applying to virtually all staffing practices of an organization. There are also separate statements for employment agencies and labor unions.

Establishment of Disparate Impact As discussed previously, a claim of discrimination may be pursued via a disparate impact or disparate treatment approach. The law makes several points regarding the former approach.

First, staffing practices that may seem unfair, outrageous, or of dubious value to the employer but do not cause adverse impact are not illegal (assuming, of course, that no intention to discriminate underlies them). Thus, they are a matter of legal concern only if their usage causes disparate impact.

Second, staffing practices that the plaintiff initially alleges to have caused adverse impact are unlawful unless the employer can successfully rebut the charges. To do this, the employer must show that the practices are “job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” Practices that fail to meet this standard are unlawful.

Third, the plaintiff must show adverse impact for each specific staffing practice or component. For example, if an employer has a simple selection system in which applicants first take a written test and those who pass it are interviewed, the plaintiff must show adverse impact separately for the test and the interview, rather than for the two components combined.

Disparate Treatment


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Intentional discrimination with staffing practices is prohibited, and the employer may not use a claim of business necessity to justify intentional use of a discriminatory practice.

Mixed Motives An employer may not defend an action by claiming that while a prohibited factor, such as sex, entered into a staffing decision, other factors, such as job qualifications, did also. Such “mixed motive” defenses are not permitted. A plaintiff may pursue a mixed motive claim with either circumstantial or direct evidence of discrimination.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification An employer may attempt to justify use of a protected characteristic, such as national origin, as being a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). The law permits such claims, but only for sex, religion, and national origin—not race or color. The employer must be able to demonstrate that such discrimination is “a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise.” Thus, a maximum security prison with mostly male inmates might hire only male prison guards on the grounds that by doing so it ensures the safety, security, and privacy of inmates. However, it must be able to show that doing so is a business necessity.

Testing The law explicitly permits the use of tests in staffing. The employer may “give and act upon the results of any professionally developed ability test, provided that such test, its administration, or action upon the basis of results is not designed, intended, or used to discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Interpretation of this provision has been difficult. What exactly is a “professionally developed ability test”? How does an employer use a test to discriminate? Not discriminate? The need for answers to such questions gave rise to the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP).

Test Score Adjustments Test scores are not to be altered or changed to make them more fair; test scores should speak for themselves. Specifically, it is an unlawful employment practice “to adjust the scores of, use different cutoff scores for, or otherwise alter the results of employment-related tests on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” This provision bans so-called


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race norming, in which people’s scores are compared only with those of members of their own racial group and separate cutoff or passing scores are set for each group.

Seniority or Merit Systems The law explicitly permits the use of seniority and merit systems as a basis for applying different terms and conditions to employees. However, the seniority or merit system must be “bona fide,” and it may not be the result of an intention to discriminate.

This provision is particularly relevant to internal staffing systems. It in essence allows the employer to take into account seniority (experience) and merit (e.g., KSAOs, promotion potential assessments) when making internal staffing decisions.

Employment Advertising Discrimination in employment advertising is prohibited. Specifically, the employer may not indicate “any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” An exception to this is if sex, religion, or national origin is a BFOQ.

Pregnancy An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition, or because of the prejudices of coworkers, clients, or customers. There are also many provisions regarding pregnancy and maternity leave.

Preferential Treatment and Quotas The law does not require preferential treatment or quotas. Thus, the employer is not required to have a balanced workforce, meaning one whose demographic composition matches or mirrors the demographic makeup of the surrounding population from which the employer draws its employees.

Note that the law does not prohibit preferential treatment, AA, and quotas. It merely says they are not required. Thus, they may be used in certain instances, such as a voluntary AAP or a court-imposed remedy.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967)

Prohibited Age Discrimination The law explicitly and inclusively prohibits discrimination against those aged 40 and older. It is unlawful for an employer


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1. “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age”; and

2. “to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age.”

These provisions are interpreted to mean that it is not unlawful to favor an older worker over a younger worker, even if both workers are aged 40 or older.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Like the Civil Rights Act, the ADEA contains a BFOQ provision. Thus, it is not unlawful for an employer to differentiate among applicants or employees on the basis of their age “where age is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business.”

Reasonable Factors Other Than Age The employer may use reasonable factors other than age (RFOA) in making employment decisions. Specific interpretation of this provision is given by the EEOC. In the case of disparate impact (but not disparate treatment) claims, the employer can seek to justify the adverse impact occurrence as being based on an RFOA (as opposed to business necessity). An employment practice is based on an RFOA if it is reasonably designed and administered to achieve a legitimate business purpose in light of circumstances. Reasonableness depends on the extent to which (1) a measured factor (e.g., job skill) is related to the employer’s business purpose, (2) the factor has been accurately and fairly identified and applied, (3) managers and supervisors were given guidance or training about how to use the factor and avoid discrimination, (4) limits were placed on supervisors’ discretion to assess employees subjectively, (5) adverse impact against older workers was assessed, including the degree of harm to older workers, and (6) steps were taken to reduce the harm.

Seniority Systems The law permits the use of seniority systems (merit systems are not mentioned). Thus, the employer is permitted “to observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system that is not intended to evade the purposes” of the act.


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Employment Advertising Employment advertising may not contain terms that limit or deter the employment of older individuals. It is permissible, however, to use terms or phrases that express a preference for older workers, such as “over age 60,” “retirees,” or “supplement your pension.”

Americans With Disabilities Act (1990, 2008) The ADA’s basic purpose is to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who are qualified for the job, and to require the employer to make reasonable accommodation for such individuals unless that would cause undue hardship for the employer.

Prohibited Discrimination The law contains a broad prohibition against disability discrimination. It specifically says that an employer may not “discriminate against an individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.” Also prohibited is discrimination based on an applicant’s or employee’s association with a person with a disability.

The law does not apply to all people with disabilities, only those with disabilities who are qualified for the job. To determine whether a person is covered under the ADA, it must be determined whether the person has a disability and is qualified for the job.

Definition of a Disability The EEOC provides considerable regulation and guidance on the complex issue of what is a disability. The definition is interpreted in favor of broad coverage of individuals. There are three prongs to the definition:

1. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (an “actual disability”)

2. A record of physical or mental impairment that substantially limited a major life activity (a “record of”)

3. When an employer takes an action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived impairment that is not both transitory and minor (“regarded as”)

Each of these three prongs is explained next.

Actual Disability. An impairment is a physical or mental disorder, illness, or condition. A physical impairment is any physiological disorder or


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condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine. Also included (with special guidance) are cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. A mental or psychological disorder includes intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it substantially limits a major life activity when active (e.g., major depression, epilepsy). The use of mitigating measures (with the exception of eyeglasses and contact lenses) that eliminate or reduce the symptoms or impact of a disability must be ignored when determining whether there is an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The long list of mitigating measures includes medications, assistive devices, and various types of therapy. In terms of addiction as an impairment, current users of illegal drugs are not covered by the law; recovering drug users and both current and recovering alcoholics are covered.

Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working. Also included are major bodily functions (e.g., digestive, neurological), including the operation of an individual organ within a body system.

To determine whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity, the person must be (or have been) substantially limited in performing a major life activity compared with most people in the general population. Temporary, nonchronic impairments of short duration with little or no residual effects usually are not considered disabilities (e.g., common cold, sprained joint, broken bone, and seasonal allergies). An impairment need not prevent or severely or significantly limit a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting.

Finally, in assessing whether a person has a disability, two guidelines should be followed. First, there should be an individualized assessment of the impairment. Second, the determination of a disability should not require extensive analysis.

Record of a Disability. A person who does not currently have a substantially limiting impairment but had one in the past has a record of disability. Additionally, a person who was misclassified as having a substantially limiting impairment has a record of disability.


Regarded as Disabled. A person is regarded as having a disability if the employer takes a prohibited action under the ADA (e.g., failure to hire or promote) based on an impairment the employer thinks the person has, unless the impairment is temporary (e.g., less than six months) and minor.

Qualified Individual A person is qualified for the job if he or she can meet the job’s general requirements (e.g., skills, education, experience, licenses, and certification) and perform the job’s essential functions (duties) with or without reasonable accommodation. Among qualified individuals, the employer can hire the most qualified person for the job.

Essential Job Functions The law provides little guidance as to what are essential job functions. It would seem that they are the major, nontrivial tasks required of an employee. The employer has great discretion in such a determination. Specifically, “consideration shall be given to the employer’s judgment as to what functions of a job are essential, and if an employer has prepared a written description before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job, this description shall be considered evidence of the essential functions of the job.” Subsequent regulations amplify what are essential job functions; these are explored in Chapter 4.

Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Unless it would pose an “undue hardship” on the employer, the employer must make “reasonable accommodation” for the “known physical or mental impairments of an otherwise qualified, disabled job applicant or employee.” To qualify for reasonable accommodation, the person must be covered under the first (actual disability) or second (record of disability) prong of the disability definition. The law provides actual examples of reasonable accommodation. They include changes in facilities (e.g., installing wheelchair ramps), job restructuring, telework, changes in work schedules, employee reassignment to a vacant position, purchase of adaptive devices, provision of qualified readers and interpreters, and adjustments in testing and training material. For mental impairment and psychiatric disabilities, EEOC guidance indicates several types of reasonable accommodations: leaves of absence and other work schedule changes, physical changes in the workplace, modifications to company policy, adjustment of supervisory methods, medication monitoring, and reassignment to a vacant position. In general, only accommodations that would be difficult to make or that would require significant expense are considered to create an undue hardship.


page 76 A suggested four-step problem-solving approach for handling a

reasonable accommodation request from an applicant or employee is as follows.18 First, conduct a job analysis to determine the job’s essential functions. Second, identify performance barriers that would hinder the person from doing the job. Third, work with the person to identify potential accommodations. Fourth, assess each accommodation and choose the most reasonable one that would not be an undue hardship.

Selection of Employees The law deals directly with discrimination in the selection of employees. Prohibited discrimination includes

1. “using qualification standards, employment tests or other selection criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or a class of individuals with disabilities unless the standard, test, or other selection criteria, as used by the covered entity, is shown to be job related for the position in question and is consistent with business necessity”; and

2. “failing to select and administer tests concerning employment in the most effective manner to ensure that, when such a test is administered to a job applicant or employee who has a disability that impairs sensory, manual, or speaking skills, such results accurately reflect the skills, aptitude or whatever other factor of such applicant or employee that such test purports to measure, rather than reflecting the impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills of such employee or applicant (except where such skills are the factors that the test purports to measure).”

These provisions seem to make two basic requirements of staffing systems. First, if selection procedures cause disparate impact against people with disabilities, the employer must show that the procedures are job related and consistent with business necessity. The requirement is similar to that for selection procedures under the Civil Rights Act. Second, the employer must ensure that employment tests are accurate indicators of the KSAOs they attempt to measure.

Medical Exams for Job Applicants and Employees Prior to making a job offer, the employer may not conduct medical exams of job applicants, inquire whether or how severely a person is disabled, or inquire whether the applicant has received treatment for a mental or emotional condition. Specific inquiries about a person’s ability to perform essential job functions, however, are permitted.


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After a job offer has been made, the employer may require the applicant to take a medical exam, including a psychiatric exam. The job offer may be contingent on the applicant successfully passing the exam. Care should be taken to ensure that all applicants are required to take and pass the same exam. Medical records should be confidential and maintained in a separate file.

For employees, medical exams must be job related and consistent with business necessity. Exam results are confidential.

Direct Threat The employer may refuse to hire an individual who poses a direct threat to himself or herself or to the health and safety of others.

Affirmative Action There are no affirmative action requirements for employers.

Veterans A veteran with a service-connected disability is covered by the ADA if the person meets the ADA definition of a disability and is qualified for the job. Vets with disabilities may also be covered under other laws and regulations that go beyond ADA requirements, such as asking an applicant to self- identify as a disabled veteran, and undertaking affirmative action on behalf of disabled veterans.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (2008) The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits the use of genetic information in employment, as well as its acquisition; confidentiality of genetic information is required.

Genetic Information Genetic information includes an individual’s genetic tests, genetic tests of family members, and the manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members (i.e., the family’s medical history). Age and sex are not included as genetic information.

Prohibited Practices It is an unlawful employment practice for the employer to fail or refuse to hire; discharge; discriminate regarding terms and conditions of employment; and limit, segregate, or classify employees because of genetic information. There are no exceptions to this ban on usage.

It is also an unlawful employment practice to acquire (require, request, or


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purchase) genetic information about the employee or the employee’s family members. There are several specific exceptions to this.

Confidentiality of Information Any genetic information is to be maintained in a separate file, but it is okay to use this same file for ADA purposes. There are strict limits on the disclosure of genetic information.

Rehabilitation Act (1973) Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to federal employees, contractors, and subcontractors, and most of them are also covered by the ADA. The Rehabilitation Act has many similarities to the ADA, including that the 2008 ADA amendments apply to the Rehabilitation Act. Hence, the Rehabilitation Act provisions are only briefly mentioned. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits disability discrimination for federal entities and for entities that contract with or receive funding from federal entities. Section 503 requires affirmative action in HR selection, placement, and promotion processes for those with disabilities and sets a 7% utilization goal in each job category.

Prohibited Discrimination It is illegal to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability. The definition of disability under the ADA applies here. Reasonable accommodation for a qualified individual with a disability must also be made.

Affirmative Action Employers are required to develop and implement written AAPs for employing and promoting qualified individuals with disabilities. The OFCCP monitors the plans and conducts employer compliance reviews.

Executive Order 11246 (1965, 1967, 2014)

Prohibited Discrimination The federal contractor is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and transgender status. (A similar prohibition against age discrimination by federal contractors is contained in Executive Order 11141.)

Affirmative Action The order plainly requires affirmative action. It says specifically that “the


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contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Such actions shall include, but not be limited to, the following: employment, upgrading, demotion, or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship.” (Executive Order 11141 does not require affirmative action.) Regulations for these affirmative action requirements are discussed in Chapter 3.

OTHER STAFFING LAWS In addition to the EEO/AA laws, a variety of other laws and regulations affect staffing. At the federal level are the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. At the state and local levels are a wide array of laws pertaining to EEO, as well as a host of other areas. Finally, there are civil service laws and regulations that pertain to staffing practices for federal, state, and local government employers.

Federal Laws

Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986) The purpose of the IRCA and its amendments is to prohibit the employment of unauthorized aliens and to provide civil and criminal penalties for violations of this law. The law covers all employers regardless of size.

Prohibited Practices. The law prohibits the initial or continuing employment of unauthorized aliens. Specifically,

1. “it is unlawful for a person or other entity to have, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment”; and

2. “it is unlawful for a person or other entity, after hiring an alien for employment … to continue to employ the alien in the United States knowing the alien is (or has become) an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment.” (This does not apply to the continuing employment of aliens hired before November 6, 1986.)

The law also prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship status. The purpose of this provision is to discourage employers from attempting to comply with the prohibition against hiring unauthorized aliens by simply refusing to hire applicants who


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are foreign-looking in appearance or have foreign-sounding accents.

Employment Eligibility Verification System. The employer must verify that the individual is not an unauthorized alien and is legally eligible for employment by obtaining proof of identity and eligibility for work. The employer uses the I-9 form to gather documents from the new employee that establish proof of both identity and eligibility (authorization) for work. Documents that establish proof are shown on the back of the I-9 form. Documents should not be obtained until the person is actually hired, and they must be acquired within three business days of the date of employment. To verify eligibility information, federal contractors and subcontractors must use E-Verify, which conducts electronic verification checks against federal databases. Other employers may voluntarily participate in E-Verify. There are detailed record-keeping requirements. More information on verification is in the “Legal Issues” section of Chapter 12.

Temporary Visas. The employer may apply for temporary visas for up to six years for foreign workers under two major visa categories (there are other, minor categories that are not covered here). The first category is H-1B visa. An H-1B nonimmigrant must have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or higher in a specific specialty. These workers are typically employed in occupations such as architect, engineer, computer programmer, accountant, doctor, or professor. The employer must pay the person the prevailing wage for employees working in a similar position for the employer and attest that the employee will not displace any other US employee. Congress sets an annual cap of 65,000 for the number of visas issued. H-1B nonimmigrants employed by universities and nonprofit (including government) organizations are exempt from the annual cap. There is also an exception (with a 20,000 annual cap) for workers with a master’s degree or higher from a US university. H-1B visa holders may change jobs as soon as their employer files an approval petition, and they are not restricted to their current geographic area. Most spouses of H-1B employees are allowed to file separately for work authorization.

The H-2B visa category applies to nonagricultural temporary workers. It is for employers with peak load, seasonal, or intermittent needs to augment their regular workforce. Examples of such employers are construction, health care, resort/hospitality services, lumber, and manufacturing. There is an annual cap of 66,000 workers.

Enforcement. The law is enforced by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services within the Department of Homeland Security.


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Noncompliance may result in fines of up to $10,000 for each unauthorized alien employed, as well as imprisonment for up to six months for a pattern or practice of violations. Federal contractors may be barred from federal contracts for one year.

Employee Polygraph Protection Act (1988) The purpose of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act is to prevent most private employers from using the polygraph or lie detector on job applicants or employees. The law does not apply to other types of “honesty tests,” such as paper-and-pencil ones.

Prohibited Practices. The law prohibits most private employers (public employers are exempted) from (1) requiring applicants or employees to take a polygraph test, (2) using the results of a polygraph test for employment decisions, and (3) discharging or disciplining individuals for refusing to take a polygraph test.

The polygraph may be used in three explicit instances. First, employers that manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances, such as drugs, may use the polygraph. Second, private security firms that provide services to businesses affecting public safety or security, such as nuclear power plants or armored vehicles, may use the polygraph. Third, an employer that experiences economic loss due to theft, embezzlement, or sabotage may use the polygraph in an investigation of the loss.

Enforcement. The law is enforced by the DOL. Noncompliance may result in fines of up to $10,000 per individual violation. Also, individuals may sue the employer, seeking employment, reinstatement, promotion, and back pay.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (1970) The Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended, regulates the organization’s acquisition and use of consumer reports on job applicants. A consumer report is virtually any information on an applicant that is compiled from a database by a consumer reporting agency and provided to the organization. The information may include not only credit characteristics but also employment history, income, driving record, arrests and convictions, and lifestyle; medical information may not be sought or provided without prior approval of the applicant. Specific requirements for gathering and using the information are provided in Chapter 8.

A second type of consumer report is investigative. It is prepared from


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personal interviews with other individuals, rather than a search through a database. There are separate compliance steps for this type of report.

Enforcement. The law is enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Penalties for willful or negligent noncompliance go up to $1,000.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (1994) The purpose of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is to prohibit discrimination against members of the uniformed services and to extend reinstatement, benefit, and job security rights to returning service members.

Coverage. Both private and public employers, regardless of size, are covered. All people who perform or have performed service in the uniformed services have USERRA rights, but only a person who was employed, is an applicant, or is currently employed can invoke these rights.

Requirements. Employers may not take negative job actions (e.g., firing, demoting, transferring, or refusing to hire) against members (and applicants for membership) of the uniformed services. The employer must reinstate (within two weeks of application for reinstatement) employees who have taken up to five total years of leave from their position in order to serve. These employees are entitled to be returned to the position they would have held if they had been continuously employed (this is called an “escalator” position). If the employee is not qualified for the escalator position, the employer must make a reasonable effort to help the employee qualify. Those employees are also entitled to promotions, raises, and other seniority-based benefits they would have received. There are many exceptions to both the five-year service limit and the reinstatement rights. Certain benefits must be made available to those who take leave for service, and benefits must be restored to those who return. An employee may not be fired, except for cause, for up to one year after returning from service.

Enforcement. The law is enforced by the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) within the DOL. There are also regulations for employer compliance.

State and Local Laws The emphasis in this book is on federal laws and regulations. It should be remembered, however, that an organization is subject to laws at the state and


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local levels as well. This greatly increases the array of applicable laws to which the organization must attend.

EEO/AA Laws EEO/AA laws are often patterned after federal law. Their basic provisions, however, vary substantially from state to state. Compliance with federal EEO/AA law does not ensure compliance with state and local EEO/AA laws, and vice versa. Thus, it is the responsibility of the organization to be explicitly knowledgeable of the laws and regulations that apply to it.

Of special note is that state and local EEO/AA laws and regulations often provide protections beyond those contained in the federal laws and regulations. State laws, for example, may apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees, which is the cutoff for coverage under the Civil Rights Act. State laws may also prohibit certain kinds of discrimination not prohibited under federal law, for example, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, breastfeeding, and religious dress and grooming practices. For example, nearly half of all states, and many metropolitan areas where there is no state law, have prohibitions on employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The law for the District of Columbia prohibits 13 kinds of discrimination, including sexual orientation, physical appearance, matriculation, and political affiliation. Finally, state law may deviate from federal law with regard to enforcement mechanisms and penalties for noncompliance.

Other State Laws Earlier, reference was made to employment-at-will and workplace torts as matters of common law, which, in turn, are governed at the state law level. Statutory state laws applicable to staffing, in addition to EEO/AA laws, are also plentiful. Examples of areas covered in addition to EEO/AA include criminal record inquiries by the employer, polygraph and “honesty testing,” drug testing, AIDS testing, and employee access to personnel records, unemployed applicants, and social media privacy.

Civil Service Laws and Regulations Federal, state, and local government employers are governed by special statutory laws and regulations collectively referred to as civil service. Civil service is guided by so-called merit principles that serve as the guide to staffing practices. The principles serve to prevent cronyism (political patronage) in hiring.

Merit Principles and Staffing Practices


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The essence of merit principles relevant to staffing is fourfold:

1. To recruit, select, and promote employees on the basis of their KSAOs 2. To provide for fair treatment of applicants and employees without

regard to political affiliation, race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, handicap, and other characteristics

3. To protect the privacy and constitutional rights of applicants and employees as citizens

4. To protect employees against coercion for partisan political purposes

Merit principles are codified in civil service laws and regulations.

Comparisons With Private Sector Merit principles and civil service laws and regulations combine to shape the nature of staffing practices in the public sector. This leads to some notable differences between the public and private sectors. Examples of public sector staffing practices are the following:

1. Open announcement of all vacancies, along with the content of the selection process that will be followed

2. Very large numbers of applicants due to applications being open to all persons

3. Legal mandate to test applicants only for KSAOs that are directly job related

4. Limits on discretion in the final hiring process, such as number of finalists, ordering of finalists, and affirmative action considerations

5. Rights of applicants to appeal the hiring decision, testing process, or actual test content and method

These examples are unlikely to be encountered in the private sector. Moreover, they are only illustrative of the many differences in staffing practices and context between the private and public sectors.

EXHIBIT 2.9 Legal Issues Covered in Other Chapters

Chapter Title and Number Topic

Planning (3) Affirmative action plans and diversity programs

Legality of affirmative action plans and diversity programs

Affirmative action plans for veterans and individuals with disabilities


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EEO and temporary workers Job Analysis and

Rewards (4) Job relatedness and court cases Essential job functions

External Recruitment (5)

Definition of a job applicant Af_rmative action programs Electronic recruitment Job advertisements Fraud and misrepresentation

Internal Recruitment (6)

Affirmative Action Programs Regulations Bona fide seniority systems The glass ceiling

Measurement (7) Determining adverse impact Standardization

External Selection I (8)

Disclaimers Reference checks Background checks Preemployment inquiries Bona fide occupational qualifications

External Selection II (9)

Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP)

Selection under the ADA Marijuana and other drug testing

Internal Selection (10)

UGESP The glass ceiling

Decision Making (11) UGESP Diversity and hiring decisions

Final Match (12) Employment eligibility veri_cation Negligent hiring Employment-at-will

Staffing System Management (13)

Record keeping and privacy Legal audits EEO report Training for managers and employees Dispute resolution

Retention Management (14)

Separation laws and regulations Performance appraisal

LEGAL ISSUES IN REMAINDER OF BOOK The laws and regulations applicable to staffing practices by organizations are multiple in number and complexity. This chapter emphasized an understanding of the need for law, the sources of law, and general provisions of the law and presented in detail the specific provisions that pertain to


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staffing activities. Little has been said about practical implications and applications.

In the remaining chapters of the book, the focus shifts to the practical, with guidance and suggestions on how to align staffing practices with legal requirements. The “Legal Issues” sections in the remaining chapters discuss major issues from a compliance perspective. The issues so addressed, and the chapter in which they occur, are shown in Exhibit 2.9. Inspection of the exhibit should reinforce the importance accorded laws and regulations as an external influence on staffing activities.

It should be emphasized that there is a selective presentation of the issues in Exhibit 2.9. Only certain issues have been chosen for inclusion, and only a summary of their compliance implications is presented. It should also be emphasized that the discussion of these issues does not constitute professional legal advice.

SUMMARY Staffing involves the formation of the employment relationship. That relationship involves the employer acquiring individuals to perform work for it as employees, independent contractors, temporary employees, and unpaid interns and trainees. The specific legal meanings and obligations associated with these various arrangements were provided.

Myriad laws and regulations have come forth from several sources to place constraints on the contractual relationship between employer and employee. These constraints seek to ensure a balance of power in the relationship, as well as provide protections to both the employee and the employer.

Statutory federal laws pertaining to EEO/AA prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, pregnancy, age, genetic information, and disability. This prohibition applies to staffing practices intentionally used to discriminate (disparate treatment), as well as to staffing practices that have a discriminatory effect (disparate or adverse impact). The EEO/AA laws also contain specific provisions pertaining to staffing, which specify both prohibited and permissible practices. In both instances, the emphasis is on use of staffing practices that are job related and focus on the person/job match.

Other laws and regulations also affect staffing practices. At the federal level, there is a prohibition on the employment of unauthorized aliens and on the use of the polygraph (lie detector), constraints on the use of credit reports on job applicants, and specification of the employment rights of those in the uniformed services. State and local EEO/AA laws supplement those found at the federal level. Many other staffing


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practices are also addressed by state and local laws. Finally, civil service laws and regulations govern staffing practices in the public sector. Their provisions create differences in certain staffing practices between public and private employers.

Legal issues will continue to be addressed throughout the remainder of this book. The emphasis will be on explanation and application of the laws’ provisions to staffing practices. The issues will be discussed at the end of each chapter, beginning with the next one.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Do you agree that the employer usually has the upper hand when it

comes to establishing the employment relationship? When might the employee have maximum power over the employer?

2. What are the limitations of disparate impact statistics as indicators of potential staffing discrimination?

3. Why is each of the four situational factors necessary for establishing a claim of disparate treatment?

4. What factors would lead an organization to enter into a consent agreement rather than continue pursuing a suit in court?

5. What are the differences between staffing in the private sector and staffing in the public sector? Why would private employers probably resist adopting many of the characteristics of public staffing systems?

ETHICAL ISSUES 1. Assume that you’re the staffing manager in an organization that

informally, but strongly, discourages you and other managers from hiring people with disabilities. The organization’s rationale is that people with disabilities are unlikely to be high performers or long-term employees and are costly to train, insure, and integrate into the work unit. What is your ethical assessment of the organization’s stance? Do you have any ethical obligations to try to change the stance, and if so, how might you go about that?

2. Assume the organization you work for strictly adheres to the law in its relationships with employees and job applicants. The organization calls it “staffing by the book.” But beyond that it seems anything goes in terms of tolerated staffing practices. What is your assessment of this approach?



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Age Discrimination in a Promotion?

Best Protection Insurance Company (BPIC) handles a massive volume of claims each year in the corporate claims function, as well as in its four regional claims centers. The corporate claims function is headed by the senior vice president of corporate claims (SVPCC); reporting to the SVPCC are two managers of corporate claims (MCC-Life and MCC-Residential) and a highly skilled corporate claims specialist (CCS). Each regional office is headed by a regional center manager (RCM); the RCM is responsible for both supervisors and claims specialists within the regional office. The RCMs report to the vice president of regional claims (VPRC). The organization is structured as follows:

BPIC decided to reorganize its claims function by eliminating the four regional offices (and the RCM position) and establishing numerous small field offices throughout the country. The other part of the reorganization involved creating five new CCS positions. The CCS job itself was to be redesigned and upgraded in terms of knowledge and skill requirements. These new CCS positions would be staffed through internal promotions from within the claims function.

The SVPCC asked Gus Tavus, a 52-year-old RCM, to apply for one of the new CCS positions since his job was being eliminated. The other RCMs, all of whom were over 40 years of age, were also asked to apply. Neither Gus nor the other RCMs were promoted to the CCS positions. Other candidates, some of whom were also over age 40, were also bypassed. The promotions went to five claims specialists and supervisors from within the former regional offices, all of whom were under age 40. Two of these newly promoted employees had worked for, and reported to, Gus as RCM.

Upon learning of his failure to be promoted, Gus sought to find out why. What he learned led him to believe that he had been discriminated against because of his age. He then retained legal counsel, attorney Bruce Davis. Bruce met informally with the SVPCC to try to


determine what had happened in the promotion process and why his client had not been promoted. He was told that there were numerous candidates who were better qualified than Gus and that Gus lacked adequate technical and communication skills for the new job of CCS. The SVPCC refused to reconsider Gus for the job and said that all decisions were etched in stone. Gus and Bruce then filed suit in federal district court, claiming a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. They also subpoenaed numerous BPIC documents, including the personnel files of all applicants for the CCS positions.

After reviewing the documents and discussing things with Gus, Bruce learned more about the promotion process actually used by BPIC. The SVPCC and the two MCCs conducted the entire process; they received no input from the VPRC or the HR department. There was no formal, written job description for the new CCS position, nor was there a formal internal job posting as required by company policy. The SVPCC and the MCCs developed a list of employees they thought might be interested in the job, including Gus, and then met to consider the list of candidates. At that meeting, the personnel files and previous performance appraisals of the candidates were not consulted. After deciding on the five candidates who would be offered the promotion (all five accepted), the SVPCC and MCCs scanned the personnel files and appraisals of these five (only) to check for any disconfirming information. None was found. Bruce’s inspection of the files revealed no written comments suggesting age bias in past performance appraisals for any of the candidates, including Gus. Also, there was no indication that Gus lacked technical and communication skills. All of Gus’s previous appraisal ratings were above average, and there was no evidence of decline in the favorability of the ratings. Finally, an interview with the VPRC (Gus’s boss) revealed that he had not been consulted at all during the promotion process, that he was “shocked beyond belief” that Gus had not been promoted, and that there was “no question” but that Gus was qualified in all respects for the CCS job.

1. Prepare a written report that presents a convincing disparate treatment claim that Gus had been intentionally discriminated against on the basis of his age. Do not address the claim as one of disparate impact.

2. Present a convincing rebuttal, from the viewpoint of BPIC, to this disparate treatment claim.

Disparate Impact: What Do the Statistics Mean? Claims of discrimination can be pursued under an allegation of disparate impact. According to this approach, the effect or impact of staffing practices can be discriminatory and thus in violation of the Civil Rights Act. Such an


page 89 impact could occur even though there may be no underlying intention to discriminate against members of a protected group or class (e.g., women or minorities). Pursuit of a disparate impact claim requires the use of various statistics to show that, in effect, women or minorities are being treated differently than men or nonminorities under the law.

Exhibit 2.6 shows three types of disparate impact statistics: flow statistics, stock statistics, and concentration statistics. Also shown is a statistical example of disparate impact for each type. For each of these three types of statistics, prepare a report in which you discuss the following:

1. How can an organization collect and report these statistics in the form shown in Exhibit 2.6?

2. What standards or guidelines would you recommend for deciding whether statistical differences between men and women, or nonminorities and minorities, reflect discrimination occurring throughout an organization’s staffing system?

3. What types of staffing activities (recruitment, selection, and employment) might be causing the statistical differences? For example, in Exhibit 2.6 the selection rate is 50% for men and 11% for women. How would the organization collect the data necessary to compute these selection rates, how would you decide whether the difference in selection rates (50% vs. 11%) is big enough to indicate possible discrimination, and what sorts of practices might be causing the difference in selection rates?

ENDNOTES   1. D. D. Bennett-Alexander and L. P. Hartman, Employment Law for Business, 8th

ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015), pp. 2–31; D. J. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, 5th ed. (Boston: Cengage, 2016), pp. 35–65.

  2. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, pp. 668–697.   3. J. Eidelson, “Designated Drivers,” Business Week, Oct. 20, 2014, pp.19–20; J

Deschenaux, “California FedEx Agrees to Settle Drivers’ Misclassification Claims for $228M,” June 18, 2015 ( compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/calif-fedex-settlement.aspx); J. Cohen, “Misclassification Headaches,” HR Magazine, Dec. 2015/Jan. 2016, pp. 62–63.

  4. Bennett-Alexander and Hartman, Employment Law for Business, pp. 12–16; US Department of Labor, “Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1,” July 2015 (; employed-or-employee, accessed Feb. 21, 2017.

  5. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, pp. 35–54.


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  6. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, p. 43; A. A. Idalski, “Contracting Trouble,” HR Magazine, Apr. 2015, pp. 68–69; Society for Human Resource Management, “Employing Independent Contractors” ( samples/toolkits/pages/employingindependentcontractors.aspx).

  7. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, pp. 50–52.   8. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC Policy Guidance

on Temporary Workers (Washington, DC: author, 1997); Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Enforcement Guidance: Application of the ADA to Contingent Workers Placed by Temporary Agencies and Other Staffing Firms (Washington, DC: author, 2000); N. Greenwald, “Use of Temporary Workers Also Invites Exposure to Lawsuits,” Workforce Management Online, Mar. 2010 (, accessed Mar. 25, 2010.

  9. R. J. Bohner, Jr., and E. R. Salasko, “Beware the Legal Risks of Hiring Temps,” Workforce, Oct. 2003, pp. 50–57; Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, pp. 40–46; L. E. O’Donnell, “Is Our Unpaid Intern Legit?” HR Magazine, Apr. 2013, pp. 77–79.

10. US Department of Labor, “Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” Apr. 2010 (

11. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC Enforcement Guidance on How to Count Employees When Determining Coverage Under Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA (Washington, DC: author, 1997).

12. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC Guidance on Investigating, Analyzing Retaliation Claims (

13. M. W. Bennett, D. J. Polden, and H. J. Rubin, Employment Relationships: Law and Practice (Frederick, MD: Aspen, 2004), pp. 4-75 to 4-82.

14. Bennett-Alexander and Hartman, Employment Law for Business, pp. 63–80, 114– 122; Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, pp. 67–106.

15. R. K. Robinson, G. M. Franklin, and R. F. Wayland, Employment Regulation in the Workplace (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2010), pp. 84–103.

16. K. Tyler, “Mediating a Better Outcome,” HR Magazine, Nov. 2007, pp. 63–66. 17. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, pp. 67–106. 18. J. R. Mook, “Accommodation Paradigm Shifts,” HR Magazine, Jan. 2007, pp.



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Learning Objectives and Introduction Learning Objectives Introduction

Internal and External Influences Organizational Strategy Organizational Culture Labor Markets Technology

Human Resource Planning Process and Example Initial Decisions Forecasting HR Requirements Forecasting HR Availabilities Reconciliation and Gaps

Staffing Planning Staffing Planning Process Core Workforce Flexible Workforce Outsourcing

Diversity Planning Demography of the American Workforce Business Case for Diversity Planning for Diversity

Legal Issues Affirmative Action Plans Legality of AAPs and Diversity Programs


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AAPs for Veterans and Individuals With Disabilities EEO and Temporary Workers


Discussion Questions

Ethical Issues

Applications Markov Analysis and Forecasting Deciding Whether to Use Flexible Staffing



Learning Objectives

Recognize internal and external influences that will shape the planning process Understand how strategic plans integrate with staffing plans Become familiar with statistical and judgmental techniques for forecasting HR requirements and availabilities Know the similarities and differences between replacement and succession planning Understand the advantages and disadvantages of a core workforce, a flexible workforce, and outsourcing strategies for different groups of employees Learn how to incorporate diversity into the planning process Recognize the fundamental components of an affirmative action plan

Introduction Human resource (HR) planning is the process of forecasting the organization’s future employment needs and then developing action plans and programs for fulfilling these needs in ways that align with the staffing strategy. HR plans form the basis of all other activities conducted during staffing. An organization that thoroughly considers its staffing needs and how these needs fit with the external environment will find it much easier to recruit the right number and type of candidates, develop methods for


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selecting the right candidates, and evaluate whether its programs are successful.

HR planning involves learning about the employment environment, determining how many employees an organization will need in the future, and assessing the availability of employees in both the internal and external markets. The HR planning process involves several specific components that we cover in this chapter, including making initial planning decisions, forecasting HR requirements and availabilities, determining employee shortages and surpluses, and developing action plans.

The chapter begins with an overview of internal and external influences on the HR planning process, like organizational strategy and culture, labor markets, and technology. Next, we provide an overview of the process of HR planning, including a review of methods for forecasting HR requirements and availability. The staffing planning process includes distinguishing between the core and flexible workforces, as well as understanding the environment for outsourcing. Diversity programs have become an increasingly important part of the staffing planning process, so they are also discussed. The major legal issue for HR staffing planning is that of affirmative action plans (AAPs). A different legal issue, that of equal employment opportunity (EEO) coverage for temporary employees and their agencies, is also discussed.

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL INFLUENCES Planning does not occur in a vacuum. All aspects of the planning process must consider both internal and external influences. The two most important internal influences on the planning process are the organization’s strategy and the organization’s culture. The two major sources of external influence on HR and staffing planning are labor markets and technology. Exhibit 3.1 provides specific examples of these influences, which are discussed next.

Organizational Strategy The first, and most important, influence on the planning process is the organization’s overall strategy. Staffing managers must be intimately familiar with all aspects of the organization’s future plans and goals so they can respond by hiring the right number of people with the right KSAOs (knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics) in a timely manner. Some of the techniques we will review for staffing planning are based on a view of the organization’s historical staffing levels. This is a good place to start, because previous practice is an important guide for setting a baseline for future needs. However, all planning must be conducted with an eye to


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the future as well.

EXHIBIT 3.1 Examples of Internal and External Influences on Staffing

ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY • Current financial and human resources in the organization • Demand for products and/or services • Competitors and partners • Financial and marketing goals

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE • The expressed vision of executives • The degree of hierarchy and bureaucracy • Style of communication

LABOR MARKETS • Labor demand: employment patterns, KSAOs sought • Labor supply: labor force, demographic trends, KSAOs

available • Labor shortages and surpluses • Employment arrangements

TECHNOLOGY • Elimination of jobs • Creation of jobs • Changes in skill requirements

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) proposes that strategic planning involves a thorough knowledge of the organization’s current situation as well as a sense of the strategic vision of the organization.1 Breaking down the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) is a common method for understanding strategy. The internal assessment phase of the SWOT analysis focuses on physical and financial resources, as well as structure and culture. The external assessment phase looks to learn about economic, demographic, and technological trends that will influence the organization in the future.

Effective staffing planning must begin with a dialogue between HR representatives and organizational leaders. HR managers should be aware of core aspects of the organization’s operations, including financial and marketing considerations. Additionally, it is important to see how the organization sees itself changing in the future so that staffing strategies to


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meet these needs can be developed. Participating in activities like annual planning meetings and reviewing financial statements are essential. Strategic HR experts emphasize that this dialogue must be a two-way communication. In many cases, the current workforce and its capabilities will influence overall organizational plans. HR managers who are aware of internal human capital resources will be much more effective in an advisory capability when discussing future plans with the other executives.2

Organizational Culture Organizational culture is a very complex topic, in part because culture is so difficult to define. In essence, culture is the set of intangibles that influences attitudes and behavior in organizations. Some of the factors that can influence an organization’s culture include the expressed vision of executives, the degree of hierarchy and bureaucracy, the history of interactions among departments, and the style of communication throughout the organization. For example, an organization in which structure and predictability are emphasized will call for a very different set of staffing practices relative to an organization in which flexibility and innovation are core values. The relationship between the organization and labor unions or other employee organizations (such as professional organizations like the American Medical Association or the state bar association) is also an extremely important part of culture. To understand culture, HR managers should spend time talking with senior executives, administer and evaluate employee survey data, and conduct focus groups.

Just because culture is intangible does not mean it is not important. Michael Davis, the chief human resources officer at General Mills, encourages HR managers to build “an integrated set of programs and policies that reinforce and bring value to life.” He further notes that when the company’s espoused values are inconsistent with the practices that employees encounter on a day-to-day basis, problems with motivation, communication, and retention will follow.3 Matching culture to planning occurs in numerous ways. Deciding the types of attitudes and values that employees should have in order to achieve a person/organization fit is entirely dependent on culture. An organization with a participative culture should ensure that planning involves representatives from many different perspectives. Decisions related to how succession planning should be managed are also influenced by the degree to which the organization’s members value opportunities for growth and development relative to stability and predictability. These are just a few of the ways in which culture can impact the planning process.

In conjunction with the staffing planning process, the organization’s


staffing philosophy should be reviewed. The results of this review help shape the direction and character of the specific staffing systems implemented. The review should focus on internal versus external staffing and diversity philosophy.

External and internal staffing is a critical matter because it directly shapes the nature of the staffing system, as well as sends signals to applicants and employees alike about the organization as an employer. Exhibit 3.2 highlights the advantages and disadvantages of external and internal staffing. Clearly there are trade-offs to consider in deciding the optimal internal-external staffing mix. The point regarding time to reach full productivity warrants special comment. Any new hire, either internal or external, will require time to learn the new job and reach a full productivity level. In some ways, external hires may be able to reach job productivity faster. This is because external hires are usually selected because they have experience in a job similar to the one they will be taking, whereas internal hires are promoted into jobs they have not previously held. On the other hand, internal new hires have an advantage in terms of person/organization fit because they are already familiar with the relationships among organizational members as well as the culture, policies, and procedures of the organization. Internal hires may have also received special training and development to prepare them for the new job.

In terms of diversity, the organization must be sure to consider or develop a sense of importance attached to being a diversity-conscious employer and the commitment it is willing to make in incorporating elements of diversity into all phases of the staffing system. As we describe later in the chapter, an organization’s overall philosophy toward diversity will be shaped by the cultural value the organization attaches to diversity as well as the business-related consequences of diversity-related practices. Many choices throughout the staffing process will follow from the organization’s attitudes toward diversity, for example, deciding where to recruit and what qualifications are most important for new hires.

EXHIBIT 3.2 Staffing Philosophy: Internal Versus External Staffing


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page 97Labor Markets In and through labor markets, organizations express specific labor preferences and requirements (labor demand), and persons express their own job preferences and requirements (labor supply). Ultimately, person/job matches occur from the interaction of demand and supply forces. Both labor demand and supply contain quantity and quality components, as described below. Labor shortages, labor surpluses, and a variety of possible employment arrangements are also discussed.

Labor Demand: Employment Patterns Labor demand is a derived demand, meaning it is a result of


consumer demands for the organization’s products and services. Knowing the organization’s strategy and projections for future KSAO needs will guide the search for labor demand information. In particular, the labor market for the occupations the organization needs to staff will be greatly affected by the product market. For example, in the field of software design, the increased use of tablet computers since 2010 has increased demand for programmers who have gained skills in designing applications for related operating systems.

To learn about labor demand, national employment statistics are collected and analyzed. They provide data about employment patterns and projections for industries, occupations, and organization size. Most organizations will need to examine not just aggregated statistics, like the overall unemployment rate, but also occupational and regional employment data. As an example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2013 estimated that the unemployment rate for structural iron and steel workers was 21.9%, and the rate for telemarketers was 23.1%. At the other extreme, the unemployment rate for physician assistants was 1.2%, and the rate for petroleum engineers was 0.6%.4

Employment projections through 2024 indicate that job growth is expected to be especially strong for health care practitioners and health care support occupations, consistent with long-range trends. Computer and mathematical occupations will see continued growth. Following declines in the period from 2004 to 2014, construction employment is also expected to increase. Business and financial operations occupations are also expected to grow. Employment in occupations related to agriculture and production is expected to continue to decline.5

Labor Demand: KSAOs Sought KSAO requirements or preferences of employers are not widely measured, except for education requirements. Data collected by the BLS suggest a continued increase in demand for individuals with college degrees or higher. The number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree is expected to increase 17%, the number requiring a master’s degree is expected to increase 19%, and the number requiring a doctoral degree is expected to increase 22%. In contrast, the number of jobs requiring only short-term on-the-job training is expected to increase by only 9%.6 The increasing demand for education most likely reflects advances in technology that have made many jobs more complex and technically demanding.7

Employers are also interested in a broader set of skills that are not provided through specific educational degree programs. Surveys of HR professionals and employers consistently reveal that communication skills, critical thinking skills, creativity, diversity management, ethics, and a


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lifelong learning orientation are especially relevant for today’s employees.8

Labor Supply: The Labor Force and Its Trends The BLS in the US Department of Labor provides periodic reports of the quantity of labor supplied, along with projections for the near future. An example of data from one of these reports is given in Exhibit 3.3. It shows that there has been significant growth in the working age population and labor force since the 1990s, but that the labor force participation rate has been declining. The data and projections also show a consistent upward trend in the median age of the labor force.

Data reveal several labor force trends that have particular relevance for staffing organizations. Labor force growth is slowing, going from an annual growth rate of around 2% in the early 1990s to a projected rate of 1% by the year 2018. There are increasingly fewer new entrants to the labor force. This trend, coupled with the severe mismatch between organizational demand for KSAOs and workforce qualifications, creates major adaptation problems for organizations.

Demographically, the labor force has become more diverse, and this trend will continue. A trend toward nearly equal labor force participation for men and women and large proportional growth in the representation of Hispanics and Asians has been found beginning in the 1990s and continuing through the present day, and is projected to continue through 2024. There will also be a dramatic shift toward fewer younger workers and more workers over the age of 55. These age-related changes are partially a reflection of labor force participation. These days, individuals in their late teens are much less likely to be working, whereas workers over 55 are much more likely to be working.

EXHIBIT 3.3 Labor Force Statistics

1994 2004 2014 2024


Civilian noninstitutional population (in millions)

197 223 248 269

Civilian labor force (in millions)

131 147 156 164

Labor force participation rate (%)

66.6 66 62.9 60.9

Unemployment rate (%) 6.1 5.5 6.2 5.2 Median age of the labor

force 37.7 40.3 41.9 42.4


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SOURCE: K. J. Byun and B. Nicholson, “The U.S. Economy to 2024,” Monthly Labor Review, Dec. 2015 ( economy-to-2024.html).

Today, other, subtler labor force trends are also permeating the world of work. Following an increase in the average number of hours worked by employees during the 1990s, the average number of work hours moved back to more typical historical levels during the early 2000s. Relatedly, there was a similar increase during the 1990s in the number of individuals holding multiple jobs, followed by a decline in the early 2000s, with just 5.0% of employed people holding more than one job in more recent periods. The drop has been especially steep among “prime age” workers between 25 and 64 years old. The number of immigrants in the population is growing; nearly 1 in 10 people is foreign born, the highest rate in more than 50 years. People historically out of the labor force mainstream —such as those with disabilities and the growing number of retirees—are assuming a greater presence in the labor force.9

Labor Supply: KSAOs Available Surveys conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2014 and 2015 found that employers see key shortages in technical skills, written communication, and basic computer skills. The job categories that have been the hardest to fill include engineers, highly skilled medical jobs, computer specialists, scientists, managers, and technicians. Applied skills in professionalism, critical thinking, and leadership are all in high demand.10 There are also shortages of employees with the high skill levels required in contemporary manufacturing environments.11 Economists and sociologists are quick to note that these skill shortages are being reported despite consistent gains in standardized test scores and educational attainment in the labor force since the 1960s.12 Thus, it appears the problem is that demand for advanced skills is increasing, as we noted earlier, not that the supply of skilled workers is decreasing. This idea is reinforced by another survey of 726 HR professionals that found 98% of respondents reported that the competition for talented workers has increased in recent years.13

Labor Shortages and Surpluses When labor demand exceeds labor supply for a given pay rate, the labor market is said to be “tight” and the organization experiences labor shortages. Shortages tend to be job or occupation specific. Low unemployment rates, surges in labor demand in certain occupations, and skill deficiencies fuel


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labor quantity and labor quality shortages for many organizations. The shortages cause numerous responses:

Increased pay and benefit packages Hiring bonuses and stock options Alternative work arrangements to attract and retain older workers Use of temporary employees Recruitment of immigrants Lower hiring standards Partnerships with high schools, technical schools, and colleges Increased mandatory overtime work Increased hours of operation

These types of responses are lessened or reversed when the labor market is “loose,” meaning there are labor surpluses relative to labor demand.

Employment Arrangements Though labor market forces bring organizations and job seekers together, the specific nature of the employment arrangement can assume many forms. One arrangement is whether the person will be employed full time or part time. Data show that about 82% of people work full time and 18% work part time.14

A second arrangement involves the issue of flexible scheduling and shift work. The proportion of the workforce covered by flexible shifts has steadily grown from 12.4% in 1985 to 27.5% in 2004. Many of these workers are covered by formal flextime programs. Work hours are often put into shifts, and about 15% of full-time employed adults work evening, night, or rotating shifts. Some of the seeming flexibility in work hours has meant that nearly 40% of managerial and professional workers are working from home, often during evenings and weekends.15

Two other types of arrangements, often considered in combination, are (1) various alternative arrangements to the traditional employer–employee relationship, and (2) the use of contingent employees. Alternative arrangements include the organization filling its staffing needs through the use of independent contractors, on-call workers and day laborers, temporary help agency employees, and employees provided by a contract firm that provides a specific service (e.g., accounting). Contingent employees do not have an explicit or implicit contract for long-term employment; they expect their employment to be temporary rather than long term.

National data on the use of alternative employment arrangements and contingent employees were gathered by the BLS in 2005. It found that 89.1% of surveyed individuals worked in a traditional employer–employee


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arrangement, and that the vast majority of these individuals (95.9%) considered themselves noncontingent. The most prevalent alternative was to work as an independent contractor (7.4%), followed by on-call employees and day laborers (1.8%), temporary help agency employees (.9%), and employees provided by a contract firm (.6%). The percentages of contingent employees in these alternative arrangements ranged from 3.4% (independent contractors) to 60.7% (temporary help employees).16 Unfortunately, data on the use of alternative employment arrangements have not been collected since 2005, but most indicators suggest that alternative employment arrangements have increased over time.

Exhibit 3.4 shows several other workforce trends identified in a survey of over a thousand HR professionals. The cost of health care has long been an issue identified in this survey, which is conducted every two years. The aging workforce has also been an issue of note. More recent surveys focus on global issues such as international competition for talent as well as the economic growth of emerging markets.

EXHIBIT 3.4 Major Workforce Trends

Continuing high cost of health care in the United States Increased global competition for jobs, markets, and talent Growing complexity of legal compliance for employers Large numbers of baby boomers leaving the workforce at around the same time Economic growth of emerging markets Greater need for cross-cultural understanding in business settings

SOURCE: J. Schramm, Workplace Forecast, 2011 (Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2011).

Technology Changes in technology can influence the staffing planning process significantly. In some cases, technology can serve as a substitute for labor by either eliminating or dramatically reducing the need for certain types of workers. The economy as a whole has shown decreased demand for positions like clerical workers, telephone operators, and manufacturing operators as technology has replaced labor as an input to production. Ironically, changes in software that have made computers easier for non- specialists to use have eliminated many jobs in computer programming.


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At the same time, technology can serve to create new jobs as new business opportunities emerge. In place of the jobs that are eliminated, demand for technical occupations like robotics engineers, systems and database analysts, and software engineers has increased. The expansion of e- commerce and other Internet-based services has increased demand for those who design and manage websites. Increasing productivity as a result of technological change can also spur increased firm performance, which in turn will create more jobs. Often these new jobs will require a completely different set of KSAOs than previous jobs, meaning that increased staffing resources will have to be devoted to either retraining or replacing the current workforce. Research conducted in the United States, Britain, and Germany shows that computerization has led to an increase in the demand for highly educated specialists, leading to an overall increased market demand for skills in science and mathematics, which has led to dramatic increases in wages for individuals with these skills.17 Employers that adopt new technology for any aspect of their operations will also have to consider how to tap into labor markets that have these skills.

HUMAN RESOURCE PLANNING After a solid understanding of the internal and external environments has been acquired, a more detailed set of plans to address organizational needs in light of these environmental influences can be considered. Human resource planning (HRP) is an ongoing process and set of activities undertaken to forecast an organization’s labor demand (requirements) and internal labor supply (availabilities), to compare these projections to determine employment gaps, and to develop action plans for addressing these gaps. Action plans include planning to arrive at desired staffing levels and staffing quality.

A general model depicting the process of HRP is presented first, followed by an operational example of HRP. The major components of HRP are then discussed in detail. Best practices in contemporary organizations suggest that to be effective, HRP must be an ongoing activity, supplemented with data from human resources information systems. This presentation reviews only a single cycle of HRP, but it is better to think of HRP as a continuous process that is updated and reviewed at least once a quarter, if not more frequently.18

Process and Example The basic elements of virtually any organization’s HRP are shown in Exhibit 3.5. As can be seen, the HRP process involves four sequential steps:


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1. Determine future HR requirements to meet strategic business requirements

2. Determine future HR availabilities 3. Reconcile requirements and availabilities—that is, determine gaps

(shortages and surpluses) between the two 4. Develop action plans to close the projected gaps

EXHIBIT 3.5 The Basic Elements of Human Resource Planning

EXHIBIT 3.6 Operational Format and Example of Human Resource Planning

An example of HRP, including results from forecasting requirements and availabilities, is shown in Exhibit 3.6. The exhibit shows a partial HRP conducted by an organization for a specific unit (sales and customer service). It involves only two job categories (sales [A] and customer service [B]) and two hierarchical levels for each category


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(entry level [1] and managerial level [2]). All of the HRP steps are confined to this particular organizational unit and its job categories/levels, as shown.

The current workforce size (number of employees) is given for each job category/level. Requirements and availabilities are predicted for one year, and the results are shown in the relevant columns. After the reconciliation process, final gap figures are agreed on and entered into the gap column.

These gap data serve as the basic input to action planning. Because the gaps show both shortages and a surplus, and because the gaps vary in severity relative to the current workforce, a specific action plan will probably have to be developed and implemented for each job category/level. The resulting four staffing (and other) plans should bring staffing into an orderly balance of requirements and availabilities over the course of the planning period.

The above process and example identify and illustrate the rudiments of HRP. Within them are several distinct components that require elaboration. We turn now to these components, emphasizing that each one represents a factor that must be considered in HRP and that specific choices must be made regarding the operational details for each component.

Initial Decisions Each new cycle of HRP involves several critical decisions. These decisions will shape the nature of the resultant HRP process and influence the output of the process, namely, the gap estimates.

Strategic Planning We have already discussed the need to integrate organizational strategy into the HRP process. In addition, the development of a strategy for HR should be the first element of HRP. Several key decisions should be made before more concrete plans are considered:19

First, a vision based on the overall organizational strategy should be developed. This often means deciding what values and core competencies all members of the organization should possess, and considering principles that will support these values and competencies. Second, potential strategies for achieving planning process goals should be discussed. It is best at this point to think of whole systems of goals (e.g., integrate all KSAO information for the workforce and future planning needs) rather than specific concrete goals (e.g., conduct recruiting at a local college campus). Too much focus on implementation details early in the strategic planning process can lead to a patchwork approach that involves elements that do not fit together well.


Third, contingency plans should be developed and considered. For example, what happens if certain key employees leave the organization? What happens if there is a change in the economy that reduces the supply of needed KSAOs in the labor market? Use of simulation software that shows potential future outcomes for a variety of actions and responses is one way to evaluate the likelihood of potential worst-case scenarios and plan for how to respond should they arise. Fourth, methods for obtaining feedback relative to goals and objectives should be in place. This is a crucial stage, as it involves specifying the types of data that will be used to determine whether the planning process is successful or whether changes need to be made.

HRP can be performed on a plan basis, project basis, or population basis. When HRP takes place as an integral part of an organization’s strategic planning process, it is referred to as plan-based HRP. This is a wise approach because it helps integrate the entire organization’s strategic planning process with HR implications. Organizational responses to changes to specific projects or activities, versus changes to the total business plan, are referred to as project-based HRP. In addition, many organizations do HRP for critical groups of employees on a regular basis. This often occurs for jobs in which there are perennial shortages of employees. Planning focused on a specific employee group is referred to as population-based HRP. As we noted earlier, best practices suggest that these activities must be done on an ongoing basis.

Planning Time Frame Since planning involves looking into the future, the logical question for an organization to ask is, how far into the future should our planning extend? Typically, plans are divided into long term (three years and more), intermediate (one to three years), or short term (one year or less). The higher-level organizational plans tend to focus on the long term, whereas specific project planning is conducted more frequently.

For plan-based HRP, the time frame will be the same as that of the business plan. In most organizations, this is between three and five years for so-called strategic planning and something less than three years for operational planning. Planning horizons for project-based HRP vary depending on the nature of the projects involved. Solving a temporary shortage of, say, salespeople for the introduction of a new product might involve planning for only a few months, whereas planning for the start-up of a new facility could involve a lead time of two or more years. Population- based HRP will have varying time frames, depending on the time necessary


page 107 for labor supply (internal as well as external) to become available. As an example, for top-level executives in an organization, the planning time frame will be lengthy.

Job Categories and Levels The unit of HRP and analysis is composed of job categories and hierarchical levels among jobs. These job category/level combinations, and the types and paths of employee movement among them, form the structure of an internal labor market. Management must choose which job categories and hierarchical levels to use for HRP. In Exhibit 3.6, for example, the choice involves two jobs (sales and customer service) and two levels (entry and managerial) for a particular organizational unit.

Job categories are created and used on the basis of the unit of analysis for which projected shortages and surpluses are being investigated. Hierarchical levels should be chosen so that they are consistent with or identical to the formal organizational hierarchy. The reason for this is that these formal levels define employee promotions (up levels), transfers (across levels), and demotions (down levels). Having gap information by level facilitates planning of internal movement programs within the internal labor market. For example, it is difficult to have a systematic promotion-from-within program without knowing probable numbers of vacancies and gaps at various organizational levels.

Head Count (Current Workforce) The basic unit of analysis for workforce planning is not the number of employees needed. Rather, to account for the amount of scheduled time worked by each employee, staffing needs are stated in terms of full-time equivalents (FTEs). To determine FTEs, simply define what constitutes full- time work in terms of hours per week (or other time unit) and count each employee in terms of scheduled hours worked relative to a full workweek. If full time is defined as 40 hours per week, a person who normally works 20 hours per week is counted as a .50 FTE, a person normally working 30 hours per week is a .75 FTE, and so on.

Roles and Responsibilities Both line managers and HR specialists are involved in HRP, so the roles and responsibilities of each must be determined. As noted previously, in an ideal situation there would be a constant flow of information among those involved in HRP, with line managers indicating how needs are expected to change, and HR staff describing the KSAO resources within and outside the organization that can be used to meet these needs in the future. To ensure


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that HRP is effective, experts also emphasize the importance of having a higher-level executive to champion this workforce planning process. This can ensure plans are integrated with the company’s strategic plans, and it facilitates line manager engagement in the process.

The process begins with line staff evaluating their current capabilities and future needs based on strategic plans for the organization. The HR staff then takes the lead in proposing which types of HRP will be undertaken and when, and in making suggestions with regard to comprehensiveness, planning time frame, and job categories and levels. Final decisions on these matters are usually the prerogative of line management. Once an approach has been decided on, task forces of both line managers and HR staff are assembled to design an appropriate forecasting and action planning process and to do any other preliminary work.

Once these processes are in place, the HR staff typically assumes responsibility for collecting, manipulating, and presenting the necessary data to line management and for laying out alternative action plans (including staffing plans). Action planning usually becomes a joint venture between line managers and HR staff, particularly as they gain experience with, and trust for, one another.

Forecasting HR Requirements Forecasting HR requirements is a direct derivative of business and organizational planning. As such, it becomes a reflection of projections about a variety of factors, such as sales, production, technological change, productivity improvement, and the regulatory environment. Many specific techniques may be used to forecast HR requirements; these are either statistical or judgmental in nature, and they are usually tailor-made by the organization. In forecasting future needs, it is essential to consider not just the status of the workforce but also the expected changes in needs due to strategic considerations. Forward-thinking HR experts note that data can inform HRP when it comes to prior needs and trends, but effective planning also entails considering how changes in the internal and external environments will alter forecasts.20

Statistical Techniques A wide array of statistical techniques are available for use in HR forecasting. Prominent among these are regression analysis, ratio analysis, trend analysis, time series analysis, and stochastic analysis. Examples of three of these techniques are given in Exhibit 3.7.

The use of integrated workforce planning software, which can be


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combined with data from other organizational databases, has made it easier to use these statistical techniques. As we noted earlier, HR practitioners are increasingly expected to support their proposals and plans with hard data. The three techniques shown in Exhibit 3.7 have different strengths and weaknesses, as we will see. We present these approaches in order from those requiring the least amount of data collection to those requiring the most.

Trend analysis is the simplest approach, because it uses data only on previous staffing levels over time to predict future needs. Trend analysis is useful when organizations have data mostly on historical staffing levels with less detailed information on specific predictors. The decomposition of data into specific time periods of demand is often used in health care and retail settings, where staffing levels vary greatly over the course of a year and even at different times of the day.

EXHIBIT 3.7 Examples of Statistical Techniques to Forecast HR Requirements

(A)   Trend Analysis 1. Gather data on staffing levels over time and arrange in a

spreadsheet with one column for employment levels and another column for time.

2. Predict trend in employee demand by fitting a line to trends in historical staffing levels over time (this can be done by using regression or graphical methods in most spreadsheet programs).

3. Calculate period demand index by dividing each period’s demand by the average annual demand.

Example: January demand index = Avg. January FTE/Avg. annual FTE

4. Multiply the previous year’s FTEs by the trend figure, then multiply this figure by the period’s demand index.

Example: A retail store finds that the average number of employees over the past five years has been 142, 146, 150, 155, and 160. This represents a consistent 3% increase per year; to predict the next year’s average demand, multiply 160 by 1.03 to show a 3% expected increase. Over this same time period, the store averaged 150 FTEs per month, with an average of 200 FTEs in December. This means the December demand index is 200/150 = 1.33, so its estimate for next year’s December FTE demand will be (160 ×


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1.03) × 1.3 = 219 FTEs.

(B)   Ratio Analysis 1. Examine historical ratios involving workforce size.

2. Assume ratio will be true in future. 3. Use ratio to predict future HR requirements.

(C)   Regression Analysis 1. Statistically identify historical predictors of workforce size.

2. Only use equations with predictors found to be statistically significant.

3. Predict future HR requirements, using equation.

The trend analysis approach implicitly assumes that the pattern of staffing needs in the past will be predictive of the future but does not take any external factors, like the overall state of the economy or product market demand, into account.

Ratio analysis is a more sophisticated approach that uses data from prior sales figures or other operational data to predict expected head count. In the example in Exhibit 3.7, estimates of sales growth are used to predict how many employees will be needed. This technique is useful for incorporating data from other functional areas to predict the future. However, this model cannot directly account for any changes in technology or skill sets that might change these ratios.

The regression analysis technique can be used with historical predictors and can make more statistically precise estimates of future expectations by taking several factors into account simultaneously. In the example, sales data and new customer data from organizational records are used to predict staffing needs in the past. Then the estimates from these predictions are combined with projections for the future to generate future FTE


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requirements. This procedure is more thorough than the ratio analysis approach, which incorporates only a single predictor of workforce size. However, collecting enough data to make good estimates can be time- consuming and requires judgment calls.

Judgmental Techniques Judgmental techniques represent human decision-making models that are used for forecasting HR requirements. Unlike statistical techniques, judgmental techniques use a decision maker who collects and weighs the information subjectively and then turns it into forecasts of HR requirements. The decision maker’s forecasts may or may not agree very closely with those derived from statistical techniques. This is not necessarily a weakness of either approach. Ideally, the precision of statistical techniques should be coupled with on-the-ground knowledge represented by judgmental techniques to provide estimates that have both rigor and relevance.

Implementation of judgmental forecasting can proceed from either a top- down or bottom-up approach. In the former, top managers of the organization, organizational units, or functions rely on their knowledge of business and organizational plans to predict what future head counts should be. At times, these projections may, in fact, be dictates rather than estimates, necessitated by strict adherence to the business plan. Such dictates are common in organizations undergoing significant change, such as restructuring, mergers, and cost-cutting actions.

In the bottom-up approach, lower-level managers make initial estimates for their unit (e.g., department, office, or plant) on the basis of what they have been told or presume are the business and organizational plans. These estimates are then consolidated and aggregated upward through successively higher levels of management. Then, top management establishes the HR requirements in terms of numbers.

Scenario Planning Scenario planning is a technique that has been explored in a variety of fields to predict future outcomes in an uncertain environment.21 The previous methods we have described are all designed to give a specific estimate of the number of people who will be needed in the organization in the future. Scenario planning provides a range of estimates based on various possible changes in the external and internal environments. For example, ratio analysis uses forecasts of future product demand to predict how many FTEs will be required; in our example in Exhibit 3.7, 100 FTEs will be required based on sales forecasts. Scenario planning provides a range of possible FTE requirements based on a variety of potential product demand


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levels; thus, three distinct estimates of FTE requirements will be developed for worst-case, expected, and best-case demand levels.

The advantage of scenario planning is that it allows HRP to incorporate uncertainty and prepare for the unexpected. Because it explicitly acknowledges ways that the future might be different from the past, it also incorporates judgmental techniques. Considering all the complex factors that go into various scenarios is often challenging, so simulation software is often part of the process. These programs allow managers to change various features of a situation to see how an outcome (in this case, projected FTEs) will change. Evidence suggests that the process of doing scenario planning can change the ways decision makers think by promoting more holistic views of a problem that incorporate a wide range of factors.22

Forecasting HR Availabilities In Exhibit 3.6, head-count data are given for the current workforce and their availability as forecast in each job category/level. These forecasted figures take into account movement into and out of each job category/level and exit from the organizational unit or the organization. Described below are three approaches for forecasting availabilities: manager judgment, Markov Analysis, and replacement and succession planning.

Manager Judgment Individual managers may use their judgment to make availability forecasts for their work units. This is especially appropriate in smaller organizations or in ones that lack centralized workforce internal mobility data and statistical forecasting capabilities. Continuing the example from Exhibit 3.6, assume the manager is asked to make an availability forecast for the entry sales job category A1. The template to follow for making the forecast and the results of the forecast are shown in Exhibit 3.8. To the current staffing level in A1 (100) is added likely inflows to A1 (10), and then likely outflows from A1 (37) are subtracted to yield the forecasted staffing availability (73). Determining the inflow and outflow numbers requires judgmental estimates as to the numbers of promotions, transfers, demotions, and exits. As shown at the bottom of Exhibit 3.8, promotions involve an upward change of job level within or between job categories, transfers are lateral moves at the same job level across job categories, and demotions are downward changes of job level within or between job categories. Separate forecasts may be done for the other job category/levels (A2, B1, and B2).

EXHIBIT 3.8 Manager Forecast of Future HR Availabilities


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NOTE: Promotion is A1 to A2, A1 to B2, B1 to B2, or B1 to A2; transfer is A1 to B1, A2 to B2, B1 to A1, or B2 to A2; demotion is A2 to A1, A2 to B1, B2 to B1, or B2 to A1.

To provide reliable estimates, the manager must be very knowledgeable about both organizational business plans and individual employee plans or preferences for staying in their current job versus moving to another job. Knowledge of business plans will be helpful in judging the likely internal mobility opportunities for employees. Business expansion, for example, will likely mean expanding internal mobility opportunities. Knowledge of employee plans or preferences will help pinpoint which employees are likely to change jobs or leave the work unit or organization.

The estimated staffing availability (n = 73) in Exhibit 3.8 coincides closely with the availability estimate (n = 71) derived from forecasting based on Markov Analysis results, discussed below. This is intentional. Markov Analysis uses historical mobility data and probabilities to forecast future availabilities, while manager judgment uses current knowledge of business and employees’ plans to forecast employee movements person by person. Results from these two approaches to availability forecasts will not necessarily coincide. When there are discrepancies, they can be resolved by considering why there are differences. For example, a manager may underestimate future needs because she or he has not seen a full presentation of recent data, or alternatively, the Markov Analysis approach may not take internal cultural factors driving turnover into account.

Markov Analysis Markov Analysis uses historical patterns of job stability and movement among employees to predict availabilities. Consider again the four job category/levels (A1, A2, B1, and B2) in the sales and customer service unit in Exhibit 3.6. Note that between any two time periods, the following possibilities exist for each employee in the internal labor market:


1. Job stability (remain in A1, A2, B1, or B2) 2. Promotion (move to a higher level: A1 to A2, A1 to B2, B1 to B2, or

B1 to A2) 3. Transfer (move at the same level: A1 to B1, B1 to A1, A2 to B2, or B2

to A2) 4. Demotion (move to a lower level: A2 to A1, A2 to B1, B2 to B1, or B2

to A1) 5. Exit (move to another organizational unit or leave the organization)

These possibilities may be thought of in terms of flows and rates of flow or movement rates. Past flows and rates may be measured and then used to forecast the future availability of current employees. For example, if it is known that the historical promotion rate from A1 to A2 is .10 (10% of A1 employees are promoted to A2), we might predict that A1 will experience a 10% loss of employees due to promotion to A2 over the relevant time period.

The elements of Markov Analysis are shown in Exhibit 3.9 for the organizational unit originally presented in Exhibit 3.6. Refer first to part A of Exhibit 3.9, where movement rates between two time periods (T and T+1) are calculated for four job category/level combinations. This is accomplished as follows. For each job category/level, take the number of employees at time period T, and use this number as the denominator for calculating job stability and movement rates. Next, for each of these employees, determine which job category/level they were employed in at T+1. Then, sum up the number of employees in each job category/level at T+1, and use these as the numerators for calculating stability and movement rates. Finally, divide each numerator separately by the denominator. The result is the stability and movement rates expressed as proportions, also known as transition probabilities. The rates for any row (job category/level) must add up to 1.0.

EXHIBIT 3.9 Use of Markov Analysis to Forecast Availabilities


page 114For example, consider job category/level A1. Assume that at time T in the past, A1 had 400 people. Further assume that at T+1, 240 of these employees were still in A1, 40 had been promoted to A2, 80 had been transferred to B1, 0 had been promoted to B2, and 40 had exited the organizational unit or the organization. The resulting transition probabilities, shown in the row for A1, are .60, .10, .20, .00, and .10. Note that these rates sum to 1.00.

By referring to these figures, and the remainder of the transition probabilities in the matrix, an organization can begin to understand the workings of the unit’s internal labor market. For example, it becomes clear that 60%–80% of employees experienced job stability and that exit rates varied considerably, ranging from 10% to 35%. Promotions occurred only within job categories (A1 to A2, B1 to B2), not between job categories (A1 to B2, B1 to A2). Transfers were confined to the lower of the two levels (A1 to B1, B1 to A1). Only occasionally did demotions occur, and only within a job category (A2 to A1). Presumably, these stability and movement rates reflect specific staffing policies and procedures that were in place between T and T+1.

With these historical transitional probabilities, it becomes possible to forecast the future availability of the current workforce over the same time interval, T and T+1, assuming that the historical rates will be repeated over the time interval and that staffing policies and procedures will not change. Refer now to part B of Exhibit 3.9. To forecast availabilities, simply take the


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current workforce column and multiply it by the transition probability matrix shown in part A. The resulting availability figures (note that these are the same as those shown in Exhibit 3.6) appear at the bottom of the columns: A1 = 71, A2 = 22, B1 = 140, and B2 = 22. The remainder of the current workforce (80) is forecast to exit and will not be available at T+1.

Limitations of Markov Analysis. Markov Analysis is an extremely useful way to capture the underlying workings of an internal labor market and then use the results to forecast future HR availabilities. It is, however, subject to some limitations.23

The first and most fundamental limitation is that of sample size, or the number of current workforce employees in each job category/level. As a rule, it is desirable to have 20 or more employees in each job category/level. Transition probabilities based on small samples yield unstable estimates of future availabilities. Markov Analysis also does not detect multiple moves by employees between T and T+1; it only classifies employees and counts their movement according to their beginning (T) and ending (T+1) job category/level, ignoring any intermittent moves. To minimize the number of undetected multiple moves, it is necessary to keep the time interval consistent with organizational promotion and transfer rates.

The job category/level combinations created to serve as the unit of analysis can also be problematic. These must be meaningful to the organization for the HRP purposes of both forecasting and action planning. Thus, extremely broad categories (e.g., managers or researchers) and categories without any level designations should be avoided. Note that this recommendation may conflict somewhat with organizations with a non- bureaucratic or team-based structure.

Finally, the transition probabilities reflect only gross, average employee movement and not the underlying causes of the movement. Stated differently, all employees in a job category/level are assumed to have an equal probability of movement. This is unrealistic because organizations take many factors into account (e.g., seniority, performance appraisal results, and KSAOs) when making movement decisions about employees. This is where manager discretion should supplement data-based estimates.

Individual Internal Forecasts Both the managerial judgment and Markov Analysis approaches are designed to estimate future internal HR availabilities for large numbers of employees. Replacement and succession planning focus on identifying individual employees who will be considered for promotion. Through replacement and succession planning, the organization constructs internal talent pipelines that ensure steady and known flows of qualified employees


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to higher levels of responsibility and impact. An increasing body of research suggests that effective succession planning at top executive ranks is associated with superior firm performance, while ineffective succession plans can have catastrophic consequences.24

Replacement and succession planning can occur at any and all levels of the organization. They are most widely used at the management level, starting with the chief executive officer and extending downward to the other officers or top managers. They can also be used throughout the entire management team, including the identification and preparation of individuals for promotion into entry-level management. They may also be used for linchpin positions—ones that are critical to organization effectiveness (such as senior scientists in the research and development function of a technology-driven organization) but not necessarily housed within the management structure.

Replacement Planning. Replacement planning focuses on identifying individual employees who will be considered for promotion and thoroughly assessing their current capabilities and deficiencies. Training and development plans to improve the fit between capabilities and requirements are also developed. The focus is thus on both the quantity and the quality of availability. The results of replacement planning are shown on a replacement chart, an example of which is shown in Exhibit 3.10. The chart is based on the previous sales–customer service unit in Exhibit 3.6. The focus is on replacement planning for the sales manager (A2) from the ranks of sales associates (A1) as part of the organization’s “grow your own,” promotion-from-within HR strategy. The top part of the chart indicates the organizational unit and jobs covered by replacement planning, as well as the minimum criteria for promotion eligibility. The next part shows the information for the incumbent department manager (Woo) and the two eligible sales associates (Williams and Stemke) in the menswear department at the Cloverdale store. The key data are length of service, overall performance rating, and promotability rating. When the incumbent sales manager (Woo) is promoted to group sales manager, both sales associates will be in the promotion pool. Williams will likely get the position because of her “ready now” promotability rating. Given his relatively short length of service and readiness for promotion in less than one year, Stemke is probably considered a “star” or a “fast tracker” whom the organization will want to promote rapidly. Similar replacement charts could be developed for all departments in the store and for all hierarchical levels up to and including store manager. Replacement chart data could then be aggregated across stores to provide a corporate composite of talent availability.


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The process of replacement planning has been greatly accelerated by human resources information systems (HRISs). Many HRISs make it possible to keep data on KSAOs for each employee based on job history, training, and outside education. Software also allows organizations to create lists of employees who are ready to move into specific positions, and to assess potential risks that managers or leaders will leave the organization. The ability to keep track of employees across the organization by standardized inventories of skill sets means that staffing managers will be able to compare a variety of individuals for new job assignments quickly and consistently. A large database of candidates also makes it possible to seek out passive internal job candidates who are not actively looking for job changes but might be willing to take new positions if offered. Many organizations that use integrated database systems to track candidates across a variety of locations report that they are able to consider a larger pool of candidates than they would with a paper-based system. Some HRISs automatically alert HR when key positions become open, and thus the process of finding a replacement can get under way quickly. The development of comprehensive replacement planning software is typically quite expensive, with costs reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars. The software is probably most useful for large organizations that are able to capitalize on the costs of a large system. However, smaller organizations may find it possible to create their own databases of skills as a means of facilitating the internal replacement process.25

Succession Planning. Succession plans build on replacement plans and directly tie into leadership development. The intent is to ensure that candidates for promotion will have the specific KSAOs and general competencies required for success across their careers. The key to succession planning is assessing each promotable employee for KSAO or competency gaps and then creating employee training and development plans that will close those gaps. A survey conducted by SHRM showed that over half of HR professionals indicated that their organization had implemented some form of succession planning.26

EXHIBIT 3.10 Replacement Chart Example


page 118Continuing the example from replacement planning, Exhibit 3.11 shows a succession plan for the two promotable sales associates. The organization has developed a set of general leadership competencies for all managers, and for each management position (such as department sales manager), it indicates which of those competencies are required for promotion, in addition to the minimum eligibility requirements. It is the focus on these competencies, and the development plans to instill them in candidates for promotion who lack them, that differentiates replacement and succession planning.


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EXHIBIT 3.11 Succession Plan Example

Organizational Unit: Merchandising—Soft Goods Department: Menswear Position to Be Filled: Department Sales Manager (A2) Leadership Competencies Required

Plan work unit activities Budget preparation and monitoring Performance management of sales associates

Eligible Replacement

Promotability Rating

Competency Gaps

Development Plans

S. Williams Ready now Budget prep Now completing in- house training course

L. Stemke Ready in < 1 year

Plan work Shadowing sales manager

Budget prep Starting in- house training course

Perf. mgt. Serving as sales manager 10 hours per week

Taking course on performance management at university extension

It can be seen that Williams, who is “ready now,” has no leadership competency gaps, with the possible exception of an in-house training course on budget preparation and monitoring, which she is currently completing. Stemke, while having “star” potential, must undertake development work. When he successfully completes that work, he will be promoted to sales manager as soon as possible. Alternatively, he might be placed in the organization’s acceleration pool. This pool contains high-potential individuals like Stemke from within the organization who are being groomed for management positions generally, and for rapid


acceleration upward, rather than progressing through the normal promotion paths.

Replacement and succession planning require both training and managers’ time and expertise to direct them. Effective performance appraisal and training and development systems are also necessary. For example, overall performance and promotability ratings, assessment of competency gaps, and development plans need to be integrated as regular components of the organization’s practices and culture. Promotability and development assessments require managers to make tough and honest decisions. A study of successful succession management in several Fortune 500 organizations concluded, “Succession management is possible only in an organizational culture that encourages candor and risk taking at the executive level. It depends on a willingness to differentiate individual performance and a corporate culture in which the truth is valued more than politeness.”27

Reconciliation and Gaps The reconciliation and gap determination process is best examined by means of an example. Exhibit 3.12 presents the reconciliation and gap determination process by way of the example in Exhibit 3.6. Attention is now directed to the reconciliation and gaps column. It represents the results of bringing together requirements and availability forecasts with the results of external and internal environmental scanning. Gap figures must be decided on and entered in the column, and the likely reasons for the gaps need to be identified.

Let’s first consider job category/level A1. A relatively large shortage is projected due to a mild expansion in requirements coupled with a substantial drop in availabilities. This drop is not due to an excessive exit rate but to losses through promotions and job transfers (refer back to the availability forecast in Exhibit 3.9).

For A2, decreased requirements coupled with increased availabilities lead to a projected surplus. Clearly, changes in current staffing policies and procedures will have to be made to stem the availability tide, such as a slowdown in the promotion rate into A2 from A1, or to accelerate the exit rate, such as through an early retirement program.

Turning to B1, note that a huge shortage is forecast. This is due to a major surge in requirements and a substantial reduction in availabilities. To meet the shortage, the organization could increase the transfer of employees from A1. While this would worsen the already-projected shortage in A1, it might be cost-effective and would beef up the external staffing for A1 to cover the exacerbated shortage. Alternately, a massive external staffing


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program could be developed and undertaken for B1 alone. Or, a combination of internal transfers and external staffing for both A1 and B1 could be attempted. To the extent that external staffing becomes a candidate for consideration, this will naturally spill over into other HR activities, such as establishing starting-pay levels for A1 and B1. Finally, a very different strategy would be to develop and implement a major retention program for employees in customer service.

EXHIBIT 3.12 Operational Format and Example of Human Resource Planning

For B2 there is a small projected shortage. This gap is so small, however, that for all practical purposes it can be ignored. The HRP process is too imprecise to warrant concern over such small gap figures.

In short, the reconciliation and gap phase of HRP involves coming to grips with projected gaps and the likely reasons for them. Quite naturally, thoughts about future implications begin to creep into the process. Even in the simple example shown, it can be seen that considerable action will have to be contemplated and undertaken to respond to the forecasting results for the organizational unit. That will involve mixtures of external and internal staffing, with compensation as another likely HR ingredient. Through action planning, these possibilities become real.



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After the HRP process is complete, it is time to move toward the development of specific plans for staffing. This is a vital phase of the planning process, in which staffing objectives are developed and alternative staffing activities are generated. The objectives are the targets the organization establishes to determine how many employees will be needed and in which job categories. The activities are the specific methods, including recruiting and selection strategies, that will be used to meet these objectives. We devote special attention in this section to one of the most critical decisions made during staffing planning: Should the organization use a core workforce or a flexible workforce, or should parts of the workforce be outsourced?

Staffing Planning Process

Staffing Objectives Staffing objectives are derived from identified gaps between requirements and availabilities. Thus, these objectives respond to both shortages and surpluses. They may require the establishment of quantitative and qualitative targets.

Quantitative targets should be expressed in head count or FTE form for each job category/level and will be very close in magnitude to the identified gaps. Indeed, to the extent that the organization believes in the gaps as forecast, the objectives will be identical to the gap figures. A forecast shortage of 39 employees in A1, for example, should be transformed into a staffing objective of 39 accessions (or something close to it) to be achieved by the end of the forecasting time interval. Exhibit 3.13 illustrates these points. For each cell, enter a positive number for head-count additions and a negative number for head-count subtractions.

EXHIBIT 3.13 Setting Numerical Staffing Objectives

NOTE: The objective is to close each gap exactly.


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Qualitative staffing objectives refer to the qualities of people in KSAO- type terms. For external staffing objectives, these may be stated in terms of averages, such as average education level for new hires and average scores on ability tests. Internal staffing objectives of a qualitative nature may also be established. These may reflect desired KSAOs in terms of seniority, performance appraisal record over a period of years, types of on- and off- the-job training, and so forth.

The results of replacement and succession planning, or something similar to that, will be very useful to have as well.

Generating Alternative Staffing Activities With quantitative and, possibly, qualitative objectives established, it is necessary to begin identifying possible ways of achieving them. At the beginning stages of generating alternatives, it is not wise to close the door prematurely on any of them. Exhibit 3.14 provides a full range of options for dealing with employee shortages and surpluses. As with previous planning processes, the focus is not on specific programs at this stage but rather on broad classes of potential activities.

As shown in the exhibit, both short- and long-term options for shortages, involving a combination of staffing and workload management, are possible. Short-term options include utilizing current employees better (through more overtime, productivity increases, and buybacks of vacation and holidays), outsourcing work to other organizations (subcontracts, transferring work out), and acquiring additional employees on a short-term basis (temporary hires and assignments). Long-term options include staffing additional employees (recalling former employees, transferring in employees from other work units, adding new permanent hires), enhancing skills (retraining), and pushing work to other organizations (transferring work out).

EXHIBIT 3.14 Staffing Alternatives to Deal With Employee Shortages and Surpluses


page 124Assessing and Choosing Alternatives As should be apparent, a veritable smorgasbord of alternative


staffing activities are available to address staffing gaps. Each of these alternatives needs to be assessed systematically to help decision makers choose from among them.

The goal of assessment is to identify one or more preferred activities. A preferred activity offers the highest likelihood of attaining the staffing objective within the time limit established, at the least cost or at a tolerable cost, and with the fewest negative side effects. A wide variety of metrics are available to assess potential activities. First, a common set of assessment criteria (e.g., time for completion, cost, and probability of success) should be identified and agreed on. Second, each alternative should be assessed according to each of these criteria. In this way, all alternatives will receive equal treatment, and tendencies to jump at an initial alternative will be minimized.

All of these alternatives must be considered within the broader context of how the organization creates and structures its workforce. This involves the key strategic issue of core versus flexible workforce usage. The choice should be considered in light of the organization’s staffing philosophy, in particular, the difference between an internal and external emphasis. Many of the staffing activity alternatives are more applicable to one type of workforce than another.

Core Workforce A core workforce is defined as regular full-time and part-time employees of the organization. The key advantages of a core workforce are stability, continuity, and predictability. The organization can depend on its core workforce and build strategic plans based on it. Several other advantages accrue to the organization from using a core workforce. The regularity of the employment relationship fosters a sense of commitment and shared purpose toward the organization’s mission. In addition, the organization maintains the legal right to control employees working in its behalf, in terms of both work process and expected results, rather than having to divide or share that right with organizations providing a flexible workforce, such as temporary employment agencies. Finally, the organization can directly control how it acquires its workforce and the qualifications of those it employs through the management of its own staffing systems. By doing so, the organization may build not only a highly qualified workforce but also one more likely to be retained, thus lessening pressure to continually restaff.

A core workforce also has several disadvantages. The implied permanence of the employment relationship “locks in” the organization’s workforce, with a potential loss of staffing flexibility to rapidly increase, reduce, or redeploy its workforce in response to changing market conditions


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and project life cycles. Reducing the core workforce can be very costly in terms of severance pay packages, low morale, and damage to the organization’s reputation as a good employer. Additionally, the labor costs of the core workforce may be greater than those of the flexible workforce due to (1) higher wages, salaries, and benefits for the core workforce, and (2) the fixed nature of these labor costs, relative to the more variable costs associated with a flexible workforce. By using a core workforce, the organization incurs numerous legal obligations— particularly taxation and employment law compliance—that could be fully or partially avoided through the use of flexible workforce providers, which would be the actual employer. Finally, use of a core workforce may deprive the organization of new technical and administrative knowledge that could be infused into it by use of flexible workers such as programmers and consultants.

Consideration of these numerous advantages and disadvantages needs to occur separately for various jobs and organizational units covered by the HR plan. In this way, usage of a core workforce proceeds along selective, strategic lines. Referring back to the original example in Exhibit 3.6, staffing planners should do a unique core workforce analysis for the sales and customer service unit, and within that unit, for both sales and customer service jobs at the entry and managerial levels. The analysis may result in a decision to use only full-time core workers for the managerial jobs, both full-time and part-time core workers for sales jobs, and full-time core customer service representatives augmented by both full-time and part-time temporary customer service representatives during peak sales periods. Once the job and work unit locations of the core workers have been determined, specific staffing planning for effective acquisition must occur. This involves planning of recruitment, selection, and employment activities; these topics will be covered in subsequent chapters.

Flexible Workforce The two major components of the flexible workforce are temporary employees provided by a staffing firm and independent contractors. Planning for usage of the flexible workforce must occur in tandem with core workforce planning; hence, it should begin with a review of the advantages and disadvantages of a flexible workforce.28

The key advantage is staffing flexibility. The flexible workforce may be used for adjusting staffing levels quickly in response to changing technological or consumer demand conditions and to ebbs and flows of orders for products and services. Other flexibility advantages are the ability to quickly staff new areas or projects and the ability to fill in for core


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workers absent due to illness, vacations, and holidays. Relative to the core workforce, the flexible workforce may also present labor cost advantages in the form of lower pay and benefits, more variable labor costs, and reduced training costs. Another advantage for the organization is possibly being relieved of many tax and employment law obligations, since flexible workers are often not considered employees of the organization.

The flexible workforce, especially in the professional and technical ranks, may also be an important source of new knowledge about organizational best practices and new skills not present in the core workforce. In a related vein, organizations use temporary or interim top executives to fill in until a permanent hire is found, to spur change, and to launch special projects requiring their expertise. However, most evidence suggests that temporary or interim executives often perform significantly worse than their more established, permanent counterparts, so the decision to use a flexible managerial workforce needs to be undertaken carefully, and only if it is a good match to the organization’s strategic needs.29

These numerous advantages must be weighed against several potential disadvantages. Research clearly demonstrates that contingent workers are significantly less committed to their employers, and therefore are less likely to engage in extra-role behaviors, like volunteering to help coworkers, providing creative suggestions, or exerting exceptional effort during times of high demand. The legal loss of control over flexible workers is another major concern. Although the organization has great flexibility in initial job assignments for flexible workers, it is very limited in the amount of supervision and performance management it can conduct for them. Exacerbating the situation, frictions between core and flexible workers may also arise. Core workers, for example, may feel that flexible workers lack knowledge and experience, and do not act like committed team players. Also, flexible workers may lack familiarity with equipment, policies, procedures, and important customers; such deficiencies may be compounded by a lack of training in specific job requirements. Finally, the quality of the flexible workforce depends heavily on the quality of the staffing and training systems used by the provider of the flexible workers. The organization may end up with flexible but poorly qualified workers.

Staffing Firms Recall that staffing firms (also called temporary help agencies) are the legal employers of the workers being supplied, though matters of co-employment may arise. Hence, the staffing firm conducts recruitment, selection, training, compensation, performance appraisal, and retention activities for the flexible workers. The firm is also responsible for on-site supervision and


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management, as well as all payrolling and the payment of legally required insurance premiums. For such services, the firm charges the organization a general fee for its labor costs (wages and benefits) plus a markup percentage of labor costs (usually 40%–50%) to cover these services’ costs plus provide a profit. There may be additional charges for specially provided services, such as extra testing or background checks or skill training. Temp-to-perm workers may be hired away from the firm (with its permission and for a special fee) by the organization to become regular employees in the core workforce. For larger clients the firm may provide an on-site manager to help the organization plan its specific staffing needs, supervise and appraise the performance of the temporary workers, handle discipline and complaints, and facilitate firm–organization relations. With such additional staffing services, the firm functions increasingly like a staffing partner rather than just a staffing supplier.

Use of a staffing firm requires advanced planning, rather than a panicky phone call to a firm at the moment of staffing need. In addition to becoming aware of firms that might be accessed, it is wise to become familiar with their characteristics and services. Shown in Exhibit 3.15 are the various factors and issues to become knowledgeable about for any firm.

EXHIBIT 3.15 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Staffing Firm

Factor Issues

Agency and Its Reputation

How long in business; location; references from clients available.

Types of Workers Provided

What occupation and KSAO levels; how many available.

Planning and Lead Time

Does agency help client plan staffing levels and needs; how quickly can workers be provided.

Services Provided Recruitment What methods are used; how targeted and

truthful is recruitment process. Selection What selection techniques are used to assess

KSAOs. Training What types of training, if any, are provided

before workers are placed with client. Wages and Benefits

How are wages determined; what benefits are provided.


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Orientation How does the agency prepare workers for assignment with client; does agency have an employee handbook for its workers.

Supervision How does agency supervise its workers on site of client; does agency provide on-site manager.

Temp-to-Perm Does agency allow client to hire its temporary workers as permanent employees.

Client Satisfaction

How does agency attempt to gauge client satisfaction with services, workers, costs.

Worker Effectiveness

Punctuality and Attendance

Does the agency monitor these; what is its record with previous clients.

Job Performance

Is it evaluated; how are the results used.

Retention How long do workers remain on an assignment voluntarily; how are workers discharged by the agency.

Cost Markup What is the percentage over base wage

charged to client (often it is 50% to cover benefits, overhead, profit margin).

For Special Services

What services cost extra beyond the markup (e.g., temp-to-perm); what are those costs.

When the organization chooses a firm, both parties should enter into a formal written agreement. The agreement should cover such matters as specific services to be provided, costs, steps to ensure that the flexible workers are employees of the firm (such as having an on- site manager for them), and the process for terminating the firm– organization relationship. It is best to have legal counsel prepare and review the agreement.

The organization may decide to establish its own in-house staffing firm. When this is done, the employees of the firm may even be employees of the organization. Managers thus have readily available flexible workers to whom they can turn, without having to go through all the planning steps mentioned above.

Independent Contractors An independent contractor (IC) provides specific task and project assistance to the organization, such as maintenance, bookkeeping, advertising, programming, and consulting. The IC can be a single individual (self-


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employed, freelancer) or an employer with its own employees. Neither the IC nor its employees are intended to be employees of the organization utilizing the IC’s services, and care should be taken to ensure that the IC is not treated like an employee (see Chapter 2).30

As with staffing firms, the organization must take the initiative to identify and check out ICs for possible use in advance of when they are actually needed. It is desirable to solicit and examine references from past or current clients of the IC. In addition, as much as possible the organization should seek to determine how the IC staffs, trains, and compensates any employees. This could occur during a preliminary meeting with the IC. If a single individual will be working as an IC, it is advisable to use some of the same tools we describe later in the book for assessing job candidates, including an assessment of KSAOs through a standardized interview process and collection of references related to these characteristics.

Outsourcing Outsourcing of work functions can be defined as the transfer of a business process to an external organization. This is a more drastic step than simply using ICs or temporary employees. The primary difference is that when processes are outsourced, the organization expects to receive a completely finished product from the external source. This means the organization does not direct or control the way in which work is performed; rather, it only receives the end result of the work.

Within the HR department, it has become the norm for organizations to completely outsource routine or highly specialized tasks, including payroll, benefits, legal compliance, or development of online recruiting strategies. Other core functions like employee training, performance tracking, compensation system administration, and recruiting system management can also be outsourced. Smaller organizations without the resources for multiple HR staff are especially likely to use outsourcing.31

Organizations outsource for a variety of reasons. An obvious reason for outsourcing of manufacturing and routine information-processing tasks is the availability of less expensive labor in the global market. Often, specialized vendors can achieve economies of scale for routine tasks that are performed across a variety of organizations. Organizations also outsource functions that have highly cyclical demand so that they do not have to make major capital outlays and go through the cost of hiring and training permanent workers to perform tasks that may not be needed in the future. Sometimes organizations outsource functions that require specific expertise that cannot be economically generated in-house. Smaller organizations that require legal services, for example, often choose


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to hire an external law firm rather than establish their own pool of legal specialists. As we have noted, many organizations also outsource routine business functions, such as having third-party vendors take care of payroll or benefits administration tasks.

One variant of outsourcing is termed “offshoring,” which means that products or services are provided by an external source outside the country where the organization’s core operations take place.32 The outsourcing of manufacturing to lower-wage countries has a long history, and this practice is likely to continue unabated. For example, in the computer industry it is common for large companies to have many subcomponent electronic parts manufactured by third-party vendors overseas, with final assembly of products performed domestically. Many companies have outsourced routine computer programming and telephone help services to third-party providers in India because of the availability of a highly skilled labor force that typically draws only a fraction of the wages paid in North America. Offshoring is no longer limited to blue- and pink-collar jobs. There has been a dramatic increase in offshoring white-collar technical and professional work in the twenty-first century, fueled by improvements in global education, an increasingly positive climate for business in China and India, and increased demand for products and services in multinational organizations.

The decision to outsource is likely to be controversial. Outsourcing is usually done for activities that have low added value for the organization. Normal transactional or procedural work that is easily replicated is likely to be outsourced. Best practices identified by research across many studies suggest that outsourcing of routine functions that is focused on enhancing efficiency and cost savings can have a positive outcome for firm performance, at the price of reduced flexibility and responsiveness created by the bureaucracy needed to manage the relationship with an external partner. Other firms also engage in outsourcing for the purpose of acquiring technical knowledge that they cannot replicate in-house. Such interactions can increase innovation, especially if the company maintains a “hands-off” relationship with the external partner so they can truly generate innovative solutions to problems. On the other hand, a simpler picture emerges when it comes to outsourcing core functions related to strategy development and implementation. Outsourcing these functions almost always leads to worse performance.33

Additionally, offshoring has been the focus of media and political scrutiny. Extremely low wages and dangerous working conditions provided by external partners in foreign countries have created a backlash against certain companies that have offshored manufacturing jobs. Negative press about poor working conditions in overseas “sweatshops” has


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been especially prominent in the clothing industry. When outsourcing, an organization needs to make certain that it is not losing too much control over its major work processes. Just because a business process has been outsourced does not mean that the organization has lost the responsibility (and this sometimes includes legal liability) for the actions of external partners.

DIVERSITY PLANNING Diversity programs arise out of a recognition that the labor force is becoming more demographically and culturally diverse. Diversity planning in staffing requires developing a strategy to recruit and select a diverse group of employees. Another major focus of diversity programs is the assimilation and adaptation of a diverse workforce.

To foster workforce diversity and to help strengthen the diversity– organizational effectiveness link, organizations have designed and implemented a wide variety of diversity initiatives and programs. Many of these initiatives involve staffing, as a diverse workforce must be actively identified, acquired, deployed, and retained. Most organizations supplement the staffing component of their diversity initiatives with many other programs, including diversity training for managers and employees to heighten awareness and acceptance of diversity, mentoring relationships, work/life balance actions such as flexible work schedules, team building, and special career and credential-building job assignments.

Demography of the American Workforce In part, organizations need to take diversity into account because the workforce has become more diverse. There has been a massive shift in the makeup of the American workforce over the past 30 years.34 Once excluded from large portions of the workforce, women now make up half of the labor force, along with making up a majority of university graduates. There has also been a dramatic increase in the ethnic and racial diversity of the workforce. Immigration into the United States has brought large numbers of Latinos and Asians, and the progress of civil rights legislation has removed previous barriers to employment faced by African Americans. Legislation and technology have combined to make accommodations that allow the entry of individuals with disabilities into the workforce more feasible. The age diversity of the workforce has increased over time, as greater numbers of individuals continue working into their sixties and seventies. There has also been an increased presence of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees in the workforce, which has


been accompanied by numerous state and local statutes making sexual orientation and/or gender identity a protected class.35

These shifts in the makeup of the workforce have permanently altered the requirements for successful HR management. Surveys conducted by SHRM suggest that managers are especially concerned about the loss of skills due to the retirement of baby boomers, increases in medical expenses that arise as the workforce ages, and employee elder-care responsibilities.36 A host of other issues have been identified as arising from demographic changes, including providing work-life benefits for dual-career couples and developing multilingual training materials for workers who primarily speak a language other than English.

Business Case for Diversity There is a strong impetus for effectively managing a diverse workforce. In fact, many argue that above and beyond the ethical need to treat all employees fairly and with respect, there is a financial imperative to manage diversity effectively.37 Many investigations of diversity and firm performance have shown that simply increasing the number of people from diverse backgrounds does little to help firm performance—the potential gains from a diverse workforce are realized only when a culture is supportive of diversity. As we noted in the introductory chapter, there are two ways organizations can address issues related to diversity. In passive diversity planning, the organization reviews all policies and practices to ensure there is no discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, disability status, age, or other protected classes covered locally. In active diversity planning, the organization goes a step further by encouraging underrepresented groups to apply for positions, actively recruiting from a variety of sources that are likely to be seen by underrepresented groups, and providing additional training and mentoring to encourage the advancement of underrepresented groups.

There are certain advantages of an active diversity management strategy. Exhibit 3.16 illustrates ways in which an effective diversity management strategy can enhance organizational effectiveness in several domains. It should be noted that these are not speculative staffing outcomes—all are supported by prior research findings. In some areas, like legal compliance, the goal is to minimize negative consequences. However, the foundation of diversity management should be based on the potential advantages of effective diversity management. It is more productive for an organization to emphasize diversity management as an opportunity for gain, rather than as a way of protecting against a threat. Emphasizing the positive impact that all workers will see when diversity is managed effectively will also enhance


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managerial motivation to implement diversity-oriented policies.38 At the same time, there are costs associated with these active diversity

efforts that must be considered, as additional recruiting, selection, and training programs do not come for free. Empirical evidence suggests that despite the conceptual advantages of having more diverse points of view in work groups, demographically diverse teams are not more effective than more homogenous teams.39 Active diversity efforts that are specifically directed to some groups of employees and not others may unintentionally send a message to members of the demographic majority that they are less welcome in the organization. Therefore, an organization needs to carefully consider how to engage in active diversity planning and select the right mix of passive and active strategies to maximize organizational effectiveness.

EXHIBIT 3.16 Making the Business Case for Diversity

Area of Concern Effective Diversity Management

Legal and policy compliance

• Avoids lawsuits • Minimizes operational disturbances • Prevents negative press due to

government investigations Staffing levels • Broadens base of candidates from which

to select • Increases diversity of employee KSAOs • Improves potential to respond to

environmental change • Improves retention of employees

Employee attitudes and behavior

• Enhances engagement • Creates perceptions of justice • Fosters cooperation and collaboration

among employees Product/service

market • Increases insight into diverse customer

groups’ preferences • Heightens sensitivity in interacting with

the public • Improves relationships with communities

and regulatory agencies

Planning for Diversity


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Whether an organization adopts an active or passive diversity strategy, there are several ways that workforce diversity should be taken into account in the staffing planning process. First and foremost, top management must state that diversity goals are important and will be measured.40 Clear communications regarding diversity strategies should be made, and updated frequently, to remind employees of the importance of nondiscrimination for the organization’s mission.

Many recruiting activities can help enhance the diversity of the workforce. One such activity is to advertise positions in media sources that target a variety of demographic groups.41 Organizations that wish to increase the diversity of their workforce may also consider recruiting at colleges, universities, and other institutions that have large numbers of underrepresented minorities. These efforts can have a major impact on employee attitudes. Studies show that women and minorities prefer to work at companies that show a commitment to diversity in their recruiting efforts. Internally, organizational promotion efforts should target qualified members of underrepresented groups, possibly supplemented with mentoring programs to overcome gaps in skills.42

There are also techniques that can incorporate diversity into the selection process. Requirements that might lead to lower representation of traditionally underrepresented groups should be considered carefully, and if they are not absolutely necessary for job performance, they should be eliminated. Additionally, efforts to incorporate objective standards for judging candidate qualifications and policies that encourage nondiscrimination have been shown to diminish the extent of discrimination in the hiring process.43

Unfortunately, evidence suggests that many organizations do not take demographic shifts in the workplace into account when developing staffing plans. Programs to help dual-career couples manage work and child-care arrangements are implemented in a rather scattered fashion, with some organizations doing little to recognize the needs of such families. Other organizations have failed to adequately address the needs of employees with disabilities, even though disability rights advocates note that most accommodations are relatively inexpensive and do not affect core job tasks. Often, the needs of older workers are also overlooked. A survey of over 700 organizations found that 77% of companies had not analyzed projected retirement rates of their workforce or had done so to only a limited extent.44 Similarly, data show that about a third of employers report that they do not have enough programs for the recruitment and training of older workers.45

Research shows that diversity-oriented practices, including targeted recruitment, inclusion of women and African Americans on the top management team, work/family accommodations, the creation of AAPs, and


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diversity councils, can increase the racial and gender diversity of the organization’s entire managerial workforce.46 The effects of such practices on the composition of the nonmanagerial workforce are not well known, nor have the effects of these practices on organizational performance been documented. Similar programs with a strong behavioral component designed to improve the representation of individuals with disabilities and older workers should also be considered. It is interesting to note that while concrete programs like those mentioned above have been highlighted as improving workforce diversity, attitude-based diversity training interventions have not shown as much effectiveness.

The Aging Workforce The aging workforce has proven to be a recent staffing challenge facing organizations (and individuals seeking employment). It is estimated that the number of individuals who are more than 74 years old and still employed has increased by a whopping 172% over the 1977– 2007 period. However, this growth significantly tapered off after the Great Recession, with employment rising by a mere 3% between 2007 and 2016.47 Although many older individuals continued to work after the Great Recession out of financial necessity (many saw their retirement portfolios shrink to substandard levels), their continued push for employment, even as the economy has rebounded, is due to other factors. Not only are people living longer, but many jobs are not as physically demanding as they were in previous generations, allowing individuals to work well past the traditional retirement age.

Older workers are frequently burdened by myths and stereotypes that may influence employers’ perceptions of their competence and potential for success. Such myths include perceptions that older workers are poor performers, unmotivated, unhealthy, and resistant to change and skill acquisition. A recent meta-analysis of these stereotypes found that most are exaggerations. Less willingness to train on the part of older workers was the sole exception, although the magnitude of this effect was not great. Thus, the increasing number of older individuals seeking employment presents both opportunities and challenges for selection systems.48

LEGAL ISSUES The major legal issues in HR and staffing planning are AAPs and diversity programs. AAPs originate from many sources—voluntary employer efforts, court-imposed remedies for discriminatory practices, conciliation or consent agreement, and requirements as a federal contractor. Regardless of the


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source, all AAPs seek to rectify the effects of past employment discrimination by increasing the representation of certain groups (minorities, women, veterans, and qualified individuals with disabilities) in the organization’s workforce. This is achieved through establishing and actively pursuing hiring and promotion goals for these groups. As described above, diversity programs are undertaken for competitive reasons, rather than as a legal response to discrimination. However, diversity programs may share components with AAPs.

This section describes the general content of AAPs, discusses the affirmative action requirements for federal contractors under AAP regulations, and provides some general indications as to the legality of AAPs and diversity programs.

Affirmative Action Plans AAPs are organization-specific plans that, as noted above, have a legal origin and basis. They precede diversity programs, which organizations typically undertake for strategic business reasons rather than legal ones. Often, however, the structure and content of AAPs and diversity programs are very similar. While AAPs are organization specific, they all share a common architecture composed of three major components—availability analysis of women and minorities, placement (hiring and promotion) goals derived from comparing availability with incumbency (percentages of women and minority employees), and action- oriented programs for meeting the placement goals. These components, and accompanying details, are spelled out in the federal regulations put forth and enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The Federal Contractor Compliance Manual may also be consulted (

Affirmative Action Programs Regulations All but very small federal contractors must develop and implement AAPs according to the OFCCP’s affirmative action regulations. Below are a summary of those regulations and a sample of an AAP for small employers from the OFCCP website. The contractor must develop a separate AAP for each of its establishments with more than 50 employees. With advance approval from the OFCCP, the contractor may sidestep separate establishment plans by developing a functional plan that covers employees in discrete functional or business units, even though they are in different locations. All employees must be included in either AAP. The description that follows is for an establishment plan. It uses race, ethnicity, and job category designations on the EEO-1 form (see Chapter 13). OFCCP race,


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ethnicity, and job category designations are somewhat different. Usage of either EEOC or OFCCP designations is acceptable.

Organization Display. An organization display depicts the staffing pattern within an establishment. It provides a profile of the workforce at the establishment, and it assists in identifying units in which women or minorities are underrepresented. Key elements are a showing of organizational structure of lines of progression (promotion) among jobs or organization units, the total number of job incumbents, the total number of male and female incumbents, and the total number of male and female incumbents in each of the following groups: Hispanic and Latino, white, black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Asian, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and two or more races.

Job Group Analysis. Jobs with similar content, wage rates, and opportunities (e.g., promotion, training) must be combined into job groups, and each group must include a list of job titles. Small establishments (fewer than 150 employees) may use the categories on the EEO-1 form: executives/senior level officials and managers, first/mid-level officials and managers, professionals, technicians, sales workers, administrative support workers, craft workers, operatives, laborers and helpers, and service workers. The percentage of minorities and the percentage of women (determined in the previous step) employed in each job group must be indicated.

Availability Determination. The availability of women and minorities must be determined separately for each job group. At a minimum, the following two factors should be considered when determining availability:

1. The percentage of minorities or women with requisite skills in the reasonable recruitment area

2. The percentage of minorities or women among those promotable, transferable, and trainable within the organization

Current census data, job service data, or other data should be consulted to determine availability. When there are multiple job titles in a job group, with different availability rates, a composite availability figure for the group must be calculated. This requires summing weighted availability estimates for the job titles.

Exhibit 3.17 shows an example of availability determination for a single job group based on the EEO-1 form. Listed on the left are the two availability factors that must be considered. Shown next are the raw statistic


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availability estimates for females and minorities (summed across the four minority groups) for both of the availability factors (refer to the “Source of Statistics” column to see the sources of data for these estimates). Next, the value weights represent an estimate of the percentages of the total females and minorities available according to each availability factor (50% for each group). The weighted statistics represent the raw statistics multiplied by the value weight (e.g., 41.8% × .50 = 20.9%). A summation of the weighted statistics yields the total availability estimate percentages (47.6% for female, 18.1% for minority).

Comparison of Incumbency With Availability. For each job group, the percentages of women and minority incumbents must be compared with their availability. When the percentage employed is less than would reasonably be expected by the availability percentage, a placement goal must be established.

Exhibit 3.18 compares incumbency with availability for eight job groups, including job group 1. The comparisons are shown separately for females and minorities. Where incumbency is less than availability, the organization may decide to establish a placement goal. In job group 1, it was concluded that the differences between availability and incumbency percentages for both females and minorities were sufficient to warrant placement goals (47.6% for females and 18.1% for minorities). Note that an incumbency percentage less than an availability percentage does not automatically trigger a placement goal (e.g., females in job group 5).

How does the organization decide whether to set a placement goal for females or minorities in a job group? The OFCCP permits some latitude. One possibility is to set a placement goal whenever incumbency is less than availability, on the theory that any differences between availability and incumbency represent underutilization of females and minorities. A second possibility is based on the theory that some differences in percentages are due to chance, so some amount of tolerance of differences is permissible. The suggested rule is 80% tolerance. This means that if the ratio of incumbency percentage to availability percentage is greater than 80%, no placement goal is needed. If the ratio is less than 80%, a placement goal must be set. The 80% rule was followed in Exhibit 3.18. Though the incumbency percentage for females was less than the availability percentage in both job groups 1 and 5, the difference was less than 80% in only job group 1, triggering a placement goal just for that group.

EXHIBIT 3.17 Determining Availability of Minorities and Women


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SOURCE: Sample Affirmative Action Program for Small Employers, 2004 (

EXHIBIT 3.18 Determining Affirmative Action Goals: Comparing Incumbency With Availability and Annual Placement Goals


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NOTE: The 80% rule of thumb is followed in declaring underutilization and establishing goals when the actual employment of minorities or females is less than 80% of their availability. If the female/minority incumbency percentage (%) is less than the female/minority availability percentage (%) and the ratio of incumbency to availability is less than 80%, a placement goal should be included in the appropriate “If Yes” column. SOURCE: Sample Affirmative Action Program for Small Employers, 2004 (

Placement Goals. If an annual placement goal is set, it should at least equal the availability percentage for women or minorities in a job group. Placement goals may not be rigid or inflexible quotas; quotas are expressly forbidden. Placement goals do not require hiring a person who lacks the qualifications to perform the job successfully, or hiring a less qualified person in preference to a more qualified one.

Designation of Responsibility. An official of the organization must be


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designated as responsible for the implementation of the AAP.

Identification of Problem Areas. The organization must evaluate the following:

Problems of minority or female utilization or distribution in each job group Personnel activity (applicant flow, hires, terminations, and promotions) and other personnel actions for possible selection disparities Compensation systems for possible gender-, race-, or ethnicity-based disparities Selection, recruitment, referral, and other procedures to see whether they result in disparities in employment or advancement of minorities or women

Action-Oriented Programs. The organization must develop and execute action-oriented programs to correct any identified problem areas and attain placement goals. Specific examples of these programs are shown in Exhibit 3.19.

Internal Audit and Reporting. An auditing system must be developed that periodically measures the effectiveness of the total AAP.

Legality of AAPs and Diversity Programs AAPs have been controversial since their inception, and there have been many challenges to their legality. Questions of legality involve complex issues of constitutionality, statutory interpretations, differences in the structure of the AAPs being challenged in the courts, claims that affirmative action goals represent hiring quotas, and, very importantly, differences in the amount of weight placed on race or gender in the ultimate selection decisions made about job applicants.

EXHIBIT 3.19 Examples of Action-Oriented Programs for an AAP

1. Conducting annual analyses of job descriptions to ensure they accurately reflect job functions;

2. Reviewing job descriptions by department and job title using performance criteria;

3. Making job descriptions available to recruiting sources and to all


members of management involved in the recruiting, screening, selection, and promotion processes;

4. Evaluating the total selection process to ensure freedom from bias through: a. Reviewing job applications and other preemployment forms to

ensure information requested is job related; b. Evaluating selection methods that may have a disparate

impact to ensure that they are job related and consistent with business necessity; and

c. Training in EEO for management and supervisory staff. 5. Using techniques to improve recruitment and increase the flow of

minority and female applicants: a. Include the phrase “Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action

Employer” in all printed employment advertisements; b. Place help-wanted advertisements, when appropriate, in local

minority news media and women’s interest media; c. Disseminate information on job opportunities to organizations

representing minorities, women, and employment development agencies when job opportunities occur;

d. Encourage all employees to refer qualified applicants; e. Actively recruit at secondary schools, junior colleges, and

colleges and universities with predominantly minority or female enrollment; and

f. Request employment agencies to refer qualified minorities and women.

6. Hiring a statistical consultant to perform a self-audit of compensation practices; and

7. Ensuring that all employees are given equal opportunity for promotion: a. Post promotional opportunities; b. Offer counseling to assist employees in identifying promotional

opportunities, and offer training and educational programs to increase promotions and opportunities for job rotation or transfer; and

c. Evaluate job requirements for promotion.

SOURCE: Adapted from Sample Affirmative Action Program for Small Employers, 2010 (


page 141Despite these problems, it is possible to provide several conclusions and recommendations regarding affirmative action. AAPs in general are legal in the eyes of the Supreme Court. However, to be acceptable, an AAP should be based on the following guidelines:49

The plan should have as its purpose the remedying of specific and identifiable effects of past discrimination. The plan should address the current underutilization of women and/or minorities in the organization, using goals and not quotas or setting aside positions. Regarding non-minority and male employees, the plan should not unsettle their legitimate expectations, should not result in their discharge or layoff and replacement with minority or women employees, and should not create an absolute bar to their promotion. The plan should be temporary and should be eliminated once affirmative action goals have been achieved.50 All candidates for positions should be qualified for those positions. The plan should include organizational enforcement mechanisms as well as a grievance procedure.

Court rulings on the constitutionality of federal and state government AAPs suggest that even more strict guidelines than these may be necessary. Insofar as these programs are concerned, racial preferences are subject to strict constitutional scrutiny. They may be used only when there is specific evidence of identified discrimination, when the remedy has been narrowly tailored to only the identified discrimination, when only those who have suffered discrimination may benefit from the remedy, and when other individuals will not carry an undue burden, such as job displacement, from the remedy. Lesser scrutiny standards may apply for gender preferences.51 Some states have even banned the use of AAPs by government employers, contractors, and educational institutions.52

Turning to diversity programs, the EEOC states the following about how they differ from AAPs, as well as their permissibility:

Diversity and affirmative action are related concepts, but the terms have different origins and legal connotations. Workforce diversity is a business management concept under which employers voluntarily promote an inclusive workplace. Employers that value diversity create a culture of respect for individual differences in order to “draw talent and ideas from all segments of the population” and thereby potentially gain a “competitive advantage in the increasingly global economy.” Many employers have concluded that a diverse workforce makes a company stronger, more profitable, and a better place to work, and they implement diversity initiatives for competitive reasons rather


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than in response to discrimination, although such initiatives may also help to avoid discrimination.

Title VII permits diversity efforts designed to open up opportunities to everyone. For example, if an employer notices that African Americans are not applying for jobs in the numbers that would be expected given their availability in the labor force, the employer could adopt strategies to expand the applicant pool of qualified African Americans such as recruiting at schools with high African American enrollment. Similarly, an employer that is changing its hiring practices can take steps to ensure that the practice it selects minimizes the disparate impact on any racial group. For example, an employer that previously required new hires to have a college degree could change this requirement to allow applicants to have a college degree or two years of relevant experience in the field. A need for diversity efforts may be prompted by a change in the population’s racial demographics, which could reveal an underrepresentation of certain racial groups in the work force in comparison to the current labor pool.53

AAPs for Veterans and Individuals With Disabilities There are specific AAP regulations for federal contractors under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Though each law has its own regulations, the regulations include many common requirements, most importantly for staffing:

1. Establishing an annual hiring goal (8% for veterans and 7% for qualified individuals with disabilities)

2. Conducting a review of personnel processes to ensure they provide for careful, thorough, and systematic consideration of the job qualifications of applicants and employees for job vacancies filled by hiring or promotion and for training opportunities

3. Reviewing all physical or mental job qualifications to ensure that they do not tend to screen out individuals with disabilities or veterans, and that the qualifications are job related and consistent with business necessity

4. Providing reasonable accommodation for physical and mental limitations, unless it would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business

5. Undertaking appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities (many suggested activities are listed) and evaluating their effectiveness annually

6. Inviting voluntary self-identification by applicants pre-offer, and employees post-offer, of disabilities and veteran status


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EEO and Temporary Workers The EEOC has provided guidance on coverage and responsibility requirements for temporary employment agencies (and other types of staffing firms) and their client organizations.54 When both the agency and the client exercise control over the temporary employee and both have the requisite number of employees, they are considered employers and jointly liable under the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the ADA, and the Equal Pay Act. It should be noted that these laws also apply to individuals placed with organizations through welfare-to-work programs. The agency is obligated to make referrals and job assignments in a nondiscriminatory manner, and the client may not set discriminatory job referral and job assignment criteria. The client must treat the temporary employees in a nondiscriminatory manner; if the agency knows this is not happening, the agency must take any corrective actions within its control. The agency, the client, or both parties could face substantial penalties for noncompliance (e.g., back pay, front pay, and compensatory damages). There is special guidance for ADA-related issues.

SUMMARY Internal and external forces shape the conduct and outcomes of HRP. The key forces and trends that emerge are organizational strategy, organizational culture, labor markets, and technology.

HRP is a process and set of activities conducted to forecast future HR requirements and availabilities, resulting in the identification of likely employment gaps (shortages and surpluses). Action plans are then developed for addressing the gaps. Before HRP begins, initial decisions must be made about its comprehensiveness, planning time frame, job categories and levels to be included, how to “count heads,” and the roles and responsibilities of line and staff (including HR) managers.

A variety of statistical and judgmental techniques may be used in forecasting. Those used in forecasting requirements are typically used in conjunction with business and organization planning. For forecasting availabilities, techniques must be used that take into account the movements of people into, within, and out of the organization, on a job-by-job basis. Here, manager judgment, Markov Analysis, and replacement and succession planning are suggested as particularly useful techniques.

Staffing planning is a form of action planning. It is shown to generally require setting staffing objectives, generating alternative staffing activities, and assessing and choosing from among those alternatives. A fundamental


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alternative involves the use of core or flexible workforces, as identified in staffing strategy. Plans must be developed for acquiring both types of workforces, and the advantages and disadvantages of each type should be reviewed to reaffirm strategic choices about the use of each. After this step, planning can begin. For the core workforce, this involves matters of staffing philosophy that will guide the planning of recruitment, selection, and employment activities. For the flexible workforce, the organization should establish early contact with the providers of the flexible workers (i.e., staffing firms and independent contractors). Organizational leaders should also consider the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing some jobs at this point.

Changes in the demographic makeup of the workforce suggest that organizations need to take employee diversity into account in the planning process. Activities to address a diverse workforce include recruiting, selection, training, development, and retention.

AAPs are an extension and application of general HR and staffing planning. AAPs have several components. The Affirmative Action Programs Regulations, which apply to federal contractors, specify requirements for these components. The legality of AAPs has been clearly established, but the courts have fashioned limits to their content and scope. To clarify how EEO laws apply to temporary employees and agencies, the EEOC has issued specific guidance.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What are ways in which the organization can ensure that KSAO

deficiencies do not occur in its workforce? 2. What types of experiences, especially staffing-related ones, will an

organization be likely to have if it does not engage in HR and staffing planning?

3. Why are decisions about job categories and levels so critical to the conduct and results of HRP?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing succession planning for all levels of management instead of just top management?

5. What is meant by reconciliation, and how can it be useful as an input to staffing planning?

6. What criteria would you suggest using for assessing the staffing alternatives shown in Exhibit 3.14?

7. What problems might an organization encounter in creating an AAP that it might not encounter in regular staffing planning?


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ETHICAL ISSUES 1. Does an organization have an ethical responsibility to share with all of

its employees the results of its forecasting of HR requirements and availabilities? Does it have an ethical responsibility not to do this?

2. Identify examples of ethical dilemmas an organization might confront when developing an AAP.


Markov Analysis and Forecasting

The Doortodoor Sports Equipment Company sells sports clothing and equipment for amateur, light sport (running, tennis, walking, swimming, badminton, and golf) enthusiasts. It is the only company in the nation that does this door-to-door, seeking to bypass the retail sporting goods store and sell directly to the customer. Its salespeople have sales kits that include both sample products and a full-line catalog they can use to show the products and discuss them with customers. The sales function is composed of full- time and part-time salespeople (level 1), assistant sales managers (level 2), and regional sales managers (level 3).

The company has decided to study the internal movement patterns of people in the sales function, as well as forecast their likely availabilities in future time periods. The results will be used to help identify staffing gaps (surpluses and shortages) and to develop staffing strategy and plans for future growth.

To do this, the HR department first collected data for 2014 and 2015 to construct a transition probability matrix, as well as the number of employees for 2016 in each job category. It then wanted to use the matrix to forecast availabilities for 2017. The following data were gathered:

Use these data to answer the following questions:

1. Describe the internal labor market of the company in terms of job stability (staying in same job), promotion paths and rates, transfer


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paths and rates, demotion paths and rates, and turnover (exit) rates. 2. Forecast the numbers available in each job category in 2017. 3. Indicate potential limitations to your forecasts.

Deciding Whether to Use Flexible Staffing The Kaiser Manufacturing Company (KMC) has been in existence for over 50 years. Its main products are specialty implements for use in both the crop and the dairy herd sides of the agricultural business. Products include special attachments for tractors, combines, and discers and add-on devices for milking and feeding equipment that enhance the performance and safety of the equipment.

KMC has a small corporate office and four manufacturing plants (two in the Midwest and two in the South). It has a core workforce of 725 production workers, 30 clerical workers, 32 engineers and professional workers, and 41 managers. All employees are full time, and KMC has never used either part-time or temporary workers. Those in charge of staffing feel very strongly that the strategy of using only a core workforce has paid big dividends over the years in attracting and retaining a committed and highly productive workforce.

Sales have been virtually flat at $175 million annually since 2012. At the same time, KMC has begun to experience more erratic placement of orders for its products, making sales less predictable. This appears to be a reflection of more turbulent weather patterns, large swings in interest rates, new entrants into the specialty markets, and general uncertainty about the future direction and growth of the agricultural industry. Increased unpredictability in sales has been accompanied by steadily rising labor costs. This is due to KMC’s increasingly older workforce, as well as shortages of all types of workers (particularly production workers) in the immediate labor markets surrounding the plants.

Assume you are the HR manager responsible for staffing and training at KMC. You have just been contacted by a representative of the Flexible Staffing Services (FSS) Company, Mr. Tom Jacoby. Mr. Jacoby has proposed meeting with you and the president of KMC, Mr. Herman Kaiser, to talk about FSS and how it might be of service to KMC. You and Mr. Kaiser agree to meet with Mr. Jacoby. At that meeting, Mr. Jacoby makes a formal presentation to you in which he describes the services, operation, and fees of FSS and highlights the advantages of using a more flexible workforce. During that meeting, you learn the following from Mr. Jacoby.

FSS is a recent entrant into what is called the staffing industry. Its general purpose is to furnish qualified employees to companies (customers) on an as-needed basis, thus helping the customer implement a flexible staffing


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strategy. It furnishes employees in four major groups: production, clerical, technical, and professional/managerial. Both full-time and part-time employees are available in each of these groups. Employees may be furnished to the customer on a strictly temporary basis (“temps”) or on a “temp-to-perm” basis, in which the employees convert from being temporary employees of FSS to being permanent employees of the customer after a 90-day probationary period.

For both the temp and the temp-to-perm arrangements, FSS offers the following services. In each of the four employee groups it will recruit, select, and hire people to work for FSS, which will in turn lease them to the customer. FSS performs all recruitment, selection, and employment activities. It uses a standard selection system for all applicants, composed of an application blank, reference checks, drug testing, and a medical exam (given after making a job offer). It also offers customized selection plans in which the customer chooses from among a set of special skill tests, a personality test, an honesty test, and background investigations. Based on the standard and/or custom assessments, FSS refers to the customer what it views as the top candidates. FSS tries to furnish two people for every vacancy, and the customer chooses from between the two.

New hires at FSS receive a base wage that is similar to the market wage, as well as close to the wage of the customer’s employees with whom they will be directly working. In addition, new hires receive a paid vacation (one week for every six months of employment, up to four weeks), health insurance (with a 25% employee co-pay), and optional participation in a 401(k) plan. FSS performs and pays for all payroll functions and deductions. It also pays the premiums for workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation.

FSS charges the customer as follows. There is a standard fee per employee furnished of 1.55 × base wage × hours worked per week. The 1.55 is labeled “markup”; it covers all of FSS’s costs (staffing, insurance, benefits, and administration) plus a profit margin. On top of the standard fee is an additional fee for customized selection services. This fee ranges from .50 to .90 × base wage × hours worked per week. Finally, there is a special one-time fee for temp-to-perm employees (a finder’s fee of one month’s pay), payable after the employee successfully completes the 90-day probationary period and becomes an employee of the customer.

Mr. Jacoby concludes his presentation by stressing three advantages of flexible staffing as provided by FSS. First, use of FSS employees on an as- needed basis will give KMC greater flexibility in its staffing to match fluctuating product demand, as well as movement from completely fixed labor costs to more variable labor costs. Second, FSS provides considerable


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administrative convenience, relieving KMC of most of the burden of recruitment, selection, and payrolling. Finally, KMC will experience considerable freedom from litigation (workers’ comp, EEO, torts) since FSS and not KMC will be the employer.

After Mr. Jacoby’s presentation, Mr. Kaiser tells you he is favorably impressed, but that the organization clearly needs to do some more thinking before it embarks on the path of flexible staffing and the use of FSS as its provider. He asks you to prepare a brief preliminary report including the following:

1. A summary of the possible advantages and disadvantages of flexible staffing

2. A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of using FSS as a service provider

3. A summary of the type of additional information you recommend gathering and using as part of the decision-making process

ENDNOTES   1. W. Bliss, “Engaging in Strategic Planning,” SHRM Templates and Toolkits, Mar.

21, 2013 (   2. D. Ulrich, J. Younger, W. Brockbank, and M. Ulrich, HR From the Outside In

(New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012); M. Fiester, “Practicing Strategic Human Resources,” SHRM Templates and Toolkits, Mar. 21, 2013 (; D. Ulrich, J. Allen, W. Brockbank, J. Younger, and M. Nyman, HR Transformation: Building Human Resources From the Outside In (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009); D. Ulrich, J. Younger, W. Brockbank, and M. Ulrich, HR Transformation (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009); P. M. Wright, J. W. Boudreau, D. A. Pace, E. Sartain, P. McKinnon, and R. L. Antoine, The Chief HR Officer: Defining the New Role of Human Resource Leaders (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011).

  3. M. L. Davis, “The CHRO as Cultural Champion,” in P. M. Wright, J. W. Boudreau, D. A. Pace, E. Sartain, P. McKinnon, and R. L. Antoine (eds.), The Chief HR Officer: Defining the New Role of Human Resource Leaders (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011), pp. 93–97.

  4. S. Hargreaves, “Jobs With the Lowest (and Highest) Unemployment,” CNN Money, Jan. 7, 2013 (

  5. A. Hogan and B. Roberts, “Occupational Employment Projections to 2024,” Monthly Labor Review, Dec. 2015 ( 2024.htm).

  6. Hogan and Roberts, “Occupational Employment Projections to 2024.”   7. A. Spitz-Oener, “Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational

Demands: Looking Outside the Wage Structure,” Journal of Labor Economics, 2006, 24, pp. 235–270.

  8. Society for Human Resource Management, Critical Skills Needs and Resources


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for the Changing Workforce (Alexandria, VA: author, 2008).   9. M. Toossi, “Labor Force Projections to 2024: The Labor Force Is Growing, but

Slowly,” Monthly Labor Review, Dec. 2015 (; S. E. Fleck, “International Comparisons of Hours Worked: An Assessment of the Statistics,” Monthly Labor Review, May 2009, pp. 3-31; E. Lalé, “Multiple Jobholding Over the Past Two Decades,” Monthly Labor Review, Apr. 2015 ( decades.htm); P. J. Kiger, “With Baby Boomers Graying, Employers Are Urged to Act Now to Avoid Skills Shortages,” Workforce Management, 2005, 84(13), pp. 52–54; Manpower Inc., Employment Outlook Survey: United States (Milwaukee, WI: author, 2007).

10. Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Research: Workforce Readiness and Skills Shortages (Alexandria, VA: author, 2015).

11. M. Rich, “Factory Jobs Return, but Employers Find Skills Shortage,” New York Times Online, July 1, 2010.

12. M. J. Handel, “Skills Mismatch in the Labor Market,” Annual Review of Sociology, 2003, 29, pp. 135–165.

13. BMP Forum and Success Factors, Performance and Talent Management Trend Survey 2007 (San Mateo, CA: author, 2007).

14. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employed and Unemployed Full- and Part-Time Workers by Age, Race, Sex and Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity,” Feb. 2016 (

15. M. C. Noonan and J. L. Glass, “The Hard Truth About Telecommuting,” Monthly Labor Review, June 2012, pp. 38–45; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “American Time Use Survey” (, accessed Aug. 21, 2016.

16. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Changing the U.S. Labor Market in 2005,” June 2006 (

17. M. Goos and A. Manning, “Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain,” Review of Economics and Statistics, 2007, 89, pp. 118–133; T. Kristal, “The Capitalist Machine: Computerization, Workers’ Power, and the Decline in Labor’s Share Within US Industries,” American Sociological Review, 2013, 78, pp. 361–389; Spitz-Oener, “Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking Outside the Wage Structure.”

18. HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, “HR Planning” (, accessed Sept. 10, 2016; J. Clarke, “Making the Case for More Effective Workforce Planning,” Workforce Online, Jan. 2010 (; Society for Human Resource Management, “Practicing the Discipline of Workforce Planning,” Dec. 2015 (

19. L. Rubis, “Strategic Planning Not So Hard If Done Right,” HR News, June 26, 2011 (; Society for Human Resource Planning, “Practicing the Discipline of Workforce Planning.”

20. F. Hansen, “Strategic Workforce Planning in an Uncertain World,” Workforce Management Online, Sept. 7, 2011 (

21. S. Overman, “Staffing Management: A Better Forecast,” Staffing Management Magazine, Apr. 1, 2008 (; T. J. Chermack, Scenario Planning in Organizations: How to Create, Use, and Assess Scenarios (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2011).

22. M. B. Glick, T. J. Chermack, H. Luckel, and B. Q. Gauck, “Effects of Scenario Planning on Participant Mental Models,” European Journal of Training and


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Development, 2012, 36, pp. 488–507. 23. H. G. Heneman III and M. H. Sandver, “Markov Analysis in Human Resource

Administration: Applications and Limitations,” Academy of Management Review, 1977, 2, pp. 535–542.

24. W. J. Rothwell, Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent From Within (New York: AMACOM, 2015); S. White, “Ensuring Success in Succession Planning,” Society for Human Resource Management, Mar. 2016 (

25. E. Frauenheim, “Software Products Aim to Streamline Succession Planning,” Workforce Management, Jan. 2006 (

26. S. Fegley, 2006 Succession Planning (Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2006).

27. D. E. Smith, “What’s the Plan on Succession Planning,” Workforce Online, Dec. 2014 (; P. Duarte, “What’s a Succession Plan for an Aging Workforce?” Workforce Online, Jan. 2014 (

28. B. A. Lautsch, “Uncovering and Explaining Variance in the Features and Outcomes of Contingent Work,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2002, 56(1), pp. 23–43; S. J. Ashford, E. George, and R. Blatt, “Old Assumptions, New Work: The Opportunities and Challenges of Research on Nonstandard Employment,” Academy of Management Annals, 2007, 1(1), pp. 65–117; C. L. Wilcin, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Meta-Analysis Comparing Permanent and Contingent Workers,” Journal of Organizational Behavior, 2013, 34(1), pp. 47– 64; J. G. Weikamp and A. S. Göriz, “Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Job Satisfaction: The Impact of Occupational Future Time Perspective,” Human Relations, 2016, 69(11), pp. 2091–2115; R. Maurer, “The Temp Trend Is Permanent,” HR Magazine, Sept. 2015, p. 24; I. Speizer, “Special Report on Contingent Staffing,” Workforce Management, Nov. 2009 (

29. Schumpeter, “Talent on Tap,” Economist, Dec. 10, 2009, p. 74; C. H. Mooney, M. Semadeni, and I. F. Kesner, “Selection of an Interim CEO: Boundary Conditions and the Pursuit of Temporary Leadership,” Journal of Management, 2014, 43(2), 455–475; J. Greenstone Miller and M. Miller, “The Rise of the Supertemp,” Harvard Business Review, May 2012, pp. 50–62.

30. D. Weil, Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1 (Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, 2015); Society for Human Resource Management, Independent Contractor: Audit Checklist for Maintaining Independent Contractor Status (Alexandria, VA: author, 2014).

31. Society for Human Resource Management, Outsourcing the HR Function (Alexandria, VA: author, 2015).

32. P. Babcock, “America’s Newest Export: White-Collar Jobs,” HR Magazine, Apr. 2004, pp. 50–57; B. Tai and N. R. Lockwood, Outsourcing and Offshoring HR Series Part I (Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2006); R. J. Moncarz, M. G. Wolf, and B. Wright, “Service-Providing Occupations, Offshoring, and the Labor Market,” Monthly Labor Review, Dec. 2008, pp. 71–86.

33. A. Fox, “The Ins and Outs of Customer Contact Centers,” HR Magazine Online, May 2010; O. Bertrand and M. J. Mol, “The Antecedents and Innovation Effects of Domestic and Offshore R&D Outsourcing: The Contingent Impact of Cognitive Dissonance and Absorptive Capacity,” Strategic Management Journal, 2013, 34, pp. 751–760; A. Rodríguez and M. Nieto, “Does R&D Offshoring Lead to SME Growth? Different Governance Modes and the Mediating Role of Innovation,” Strategic Management Journal, 2016, 37(8), pp. 1734–1753; W. L.


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Tate and L. M. Ellram, “Service Supply Management Structure in Offshore Outsourcing,” Journal of Supply Chain Management, 2012, 48, pp. 8–29; S. Lahiri, “Does Outsourcing Really Improve Firm Performance? Empirical Evidence and Research Agenda,” International Journal of Management Reviews, 2016, 18, pp. 464–497.

34. L. Lieber, “Changing Demographics Will Require Changing the Way We Do Business,” Employment Relations Today, Fall 2009, pp. 91–96; A. Fox, “At Work in 2020,” HR Magazine Online, Jan. 1, 2010.

35. M. P. Bell, M. F. Özbilgin, T. A. Beauregard, and O. Sürgevil, “Voice, Silence, and Diversity in 21st Century Organizations: Strategies for Inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees,” Human Resource Management, 2011, 50, pp. 131–146.

36. J. Coombs, J. Schramm, and A. Alonso, Workplace Visions: Generational Change in the Workplace (Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2014).

37. S. E. Jackson, A. Joshi, and N. L. Erhardt, “Recent Research on Team and Organizational Diversity: SWOT Analysis and Implications,” Journal of Management, 2003, 29, pp. 801–830; A. Hajro, C. Gibson, and M. Pudelko, “Knowledge Exchange Processes in Multicultural Teams: Linking Organizational Diversity Climates to Teams’ Effectiveness,” Academy of Management Journal, 2015, online before print: amj.2014.0442; S. R. Fitzsimmons, “Multicultural Employees: A Framework for Understanding How They Contribute to Organizations,” Academy of Management Review, 2013, 38, pp. 525–549; Y. Chung, H. Liao, S. E. Jackson, M. Subramony, S. Colakoglu, and Y. Jiang, “Cracking but Not Breaking: Joint Effects of Faultline Strength and Diversity Climate on Loyal Behavior,” Academy of Management Journal, 2015, 58, pp. 1495–1515.

38. R. R. Hastings, “Diversity Efforts Should Include White Employees,” SHRM HR Topics and Strategy, July 7, 2012 (; Society for Human Resource Management, Global Diversity and Inclusion: Perceptions, Practices, and Attitudes (Alexandria, VA: author, 2009).

39. S. T. Bell, A. J. Villado, M. A. Lukasik, L. Belau, and A. L. Briggs, “Getting Specific About Demographic Diversity Variable and Team Performance Relationships: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Management, 2011, 37, 709–743; S. K. Horwitz and I. B. Horwitz, “The Effects of Team Diversity on Team Outcomes: A Meta-Analytic Review of Team Demography,” Journal of Management, 2007, 33, 987–1015; H. van Dijk, M. L. van Engen, and D. van Knippenberg, “Defying Conventional Wisdom: A Meta-Analytical Examination of the Differences Between Demographic and Job-Related Diversity Relationships With Performance,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2012, 119, 38–53.

40. K. Gurchiek, “12 Truths About Spearheading Diversity and Inclusion,” Society for Human Resource Management, Oct. 2016 (; L. H. Nishii, “The Benefits of Climate for Inclusion for Gender-Diverse Groups,” Academy of Management Journal, 2013, 56, pp. 1754–1774.

41. D. R. Avery and P. F. McKay, “Target Practice: An Organizational Impression Management Approach to Attracting Minority and Female Job Applicants,” Personnel Psychology, 2006, 59, pp. 157–187; D. R. Avery, S. D. Volpone, R. W. Stewart, A. Luksyte, M. Hernandez, P. F. McKay, and M. R. Hebl, “Examining the Draw of Diversity: How Diversity Climate Perceptions Affect Job-Pursuit Intentions,” Human Resource Management, 2013, 52, pp.


175–193; D. A. Newman and J. S. Lyon, “Recruitment Efforts to Reduce Adverse Impact: Targeted Recruiting for Personality, Cognitive Ability, and Diversity,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009, 94, pp. 298–317.

42. S. B. Welch, “Diversity as Business Strategy: Company Faced Racial Tensions Head On,” Workforce Management Online, Apr. 2009; Lieber, “Changing Demographics Will Require Changing the Way We Do Business.”

43. J. M. Sacco, C. R. Scheu, A. M. Ryan, and N. Schmitt, “An Investigation of Race and Sex Similarity Effects in Interviews: A Multilevel Approach to Relational Demography,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2003, 88, pp. 852–865; J. C. Ziegert and P. J. Hanges, “Employment Discrimination: The Role of Implicit Attitudes, Motivation, and a Climate for Racial Bias,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2005, 90, pp. 553–562.

44. P. J. Kiger, “Few Employers Addressing Impact of Aging Workforce,” Workforce Management, Jan. 2010, pp. 6–7.

45. A. Nancherla, “Getting to the Foundation of Talent Management,” T + D, Feb. 2010, p. 20.

46. M. E. A. Jayne and R. L. Dipboye, “Leveraging Diversity to Improve Business Performance: Research Findings and Recommendations for Organizations,” Human Resource Management, 2004, 43, pp. 409–424; A. Kalev, F. Dobins, and E. Kelley, “Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies,” American Sociological Review, 2006, 71, pp. 589–617.

47. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Older Workers,” July 2008 (; D. DeSilver, “More Older Americans Are Working, and Working More, Than They Used To,” Pew Research Center, June 20, 2016, ( tank/).

48. C. Dugas, “Tips for Gray-Haired Job Searchers; It Can Be Tough, but Programs Are Out There to Help,” USA Today, Apr. 24, 2013, p. 6B; C. Dugas, “More Older Americans Remaining Part of the Workforce,” USA Today, Jan. 14, 2013, p. 2B; T. W. H. Ng and D. C. Feldman, “Evaluating Six Common Stereotypes About Older Workers With Meta-Analytical Data,” Personnel Psychology, 2012, 65, pp. 821–858.

49. D. J. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, 5th ed. (Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016), pp. 368–372; D. D. Bennett-Alexander and L. P. Hartman, Employment Law for Business, 8th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015), pp. 231–236.

50. For an example of eliminating an AAP once affirmative action goals have been achieved, see A. R. McIlvaine, “Court: Boston Must Hire White Firefighters,” Human Resource Executive, Feb. 2004, p. 13.

51. R. U. Robinson, G. M. Franklin, and R. F. Wayland, Employment Regulation in the Workplace (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2010), pp. 182–219; Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, pp. 272–282.

52. M. P. Crockett and J. B. Thelen, “Michigan’s Proposal 2: Affirmative Action Law Shifts at the State Level,” Legal Report, Society for Human Resource Management, July/Aug. 2007, pp. 5–8.

53. EEOC Compliance Manual, 2006 ( 54. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Enforcement Guidance:

Application of the ADA to Contingent Workers Placed by Temporary Agencies and Other Staffing Firms (Washington, DC: author, 2000).


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Job Analysis and Rewards

Learning Objectives and Introduction Learning Objectives Introduction

The Need for Job Analysis Types of Job Analysis The Changing Nature of Jobs

Job Requirements Job Analysis Overview Job Requirements Matrix Job Descriptions and Job Specifications Collecting Job Requirements Information

Competency-Based Job Analysis Overview Nature of Competencies Collecting Competency Information

Job Rewards Types of Rewards Employee Value Proposition Collecting Job Rewards Information

Legal Issues Job Relatedness and Court Cases Essential Job Functions


Discussion Questions


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Ethical Issues

Applications Conducting a Job Requirements or Job Rewards

Job Analysis Maintaining Job Descriptions



Learning Objectives

Understand the rationale behind job analysis Know the difference between a job description and a job specification Learn about methods for collecting job requirements Understand why competency-based job analysis has grown in prominence Learn about methods for collecting competencies Recognize the types of rewards associated with jobs Become familiar with the legal issues surrounding job analysis

Introduction Once the planning process is complete, the next step in developing an effective, strategic staffing system is to develop a thorough understanding of the jobs to be filled. The process of studying and describing the specific requirements of a job is called job analysis. Anyone who has ever looked for a job is familiar with a traditional job description, which lists the major tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a job. Such descriptions are just part of the wealth of information collected during the job analysis process. As we will see later in the book, job analysis information can be used for identifying recruiting pools, designing selection tools, and assessing and improving employee performance.

At first blush, describing a job may seem to be a straightforward task. However, there are some important considerations that will determine which technique should be employed for collecting this information. In many cases, a traditional task-based job analysis is sufficient to cover both the operational and legal requirements of an organization’s staffing strategy. In other cases, it will make more sense to focus on a general set of KSAOs


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(knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics) that span a wide variety of jobs in the organization. The choice of technique will depend on both the nature of the jobs involved and the organization’s plans for the future.

The chapter begins by explaining the rationale behind job analysis and reviewing the challenges that arise when developing a description of jobs in a changing environment. Then, methods for performing job analysis are discussed. The first approach, job requirements job analysis, is guided by the job requirements matrix, which includes tasks, KSAOs, and job context. Next, competency-based job analysis is described. This approach to job analysis starts from the organization’s mission and goals and then develops a list of the general KSAOs that will help the organization meet these needs. Attention then turns to job rewards, including both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that jobs may provide to employees. Finally, legal issues pertaining to job analysis are addressed.

THE NEED FOR JOB ANALYSIS Jobs are the building blocks of an organization, in terms of both job content and the hierarchical relationships that emerge among them. They are explicitly designed and aligned in ways that enhance the production of the organization’s goods and services. Job analysis thus must be considered within the broader framework of the design of jobs and the organization as a whole, for it is through their design that jobs acquire their requirements and rewards. The information from job analysis will be used in every single phase of the staffing process. In this sense, job analysis is a support activity to the various functional staffing activities. Indeed, without thorough and accurate information about job requirements and/or competencies, the organization is greatly hampered in its attempts to acquire a workforce that will be effective in terms of human resource (HR) outcomes such as performance, satisfaction, and retention. Thus, job analysis is the foundation upon which successful staffing systems are constructed.

Types of Job Analysis Job analysis may be defined as the process of studying jobs in order to gather, analyze, synthesize, and report information about job requirements and rewards (note in this definition that job analysis is an overall process as opposed to a specific method or technique). An organization can approach the job analysis process in several different ways. First, a job requirements job analysis seeks to identify and describe the specific tasks, KSAOs, and job context for a particular job. This type of job analysis aims to be objective and has a very well-developed body of techniques to support its


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implementation. A second type of job analysis, competency-based, attempts to identify and describe job requirements in the form of general KSAOs required across a range of jobs; task and work context requirements are of little concern. Competency-based approaches focus on how jobs relate to organizational strategy. A third approach to job analysis focuses on the rewards employees receive from their work. Unlike the job requirements and competency-based approaches, the rewards-based approach is used to assess what types of positive outcomes employees receive from performing a job. From a staffing perspective, knowing the rewards of a job can be very useful in attracting individuals to apply for, and ultimately accept, jobs in the organization.

To help demonstrate the differences and similarities among job requirements, competency-based, and job rewards methods of job analysis, Exhibit 4.1 describes the method, process, and staffing implications of each of the three types. As can be seen, every phase of the staffing process is rooted in job analysis, from initial planning to retention. Each technique contributes different information and uses different sources. Job requirements analysis is mostly rooted in documenting what employees currently do, competency analysis focuses on how executives see work roles contributing to strategy, and rewards analysis determines what employees get from their jobs. These techniques are not mutually exclusive, of course, and organizations can benefit from using all three methods of analysis simultaneously.

EXHIBIT 4.1 Comparison of Types of Job Analysis

Job Analysis Technique

Job Requirements

Competency Job Rewards

Method Collect information on activities performed on the job and use this information to assess needed KSAOs for each job

Collect information on company strategy and use this information to determine KSAOs and behavioral capabilities needed across the organization

Collect information from employees on preferences and outcomes of jobs and combine with preferences identified in


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the labor market as a whole

Process Review occupational requirements; collect data on tasks, duties, and responsibilities from incumbents and supervisors; develop job requirements matrix

Discuss strategy with executives to determine overall goals, then meet with division or department leaders to review how each job fits with the overall goals

Develop a list of potential rewards for a job and survey job incumbents and leaders

Staffing Implications

Documents task requirements for legal purposes and determines specific KSAOs for selection

Links organizational strategy with planning process and determines broad KSAOs for selection

Provides guidance for how to develop recruiting materials and retention strategies

The Changing Nature of Jobs The traditional way of designing a job is to identify and define its elements and tasks precisely and then incorporate them into a job description. The core task includes virtually all tasks associated with the job, and from it a fairly inclusive list of KSAOs will flow. Thus defined, there are clear lines of demarcation between jobs in terms of both tasks and KSAOs, and there is little overlap between jobs. Each job also has its own set of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Such job design is marked by formal organizational charts, clear and precise job descriptions and specifications, and well-defined relationships between jobs in terms of mobility (promotion and transfer) paths. Also, traditional jobs are very static, with little or no change occurring in tasks or KSAOs.

One challenge to this traditional perspective is that jobs are constantly evolving.1 Generally, these changes are not so radical that a job ceases to exist, and they are often due to technological or workload changes. An


excellent example of such an evolving job is that of administrative assistant. Traditional or core tasks associated with the job include typing, filing, taking dictation, and answering phones. However, in nearly all organizations the job has evolved to include new tasks such as managing multiple projects, creating spreadsheets, purchasing supplies and office technology, and gathering information on the Internet. These task changes led to new KSAO requirements such as planning and coordination skills and knowledge of spreadsheet software. Accompanying these changes is a switch in job title to that of “administrative assistant.” Note that jobs may also evolve due to changing organizational and technology requirements, as well as employee- initiated changes through a process of job crafting.

Another challenge to the traditional view is the need for flexibility. Flexible jobs have frequently changing task and KSAO requirements. Sometimes these changes are initiated by the job incumbent, who constantly adds and drops (or passes off) new assignments or projects in order to work toward moving targets of opportunity. Other times the task changes may be dictated by changes in production schedules, client demands, or technology. Many small-business owners, general managers of start-up strategic business units, and top management members perform such flexible jobs.

Team-based work enhances the need for flexibility and further complicates the process of job analysis. A work team is an interdependent collection of employees who share responsibility for achieving a specific goal. Examples of such goals include developing a product, delivering a service, winning a game, conducting a process, developing a plan, and making a joint decision. No matter its form or function, every team is composed of two or more employees and has an identifiable collection of tasks to perform. Usually, these tasks are grouped into specific clusters, and each cluster constitutes a position or job. A project management team, for example, may have separate jobs and job titles for budget specialists, technical specialists, coordinators, and field staff. While teams differ in many respects, two differences are very important in terms of their job analysis and staffing implications. Many team members perform multiple jobs (rather than a single job). In such cases, staffing must emphasize recruitment and selection for both job-specific KSAOs and job-spanning KSAOs. Many job-spanning KSAOs involve flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to quickly learn skills that will facilitate performing, and switching between, multiple jobs.2 Therefore, job analysis for team-based work has to account for this highly varied and constantly evolving set of task demands.

Finally, the more open and flexible nature of work described above has suggested a need to identify factors that make people go beyond what is simply written in a job description. Job analysis has typically focused on


page 159skills and abilities to a greater degree than motivational factors. As more and more organizations emphasize employee engagement—or the degree to which an employee identifies with and has enthusiasm for his or her work—our analysis of jobs needs to take motivational factors into account. A large-scale study of 7,939 business units showed that organizations whose employees reported above-average levels of engagement performed significantly better (63% of such organizations had above-average levels of performance) than those whose employees were below average on engagement (37% of such organizations had above-average levels of performance).3 One way to incorporate engagement is to consider it a general competency in competency-based job analysis coupled with job rewards analysis. As one reviewer of the engagement literature suggests, “Identify those candidates who are best- suited to the job and your organization’s culture.”4



As noted earlier, job requirements job analysis identifies the tasks, KSAOs, and context for a job. Due to the ambiguous and fluid nature of some jobs, organizations may focus on defining them in terms of competencies rather than specific tasks and KSAOs. Recent developments in job analysis encourage raters to explicitly describe potential changes in future job requirements in an effort to adapt to these jobs.5

Concepts underlying job requirements can be arranged in a hierarchy from observable tasks up to job families. Job requirements job analysis starts with tasks, which are identifiable work activities that are logical and necessary steps in the performance of the job. Task dimensions are groups of similar types of tasks. A job is a grouping of positions that have similar tasks. Jobs that are similar to one another can be grouped into job categories. Finally, a job family is a grouping of jobs according to function. For example, within the community and social service job family there are categories of jobs like health workers, counselors, and social workers. Under this category are specific jobs like mental health counselor and rehabilitation counselor. Tasks like collecting information, developing treatment plans, and counseling clients make up the job of mental health counselor. A position is a grouping of task dimensions that constitutes the total work assignment of a single employee; there are as many positions as there are employees.

A framework depicting job requirements job analysis is shown in Exhibit 4.2. As can be seen, the job analysis begins by identifying the specific tasks


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and job context for a particular job.6 After these have been identified, the KSAOs necessary for performing these tasks within the work context are inferred. For example, after identifying the task of “developing and writing monthly sales and marketing plans” for a sales manager’s job, the job analysis would proceed by inferring which KSAOs are necessary to perform this task. The task might require knowledge of intended customers, arithmetic skills, creative ability, and willingness and availability to travel frequently to various organizational units. Particular job context factors, such as physical demands, may not be relevant to performance of this task or to its required KSAOs. The task and job context information is recorded in a job description, whereas the KSAO requirements are placed in a job specification. In practice, these are often contained within a single document.

EXHIBIT 4.2 Job Requirements Approach to Job Analysis

Job Requirements Matrix The job requirements matrix shows the key components of job requirements job analysis, each of which must be explicitly considered for inclusion. Job information, including the specific tasks, task dimensions, task importance, specific KSAOs, and their importance, must be gathered, analyzed, synthesized, and expressed in a usable form.

A completed job requirements matrix, a portion of which is shown in Exhibit 4.3 for the job of administrative assistant, serves as the basic informational source or document for the requirements of any job. The resultant information serves as a basic input and guide to all subsequent staffing activities.

Referring to Exhibit 4.3, five specific tasks identified via job analysis are


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listed. Note that only a portion of the total tasks of the job is shown. In turn, these have been categorized into two general task dimensions—supervision and document preparation. Their importance to the overall job is indicated with the percentage of time spent on each—30% and 20%, respectively. For each task dimension and its specific tasks, several KSAOs have been inferred to be necessary for performance. The nature of these KSAOs is presented, along with a 1–5 rating of how important each KSAO is for performance of the task dimension. At the bottom of the matrix are indications of job context factors pertaining to work setting (indoors), privacy of work area (cubicle), attire (business clothes), body positioning (mostly sitting and standing), and physical work conditions (no environmental or job hazards).

EXHIBIT 4.3 Portion of Job Requirements Matrix for Job of Administrative Assistant


page 162Task Statements Job analysis begins with the development of task statements. Task statements are objectively written descriptions of the major tasks an employee performs in a job. They serve as the building blocks for the remainder of the job requirements job analysis. The statements are made in simple declarative sentences.

Ideally, each task statement will show several things:

1. What the employee does, using a specific action verb at the start of the task statement

2. To whom or what the employee does what he or she does, stating the object of the verb

3. What is produced, indicating the expected output of the verb 4. What equipment, materials, tools, or procedures are used

In addition to the preceding four requirements, we offer several other suggestions for effectively writing task statements. First, use specific action verbs that have only one meaning. Examples of verbs that do not conform to this suggestion include “supports,” “assists,” and “handles.”

Second, do not include minor or trivial activities in task statements; focus only on major tasks and activities. An exception to this recommendation is when a so-called minor task is judged to have great importance to the job (see the following discussion).

Third, ensure that the list of task statements is reliable.7 A good way to do this is to have two or more people (analysts) independently evaluate the task statement list in terms of both inclusiveness and clarity. Close agreement between people signifies high reliability. If there is disagreement, the nature of the disagreement can be discussed and the task statements can be appropriately modified. It should be acknowledged that differences in task statements are not necessarily an indication of error. Different incumbents may perform their jobs in different ways.8 The final job analysis document should reflect these varying perspectives clearly. Failure to acknowledge this variety can lead to an overly narrow set of desired KSAOs, and may even lead to legal problems if the job analysis documents used to make decisions do not reflect the various ways jobs are actually performed.

Task Dimensions It is useful to group sets of task statements into task dimensions and then attach a name to each such dimension. Other terms for task dimensions are “duties,” “accountability areas,” “responsibilities,” and “performance dimensions.”


page 163 A useful way to facilitate the grouping process is to create a task

dimension matrix. Each column in the matrix represents a potential task dimension. Each row in the matrix represents a particular task statement. Cell entries in the matrix represent the assignment of task statements to task dimensions (the grouping of tasks). The goal is to have each task statement assigned to only one task dimension.

There are many different grouping procedures, ranging from straightforward judgmental ones to highly sophisticated statistical ones.9 For most purposes, a simple judgmental process is sufficient, such as having the people who created the task statements also create the groupings as part of the same exercise. As a rule, there should be four to eight dimensions, depending on the number of task statements, regardless of the specific grouping procedure used. It is important that the grouping procedure yield a reliable set of task dimensions acceptable to managers, job incumbents, and other organizational members.

Task/Dimension Importance Rarely are all tasks/dimensions of a job thought to be of equal weight or importance. Normally, assessments of importance are made just for task dimensions, though it is certainly possible to make them for individual tasks as well.

Before actual weighting can occur, two decisions must be made: (1) the specific attribute of importance to be assessed must be decided (e.g., time spent on the task/dimension, ratings of criticality), and (2) whether the attribute will be measured in categorical terms (e.g., essential or nonessential) or continuous terms (e.g., percentage of time spent, 1–5 rating of importance). Exhibit 4.4 shows examples of the results of these two decisions in terms of commonly used importance attributes and their measurement. Task importance judgments are likely to vary across raters even more than task statements, so it is necessary to collect judgments from several sources.10

KSAOs KSAOs are inferred or derived from knowledge of the tasks and task dimensions themselves. The inference process requires that the analysts think explicitly in specific cause-and-effect terms. For each task or dimension, the analysts must in essence ask themselves, “Exactly which KSAOs do I think will be necessary for performance of this task or dimension?”

Our discussion of KSAOs is grounded in information provided by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network, or O*NET. The


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development and refinement of the O*NET database is ongoing, and many new observations from both job incumbents and trained analysts are being added regularly.11 O*NET contains extensive research-based taxonomies in several categories: occupational tasks, knowledge, skills, abilities, education and experience/training, work contexts, organizational contexts, occupational interests and values, and work styles.12 Additionally, O*NET contains ratings of specific factors within each category for many occupations, and ratings for additional occupations are continually being added. Statistical techniques link O*NET KSAO ratings for a job to specific selection tools, like standardized literacy tests.13 Use of O*NET information is helpful in preparing KSAO statements, but they will probably have to be supplemented with more job-specific statements crafted by the job analyst.

EXHIBIT 4.4 Ways to Assess Task/Dimension Importance

Exhibit 4.5 provides an overview of the distinction among knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics. For each KSAO category, brief examples are given, along with an explanation of their relevance. As the exhibit shows, making a distinction across the categories can have important implications for staffing. For example, abilities must be possessed by the


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candidate at the point of hire, whereas knowledge can be acquired through formal class sessions and skills can be developed while working.

Knowledge. Knowledge is a body of information (conceptual, factual, procedural) that can be applied directly to the performance of tasks. It tends to be quite focused or specific in terms of the job, organization, or occupation. O*NET provides definitions of 33 types of knowledge that might generally be necessary in varying levels in certain occupations, including areas like business and management, manufacturing and production, engineering and technology, mathematics and science, health services, education and training, arts and humanities, law and public safety, communications, and transportation. Knowledge is often divided into declarative and procedural categories. Declarative knowledge is factual in nature, whereas procedural knowledge concerns processes. A surgeon, for example, has declarative knowledge of the symptoms of heart disease and can state them, and also has procedural knowledge of the steps to perform open-heart surgery. Both declarative and procedural knowledge should be reflected in job analysis documents.14

EXHIBIT 4.5 Knowledge, Skill, Ability, and Other Characteristics

KSAO Category What Is It? Examples

Workplace Relevance

Knowledge Information that can be applied to tasks

• Knowing what a solid state drive is and why it’s useful for a computer

• Knowing the steps in writing a job description

• Easily assessed with factual questions

• Forms the basis for communication

• Knowledgeable individuals can train others

Skill Competence for working with or applying knowledge

• Skill in diagnosing and repairing problems with solid state drives

• Skill in efficiently

• Assessed with job simulations or experience

• Directly linked to performance of the job

• Can be learned on the job with


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collecting job analysis information and writing task statements


Ability Underlying trait useful for learning about and performing a task

• Ability to perform fine motor activities

• Ability to understand complex, multistep instructions

• Assessed through abstract tests

• Linked to future potential

• Must be present at selection; very hard to develop

Other characteristics

Characteristics that guide or direct actions

• Motivation to perform well

• Being responsible and organized

• Values consistent with organizational norms

• Challenging to assess because subjective

• Very important for turning KSAs into performance

Skill. Skill refers to an observable competence for working with or applying knowledge to perform a particular task or a closely related set of tasks. A skill is not an enduring characteristic of the person; it depends on experience and practice. Skill requirements are directly inferred from observation or knowledge of tasks performed. Returning to our example, skill refers to the actual demonstrated capacity of the surgeon to perform an operation in an efficient and competent manner.

Considerable research has been devoted to identifying particular job- related skills and organizing them into taxonomies. Job analysts should begin the skills inference process by referring to the results of this research.

O*NET identifies and defines 42 skills applicable across the occupational spectrum. These include basic skills involving acquiring and conveying information, such as reading comprehension, actively listening, mathematics, science, and critical thinking, as well as cross-functional skills more directly related to task performance, such as social skills, complex


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problem solving, resource management, technical skills, and system skills.

Ability. An ability is an underlying, enduring trait of the person that is useful for learning about and performing a range of tasks. It differs from a skill in that it is less likely to change over time and that it is applicable across a wide set of tasks encountered in many different jobs. One can think of ability as the underlying personal characteristics that determine how quickly one can acquire and to what degree one can master the knowledge and skills required for a job.15 Four general categories of abilities are commonly recognized: cognitive (e.g., verbal, quantitative, perceptional, spatial, and memory abilities), psychomotor (e.g., fine manipulative, control movement, and reaction time abilities), physical (e.g., strength, endurance, and coordination abilities), and sensory (e.g., visual and auditory abilities).

Other Characteristics. “Other characteristics” are a variety of factors that are important for determining how individuals will act on the job. These characteristics can be personality traits that describe a person’s preferences or typical behavioral tendencies. While knowledge, skills, and abilities reflect whether someone can do a task, “other characteristics” mostly focus on whether a person wants to do a task or how much effort the person will expend. They can also be a general state of motivation or liking for a specific type of job task, such as a preference for routine or variety, or a preference for working alone or with others. Values are another important set of other characteristics that are crucial for facilitating person/organization match.

All of these traits can be difficult to measure, because they are often more subjective or loosely defined relative to KSAs, and it’s often possible for a job applicant to pretend that he or she has a trait. Despite these difficulties, as we will see later in the book, traits like conscientiousness have been shown to differentiate good from poor performers.

KSAO Importance As suggested in the job requirements matrix, the KSAOs of a job may differ in their weight or contribution to task performance. Hence, their relative importance must be explicitly considered, defined, and indicated. Failure to do so means that all KSAOs will be assumed to be of equal importance by default.

As with task importance, deriving KSAO importance requires two decisions. First, what will be the specific attribute(s) on which importance is judged? Second, will the measurement of each attribute be categorical (e.g., required, preferred) or continuous (e.g., 1–5 rating scale)? Examples of


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formats for indicating KSAO importance are shown in Exhibit 4.6. O*NET uses a 1–5 rating scale format and also provides actual importance ratings for many jobs.

Ratings of KSAO importance generally can be divided into time and importance.16 Time-oriented measures include things like time spent, frequency, and duration scales. Importance includes things like criticality, difficulty, and overall importance. In most organizations, time spent and importance are completely distinct, and so both should be measured to get a full picture of the job’s requirements. It should be noted that there are systematic differences in ratings of time spent and importance across observers. For example, new employees may spend more time developing relationships, whereas established employees spend time maintaining relationships. Thus, multiple perspectives will need to be integrated.

EXHIBIT 4.6 Ways to Assess KSAO Importance

A.  Importance to (acceptable) (superior) task performance 1 = minimal importance 2 = some importance 3 = average importance 4 = considerable importance 5 = extensive importance

B.  Should the KSAO be assessed during recruitment/selection?

□ Yes □ No

C.  Is the KSAO required, preferred, or not required for recruitment/selection?

□ Required □ Preferred □ Not required (obtain on job and/or in training)

EXHIBIT 4.7 Job Context Contained in O*NET

Interpersonal Relationships • Communication • Role relationships • Responsibility for others


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• Conflictual contact

Physical Work Conditions • Work setting • Environmental conditions • Job hazards • Body positioning • Work attire

Structural Job Characteristics • Criticality of position • Routine vs. challenging work • Competition • Pace and scheduling

Job Context As shown in the job requirements matrix, tasks and KSAOs occur within a broader job context. A job requirements job analysis should include consideration of the job context and the factors that are important in defining it. Such consideration is necessary because these factors may have an influence on tasks and KSAOs; further, information about the factors may be used in the recruitment and selection of job applicants. For example, the information may be given to job applicants during recruitment, and consideration of job context factors may be helpful in assessing likely person/organization fit during selection.

O*NET contains a wide array of job and work context factors useful for characterizing occupations. The job context information contained in O*NET involves interpersonal, physical, and structural characteristics, as shown in Exhibit 4.7. These characteristics can be useful for determining additional KSAO requirements and may be especially important for determining whether a job can or cannot be modified to accommodate an individual who is disabled.

Job Descriptions and Job Specifications As previously noted, it is common practice to express the results of job requirements job analysis in written job descriptions and job specifications. Referring back to the job requirements matrix, note that its sections pertaining to tasks and job context are similar to a job description, and the section dealing with KSAOs is similar to a job specification.

There are no standard formats or other requirements for either job descriptions or job specifications. In terms of content,


however, a job description should include the following: job family, job title, job summary, task statements and dimensions, importance indicators, job context indicators, and the date that the job analysis was conducted. A job specification should include job family, job title, job summary, KSAOs (separate section for each), importance indicators, and date conducted. An example of a combined job description/specification is shown in Exhibit 4.8.

Collecting Job Requirements Information Job analysis involves consideration of not only the types of information (tasks, KSAOs, and job context) to be collected but also the methods, sources, and processes to be used for such collection. These issues are discussed next, and as will be seen, there are many alternatives to choose from for developing an overall job analysis system for any particular situation. Potential inaccuracies and other limitations of the alternatives will also be pointed out.17

Methods Job analysis methods represent procedures or techniques for collecting job information. Many specific techniques and systems have been developed and named (e.g., Functional Job Analysis, Position Analysis Questionnaire [PAQ]). Rather than discuss each technique separately, we will concentrate on the major generic methods that underlie all specific techniques and applications.18

Prior Information. Organizations that have performed job analysis in the past will have information on the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of the job as well as the corresponding KSAOs. While such information can be helpful, the changing nature of work suggests that all older information should be considered carefully and evaluated relative to the current set of requirements. In fact, organizations that rely excessively on old information can get into legal trouble if there is a discrepancy between the job on record and the job as it is actually performed.

O*NET, which we discussed in detail earlier, is another starting point for job analysis information. Obvious advantages of O*NET are its flexibility (it can be applied to many different types of jobs) and its ease of use.19 Because the data were collected by professionals across a wide variety of locations, they are also considered to be of high quality. The chief disadvantage of O*NET is that it describes occupations and not jobs. Occupational information indicates what individuals performing a certain job title do across a wide variety of organizational contexts, whereas job information reflects the unique characteristics of how work is done in a


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specific company. In other words, while O*NET has a very well-developed description of what marketing managers do, it cannot say anything about the specific nature of a marketing manager job at Apple.

EXHIBIT 4.8 Example of Combined Job Description/Specification


page 171Observation. Simply observing job incumbents performing


the job is an excellent way to learn about tasks, KSAOs, and context. It provides a thoroughness and richness of information unmatched by any other method. It is also the most direct form of gathering information because it does not rely on intermediary information sources, as would be the case with other methods (e.g., interviewing job incumbents and supervisors).

The following potential limitations to observation should be kept in mind. First, observation is most appropriate for jobs with physical (as opposed to mental) components and ones with relatively short job cycles (i.e., amount of time required to complete job tasks before repeating them). Second, the method may involve substantial time and cost. Third, the ability of the observer to do a thorough and accurate analysis is open to question; it will most likely be necessary to train observers prior to the job analysis. Fourth, the method will require coordination with, and approval from, many people (e.g., supervisors and incumbents). Finally, the incumbents being observed may distort their behavior during observation in self-serving ways, such as making tasks appear more difficult or time-consuming than they really are.

Interviews. Interviewing job incumbents and others, such as their managers, has many potential advantages. It respects the interviewee’s vast source of information. The interview format allows the interviewer to explain the purpose of the job analysis and how the results will be used, thus enhancing likely acceptance of the process by the interviewees. It can be structured in format to ensure standardization of collected information.

As with any job analysis method, the interview is not without potential limitations. It is time-consuming and costly, and this may cause the organization to skimp on it in ways that jeopardize the reliability and content validity of the information gathered. The interview, not providing anonymity, may lead to suspicion and distrust on the part of interviewees. The quality of the information obtained, as well as interviewee acceptance, depends on the skill of the interviewer. The interviewers should thus be carefully selected and trained. Finally, the success of the interview also depends on the skills and abilities of the interviewee, such as the person’s verbal communication skills and the ability to recall tasks performed.

Task Questionnaire. A typical task questionnaire contains a lengthy list of task statements that cut across many different job titles and is administered to incumbents (or samples of them) in these job titles. For each task statement, the respondent is asked to indicate (1) whether the task applies to the respondent’s job (respondents should always be given a DNA [does not apply] option) and (2) task importance (e.g., a 1–5 scale rating


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difficulty or time spent). The advantages of task questionnaires are numerous. They are

standardized in content and format, and thus constitute a uniform method of information gathering. They can obtain considerable information from large numbers of people and are economical to administer and score. Additionally, task questionnaires are (and should be) completed anonymously, thus enhancing respondent participation, honesty, and acceptance.20

The development of task questionnaires has also facilitated the development of linkages between task dimensions and required KSAOs. Some of these developments have involved a technique called synthetic validation, which helps determine the most appropriate types of selection tools for a job.21 As the databases linking task dimensions to KSAOs have increased in size and scope over time, it has become increasingly possible to know which selection predictors are most appropriate for a given job without having to resort to a local validation study, as will be discussed in Chapter 7.

A task questionnaire is potentially limited in certain ways. The task statement content needs to match the job, so task questionnaires are not useful for describing idiosyncratic jobs. The respondents need to have the underlying intelligence, experience, and education to answer accurately. Respondents will also need to be motivated to complete the questionnaire accurately. If the questionnaire is an unwelcome and unrewarded addition to regular job tasks, the quality of responses will be low.

Committee or Task Force. Job analysis is often guided by an ad hoc committee or task force. Members of this group typically include job experts —both managers and employees—as well as an HR representative. They may conduct a number of activities, including (1) reviewing existing information and gathering sample job descriptions; (2) interviewing job incumbents and managers; (3) overseeing the administration of job analysis surveys and analyzing the results; (4) writing task statements, grouping them into task dimensions, and rating the importance of the task dimensions; and (5) identifying KSAOs and rating their importance. A committee or task force brings considerable job analysis expertise to the process, facilitates reliability of judgment through conversation and consensus building, and enhances acceptance of the final results.

Criteria for Choice of Methods. Some explicit choices regarding methods of job analysis need to be made. One set of choices involves deciding whether to use a particular method of information collection. An organization must decide whether to use an off-the-shelf method or its own


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particular method that is suited to its own needs and circumstances. A second set of choices involves how to blend together a set of methods that will be used in varying ways and degrees in the actual job analysis. Some criteria for guidance in such decisions are shown in Exhibit 4.9. In practice, job analysis is usually conducted through a combination of these methods so that the weaknesses of any one method are offset by the strengths of another.

EXHIBIT 4.9 Criteria for Guiding Choice of Job Analysis Methods

Method Sources Advantages and Disadvantages

Prior information

Current job descriptions Training manuals Performance appraisals O*NET

Readily available Inexpensive External sources

may not match jobs in your organization

Focus is on how jobs have been done previously, not how they will be done in the future

Observation Trained job analysts or HR professionals watch incumbents perform the job

Thorough, rich information

Does not rely on intermediary information sources

Not appropriate for jobs that are largely mental in character

Incumbents may behave differently if they know they’re being observed

Interviews HR professionals discuss job requirements with job incumbents and managers

Takes the incumbent’s knowledge of the position into account


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Time-consuming and costly

Quality depends on the knowledge and ability of the interviewee and skill of the interviewer

Task questionnaire

Job incumbents, managers, and HR professionals complete a standardized form with questions regarding the job

Standardized method across a variety of jobs

Can combine information from large numbers of incumbents quickly

Developing questionnaires can be expensive and time-consuming

Requires that incumbents be capable of completing the forms accurately

Committee or task force

Managers, representatives from HR, and incumbents meet to discuss job descriptions

Brings expertise of a variety of individuals into the process

Increases reliability of the process

Enhances acceptance of the final product

Significant investment of staff time

Sources to Be Used Choosing sources of information involves considering who will be sought to provide the information needed. While this matter is not entirely independent of job analysis methods (e.g., use of a task questionnaire normally requires use of job incumbents as the source), it is


treated this way in the sections that follow.

Job Analyst. A job analyst is someone who, by virtue of job title and training, is suited to conduct job analyses as well as to guide the job analysis process. The job analyst is also “out of the loop,” being neither manager nor incumbent of the jobs analyzed. Thus, the job analyst brings a combination of expertise and neutrality to the work.

Despite such advantages and appeals, reliance on a job analyst as the job information source is not without potential limitations. First, the analyst may be perceived as an outsider by incumbents and supervisors, a perception that may result in questioning the analyst’s job knowledge and expertise, as well as trustworthiness. Second, the job analyst may, in fact, lack detailed knowledge of the jobs to be analyzed, especially in an organization with many different job titles. Lack of knowledge may cause the analyst to bring inaccurate job stereotypes to the analysis process. Finally, having specially designated job analysts (either employees or outside consultants) tends to be expensive.

Job Incumbents. Job incumbents seem like a natural source of information to be used in job analysis, and indeed they are relied on in most job analysis systems. The major advantage of working with incumbents is their familiarity with tasks, KSAOs, and job context. In addition, job incumbents may become more accepting of the job analysis process and its results through their participation in it.

Some skepticism should be maintained about job incumbents as a source of workplace data, as is true for any source. They may lack the knowledge or insights necessary to provide inclusive information, especially if they are probationary or part-time employees. Some employees may also have difficulty describing the tasks involved in their job or being able to infer and articulate the underlying KSAOs necessary for the job. There are also concerns about job incumbents not responding to job analysis surveys; most studies show that fewer than half of job incumbents voluntarily respond to job analysis surveys. Response rates are lower among lower-level employees and those with less education.22 Another potential limitation of job incumbents as an information source pertains to their motivation to be a willing and accurate source. Feelings of distrust and suspicion may greatly hamper employees’ willingness to function capably as sources. For example, incumbents may intentionally fail to report certain tasks as part of their job so that those tasks are not incorporated into the formal job description. Incumbents may also deliberately inflate the importance ratings of tasks in order to make the job appear more difficult than it actually is.


page 175Supervisors. Supervisors are excellent sources for use in job analysis. They not only supervise employees performing the job to be analyzed but also have played a major role in defining it and in adding or deleting job tasks (as in evolving and flexible jobs). Moreover, because supervisors ultimately have to accept the resulting descriptions and specifications for jobs they supervise, including them as a source is a good way to ensure such acceptance.

Subject Matter Experts. Often, job analysts, job incumbents, and supervisors are called subject matter experts (SMEs). Other individuals may also be used as SMEs. These people bring particular expertise to the job analysis process, an expertise not thought to be available through standard sources. Though the exact qualifications for being designated an SME are far from clear, examples of sources so designated include previous jobholders (e.g., recently promoted employees), private consultants, customer/clients, and citizens-at-large for some public sector jobs (e.g., superintendent of schools for a school district). Whatever the sources of SMEs, a common requirement is that they have recent, firsthand knowledge of the job being analyzed.23

Job Analysis Process Collecting job information through job analysis requires development and use of an overall process. Unfortunately, there is no uniformly best process to be followed; the process has to be tailor-made to suit the specifics of the situation in which it occurs. Many key issues must be dealt with in the construction and operation of the process.24 Each of these is briefly commented on next.

Purpose. The purpose(s) of job analysis should be clearly identified and agreed on. Since job analysis is a process designed to yield job information, the organization should ask exactly what job information is desired and why. Here, it is useful to refer back to the job requirements matrix to review the types of information that can be sought and obtained in a job requirements job analysis. Management must decide exactly what types of information are desired (task statements, task dimensions, and so forth) and in what format. Once the desired output and the results of job analysis have been determined, the organization can then plan a process that will yield the desired results.

Scope. The issue of scope involves which job(s) to include in the job analysis. Decisions about actual scope should be based on (1) the importance of the job to the functioning of the organization, (2) the number


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of job applicants and incumbents, (3) whether the job is entry level and thus subject to constant staffing activity, (4) the frequency with which job requirements (both tasks and KSAOs) change, and (5) the amount of time that has lapsed since the previous job analysis.

Internal Staff or Consultant. The organization may use its own staff to conduct the job analysis or it may procure external consultants. This is a difficult decision because it involves not only the obvious consideration of cost but also many other considerations. Exhibit 4.10 highlights some of these concerns and the trade-offs involved.

Organization and Coordination. Any job analysis project, whether conducted by internal staff or external consultants, requires careful organization and coordination. Two key steps help ensure that this is achieved. First, an organizational member should be appointed as project manager for the total process (if consultants are used, they should report to this project manager). The project manager should be assigned overall responsibility for the total project, including its organization and control. Second, the roles and relationships for the various people involved in the project—HR staff, project staff, line managers, and job incumbents—must be clearly established.

EXHIBIT 4.10 Factors to Consider in Choosing Between Internal Staff and Consultants for Job Analysis

Internal Staff Consultant

Cost of technical or procedural failure is low

Cost of technical or procedural failure is high

Project scope is limited Project scope is comprehensive and/or large

Need for job data ongoing Need for job data is a one-time, isolated event

There is a desire to develop internal staff skills in job analysis

There is a need for assured availability of each type and level of job analysis skill

Strong management controls are in place to control project costs

Predictability of project cost can depend on adhering to work plan

Knowledge of organization’s norms, ‘‘culture,’’ and jargon is critical

Technical innovativeness and quality are critical


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Technical credibility of internal staff is high

Leverage of external ‘‘expert’’ status is needed to execute project

Process and products of the project are unlikely to be challenged

Process and products of the project are likely to be legally, technically, or politically scrutinized

Rational or narrative job analysis methods are desired

Commercial or proprietary job analysis methods are desired

Data collected are qualitative

Data collection methods are structured, standardized, and/or quantitative

SOURCE: D. M. Van De Vort and B. V. Stalder, “Organizing for Job Analysis,” in S. Gael (ed.), The Job Analysis Handbook for Business, Industry and Government. Copyright © 1988 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Work Flow and Time Frame. Job analysis involves a mixture of people and paper in a process that can become entangled very quickly. The project manager should develop and adhere to a work flowchart that shows the steps to be followed in the job analysis. This should be accompanied by a time frame showing critical completion dates for project phases, as well as a final deadline.

Analysis, Synthesis, and Documentation. Once collected, job information must be analyzed and synthesized through the use of various procedural and statistical means. These should be planned in advance and incorporated into the work-flow and time-frame requirements. Likewise, provisions need to be made for preparation of written documents, especially job descriptions and job specifications, and their incorporation into relevant policy and procedure manuals.

Maintenance of the System. Job analysis does not end with completion of the project. Rather, mechanisms must be developed and put into place to maintain the job analysis and information system over time. This is critical because the system will be exposed to numerous influences requiring response and adaptation. Examples include (1) changes in job tasks and KSAOs—additions, deletions, and modifications; (2) job redesign, restructuring, and realignment; and (3) creation of new jobs. In short, job analysis must be thought of and administered as an ongoing organizational process.


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Example of Job Analysis Process. Because of the many factors involved, there is no best or required job analysis process. Rather, the process must be designed to fit each particular situation. Exhibit 4.11 shows an example of the job analysis process with a narrow scope, namely, for a single job—that of administrative assistant. This was a specially conducted job analysis that used multiple methods (prior information, observation, and interviews) and multiple sources (job analyst, job incumbents, and supervisors). A previous job holder (SME) conducted the job analysis and prepared a written job description as the output of the process, which took about 20 hours over a 30-day period.

COMPETENCY-BASED JOB ANALYSIS Job requirements job analysis is a technique that was originally developed in the first half of the twentieth century to catalog the requirements for well- defined job roles with very specific and observable characteristics that would be the same across many organizations. As the pace of change increased, new technology rendered many of these jobs obsolete, and organizations adopted more flexible roles; thus, the relevance of job requirements job analysis came into question.25 As a result, the competency- based type of job analysis came into being. Usage of competencies and competency models in staffing reflects a desire to (1) connote job requirements in ways that extend beyond the specific job itself, (2) design and implement staffing programs focused around competencies (rather than just specific jobs) as a way of increasing staffing flexibility in job assignments, and (3) make it easier to adapt jobs to a changing organizational context.

EXHIBIT 4.11 Example of Job Requirements Job Analysis


page 179Overview The chief difference between job requirements analysis and competency- based job analysis is the direction of information flow. The job requirements analysis begins by looking at very specific tasks and then aggregates these from the bottom up to form jobs and job categories that are found throughout an organization. Due to its linkage with overall organizational capacities, competency-based job analysis has become closely aligned with the strategic perspective on HR management. Because of this explicit link to organizational strategy, and the use of terminology that is consistent with strategic plans, most job analysts in the field find that executives are much more supportive of competency-based analysis relative to job requirements analysis.26

Many techniques have been developed over time that facilitate competency-based job analysis, and it has progressively become a much more rigorous approach than it once was. From this development, a standard set of best practices for conducting and using a competency analysis perspective has emerged.27 The competency analysis begins by considering the organization’s goals and strategies and then determines how each job corresponds to these strategic goals. Competency models should explicitly consider the organizational context. This is a key point, because the top- down approach of competency modeling makes it much easier to address how jobs fit together and complement one another to produce goods and


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services compared with the task focus of job requirements job analysis. Finally, because competency models are tied to the organization’s strategy, it is important to emphasize that requirements can potentially change over time. The competencies assessed in the process should be sufficiently general to address both present and future organizational needs.

Nature of Competencies A competency is an underlying characteristic of an individual that contributes to job or role performance and to organizational success.28 Competencies specific to a particular job are the familiar KSAO requirements established through job requirements job analysis. Competency requirements may extend beyond job-specific ones to those of multiple jobs, general job categories, or the entire organization. These competencies are much more general or generic KSAOs, such as technical expertise or adaptability. A competency model is a combination of the several competencies deemed necessary for a particular job or role.

Despite the strong similarities between competencies and KSAOs, there are two notable differences. First, competencies may be job spanning, meaning that they contribute to success in multiple jobs. Members of a work team, for example, may each hold specific jobs within the team but may be subject to job-spanning competency requirements, such as adaptability and teamwork orientation. Such requirements ensure that team members will interact successfully with one another and will even perform portions of others’ jobs if necessary. As another example, competency requirements may span jobs within the same category, such as sales jobs or managerial jobs. All sales jobs may have product knowledge as a competency requirement, and all managerial jobs may require planning and results orientation. Such requirements allow for greater flexibility in job placements and job assignments within the category.

Second, competencies can contribute not only to job performance but also to organizational success. These are very general competencies applicable to, and required for, all jobs. They serve to align requirements of all jobs with the mission and goals of the organization. A restaurant, for example, may have “customer focus” as a competency requirement for all jobs as a way of indicating that servicing the needs of its customers is a key component of all jobs.

Competency Example An illustration of the competency approach to job requirements is shown in Exhibit 4.12. The Green Care Corporation produces several lawn


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maintenance products. The organization is in a highly competitive industry. To survive and grow, its core mission consists of product innovation and product reliability; its goals are to achieve 10% annual growth in revenues and 2% growth in market share. To help fulfill its mission and goals, the organization has established four general (strategic) workforce competencies —creativity/innovation, technical expertise, customer focus, and results orientation. These requirements are part of every job in the organization. At the business unit (gas lawn mowers) level, the organization has also established job-specific and job-spanning requirements. Some jobs, such as design engineer, are traditional or slowly evolving jobs and, as such, have only job-specific KSAO or competency requirements. Because the products are assembled via team processes, jobs within the assembly team (such as engine assembler or final assembler) have both job-specific and job- spanning competency requirements. The job-spanning competencies—team orientation, adaptability, and communication—are general and behavioral. They are necessary because of task interdependence between engine assembly and final assembly jobs and because employees may be shifted between the two jobs in order to cover sudden employee shortages due to unscheduled absences and to maintain smooth production flows. Each job in the business unit thus has four general competency requirements, multiple job-specific competency requirements, and where appropriate, job-spanning competency requirements.

EXHIBIT 4.12 Examples of Competencies


page 182Organization Usage Organizations have increasingly developed competency models and have used them as the underpinnings of several HR applications.29 Research indicates that the experimentation is occurring in organizations of all sizes, but especially in large ones. The three key strategic HR reasons for doing competency modeling are to (1) create awareness and understanding of the need for change in business, (2) enhance skill levels in the workforce, and (3) improve teamwork and coordination. Most of the emphasis has been


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on establishing general competencies, as illustrated by the “Great Eight” competencies used in one framework:30

Leading (initiates action, gives direction) Supporting (shows respect, puts people first) Presenting (communicates and networks effectively) Analyzing (thinks clearly, applies expertise) Creating (thinks broadly, handles situations creatively) Organizing (plans ahead, follows rules) Adapting (responds to change, copes with setbacks) Performing (focuses on results, shows understanding of organization)

Competency models are being used for many HR applications, especially staffing, career development, performance management, and compensation. Pertaining to staffing, one important application is in HR and staffing planning. Here, workforce requirements are specified in competency terms and compared with current workforce competency levels to identify competency gaps. Such comparisons may be particularly appropriate in replacement and succession planning. Another important staffing application is in external and internal selection, where applicants are assessed not only for job-specific competencies but also for general competencies. For external hiring, competency-based interviews with applicants are conducted to gauge general competencies as a key factor in selection decisions and in job placement decisions for new incumbents. For promotion decisions, competency-based interviews are used in conjunction with supervisory assessments of promotability.31

Collecting Competency Information Techniques and processes for collecting competency information are continually being developed.32 General competencies at the organizational (strategic) level are likely to be established by top management, with guidance from strategic HR managers. At a minimum, effective establishment of general competency requirements would seem to demand the following. First, it is crucial that the organization establish its mission and goals prior to determining competency requirements; this will help ensure that general competencies are derived from knowledge of mission and goals, much as job-specific competencies are derived from previously identified job tasks. Second, the general competencies should be truly important at all job levels so that their usage as job requirements will focus and align all jobs with the organization’s mission and goals. This principle also holds in the case where general competency requirements are at the strategic business unit or subunit level instead of at


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the organizational level. Third, all general competencies should have specific behavioral definitions, not just labels. These definitions provide substance, meaning, and guidance to all concerned.

For job-spanning competencies, these definitions will necessarily be more task specific. To ensure effective identification and definition, several tasks should be undertaken. First, it is crucial to know the major tasks for which the competencies are to be established, meaning that some form of job analysis should occur first. For now, the organization will have to craft that process since we lack prototypes or best-practice examples as guidance. Second, SMEs familiar with all the jobs or roles to which the competencies will apply should be part of the process. Third, careful definition of the competencies will be necessary. Acquiring definitions from other organizations, consultants, or O*NET will be useful here. Training programs can improve the quality of competency information. In one instance, managers who attended a program that included an explanation of the competency modeling approach, specific guidance in translating the required behaviors of a role into competencies, and feedback on the quality of practice exercises produced competency data that were more accurate, more detailed, and more consistent across raters relative to competency data produced by managers who had not received training.33

When competency modeling first appeared, staffing experts expressed concern about the lack of agreement across multiple raters when evaluating the same job’s competencies. One rater might claim that a job entails a high level of interpersonal skill, while another might emphasize the analytical demands of the job. Increasingly, it has been recognized that this inconsistency might be an accurate reflection of the many ways people can do the same job.34 In particular, in complex jobs with high levels of personal autonomy and discretion, different job incumbents engage in completely different behaviors requiring completely different skills. Competency data may be more likely to show differences across raters than job requirements analysis because competency analysis is more likely to focus on complex jobs with high autonomy. Indeed, evidence suggests that decisions based on well-designed and implemented competency-based job analyses can be as rigorous and accurate as those based on job requirements approaches.35

Example of Job Analysis Process Similar to our previous example of a job requirements job analysis in Exhibit 4.11, an example of a competency-based job analysis is presented in Exhibit 4.13. A number of key differences are immediately apparent. Unlike the job requirements approach, which can focus on a single job category, the competency-based approach is usually conducted at the organizational level and incorporates a large variety of jobs. The vital importance of


coordinating competencies across levels of the organization is reflected in the meetings involving executives, business unit directors, and supervisors. In the end, a competency-based approach will focus on an entire system of relationships across levels, so ensuring consistency and coherence is a key concern. As one might expect, conducting this sort of whole-organization analysis is more time-consuming than analyzing a single predefined role, especially in terms of executive time involvement. This additional effort is justified if the final product helps integrate the organization’s strategic goals and objectives with the whole HR management system.

EXHIBIT 4.13 Example of Competency-Based Job Analysis


page 185JOB REWARDS In the person/job match model, jobs are composed of requirements and rewards. The focus so far in this chapter has been on job requirements and competencies vis-à-vis the discussion of job analysis. Attention now turns to job rewards. Providing and using rewards is a key staffing strategy for motivating several HR outcomes—applicant attraction, employee performance, and employee retention in particular. Successfully matching the rewards with what employees desire will be critical in attaining HR outcomes. Doing so first requires specifying the types of rewards potentially available and desired.

Types of Rewards Organizations and jobs provide a wide variety of rewards. Rewards are commonly classified as either extrinsic or intrinsic in nature. Extrinsic rewards are tangible factors external to the job itself that are explicitly designed and granted to employees by representatives of the organization (e.g., pay, benefits, work schedule, advancement, job security). Intrinsic rewards are the intangibles that are more internal to the job itself and experienced by the employee as an outgrowth of actually doing the job and being a member of the organization (e.g., variety in work duties, autonomy, feedback, coworker and supervisor relations).36

Employee Value Proposition The totality of rewards, both extrinsic and intrinsic, associated with the job constitutes the employee value proposition (EVP).37 The EVP is akin to the “package” or “bundle” of rewards provided to employees and to which employees respond by joining, performing for, and remaining with the organization. It is the “deal” or “bargain” struck between the organization and the employee, first as a promise to the prospective employee and later as a reality to the actual new employee. This new deal evolves and changes over time due to reward improvements and/or internal job changes. The EVP thus functions as the glue that binds the employee and the organization, with the employee providing certain behaviors (attraction, performance, retention, and so forth) in exchange for the EVP.

The challenge to the organization is to create EVPs for various employee groups that, on average, are both attractive and affordable (how to create an individual EVP in the form of a formal job offer to a prospective employee is considered in Chapter 12). No reward, extrinsic or intrinsic, is costless; the organization must figure out what it can afford as it creates its EVPs. Regardless of cost, however, the rewards must also be attractive to those for


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whom they are intended, so attraction and cost must be considered jointly when developing EVPs. The dual affordability-attractiveness requirements for EVPs may create some potential problems: they may be of the wrong magnitude, may be of the wrong mix, or may not be distinctive enough.38

Wrong magnitude refers to a package of rewards that is either too small or too great monetarily. To the prospective or current employee, too small a package may be viewed as simply inadequate, noncompetitive, or an insult, none of which are desirable perceptions to be creating. Such perceptions may arise very early in the applicant’s job search, before the organization is even aware of the applicant, due to word-of-mouth information from others (e.g., former applicants or employees) or information obtained about the organization, such as through its print or electronic recruitment information. Alternatively, too small a package may not become an issue until fairly late in the job search process, as additional bits of reward package information become known to the applicant. Regardless of when the too-small perceptions emerge, they can be deal killers that lead the person to self-select out of consideration for the job, turn down the job, or quit. While too-small packages may be unattractive, they often have the virtue of being affordable for the organization.

Too large of a package creates affordability problems for the organization. Those problems may not surface immediately, but long term they can threaten the organization’s financial viability and possibly even its survival. Affordability problems may be particularly acute in service- providing organizations, where employee compensation costs are a substantial percentage of total operating costs.

Wrong mix refers to a situation in which the composition of the rewards package is out of sync with the preferences of prospective or current employees. A package that provides excellent retirement benefits and long- term performance incentives to a relatively young and mobile workforce, for example, is most likely a wrong mix. Its attraction and retention power in all likelihood is minimal. It might also be relatively expensive to provide.

Not distinctive refers to individual rewards packages that are viewed as ho-hum in nature. They have no uniqueness or special appeal that would either win or retain employees. They do not signal anything distinctive about the organization or give the job seeker or employee any special reason to think the “deal” is one that simply cannot be passed up.

In short, creating successful EVPs is a challenge, and the results can have important implications for workforce attraction, retention, and cost. To create successful EVPs, the organization should seek to systematically collect information about rewards and their importance to employees as well as the extent to which these rewards are currently provided.


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Collecting Job Rewards Information Unlike job analysis as a mechanism for collecting job requirements information, mechanisms for collecting job rewards information are more fragmentary. Nonetheless, several things can be done to assess employee preferences and the rewards employees associate with their work. Armed with knowledge about employee preferences and perceived rewards, the organization can begin to build EVPs that are of the right magnitude, mix, and distinctiveness. Learning about job rewards involves looking both within and outside the organization. It is important to note that a meaningful job rewards analysis must be specific to each job category—overall preferences and rewards in the organization as a whole tend to be vague and will not be useful for assessing person/job fit.

Within the Organization To learn about employee reward perceptions within the organization, interviews with employees or surveys of employees might be used.

Interviews With Employees. The interview approach requires decisions about who will guide the process, interview content, sampling confidentiality, data recording and analysis, and reporting of the results. The following are a few suggestions to guide each of those decisions. First, a person with special expertise in the employee interview process should guide the total process. This could be a person within the HR department, a person outside HR with the expertise (such as in marketing research), or an outside consultant. The person guiding the process may be the only interviewer; if not, he or she should carefully select and train those who will do the interviews, including supervising a dry run of the interview.

Second, the interviews should be structured and guided. The major content areas and specific questions should be decided in advance, tested on a small sample of employees as to their clarity and wording, and then placed in a formal interview protocol to be used by the interviewer. Potential questions are shown in Exhibit 4.14. Note that the major content areas covered in the interview are rewards offered, reward magnitude, reward mix, and reward distinctiveness.

Third, employees from throughout the organization should be part of the sample. In small organizations, it might be possible to include all employees; in larger organizations, random samples of employees will be necessary. When sampling, it is important to include employees from all job categories, organizational units, and organizational levels.

Fourth, it is strongly recommended that the interviews be treated as confidential and that the responses of individuals be seen only by those


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recording and analyzing the data. At the same time, it would be useful to gather (with their permission) interviewees’ demographic information (e.g., age, gender) and organizational information (e.g., job title, organizational unit) since this will permit breakouts of responses during data analysis. Such breakouts will be very useful in decisions about whether to create separate EVPs for separate employee groups or organizational units.

Surveys of Employees. A survey of employees should proceed along the same lines as the employee interview process, following many of the same recommendations. The biggest difference is the mechanism for gathering the data—namely, a written set of questions with response scales rather than a verbally administered set of questions with open-ended responses. To construct the survey, a listing of rewards must be developed. These could be chosen from a listing of the job’s current extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. An example of a partial employee reward preferences survey is shown in Exhibit 4.15. Note that questions involve both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards and ask about the importance of various rewards as well as the extent to which each job provides these rewards.

EXHIBIT 4.14 Examples of Job Rewards Interview Questions

Rewards Offered • What are the most rewarding elements of your job? Consider

both the work itself and the pay and benefits associated with your job.

• Looking ahead, are there any changes you can think of that would make your job more rewarding?

Reward Magnitude • Overall, do you think the level of complexity and challenge in

your job is too much, too little, or about right, compared with that of other jobs in the organization?

• Describe the amount of potential for growth and development in your job.

• Do you feel like the pay and benefits provided for your job are adequate for the work you do? If not, what would you change?

Reward Mix • If you could change the mix of rewards provided in your job,

what would you add? • Of the rewards associated with your job, which two are the most

important to you?


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• What types of rewards associated with your job are irrelevant to you?

Reward Distinctiveness • Which rewards that you receive in your job are you most likely

to tell others about? • Which of our rewards really stand out to you? To job

applicants? • What rewards could we start offering that would be unique?

As with interviews, it is recommended that a person with special expertise guide the project, that the survey content be specially constructed (rather than canned), that sampling include employees throughout the organization, that employees be assured of confidentiality, that results be thoroughly analyzed, and that reports of the findings be prepared for organizational representatives.

Which to Use? Should the organization opt to use interviews, surveys, or both? The advantages of an interview are numerous: it is of a personal nature; employees are allowed to respond in their own words; it is possible to create questions that probe perceptions regarding reward magnitude, mix, and distinctiveness; and a very rich set of data is obtained that provides insights beyond mere rating-scale responses. On the downside, interviews are costly to schedule and conduct, data analysis is messy and time- consuming, and statistical summaries and analysis of the data are difficult. Surveys are easier to administer (especially online), and they permit statistical summaries and analyses that are very helpful in interpreting responses. The biggest downsides to surveys are the lack of richness of data and the difficulty in constructing questions that tap into employees’ preferences about reward magnitude, mix, and distinctiveness.

EXHIBIT 4.15 Example of Job Rewards Survey


page 190Assuming adequate resources and expertise, a combined interview and survey approach would be best. This would allow the organization to capitalize on the unique strengths of each approach, as well as offset some of the weaknesses of each. In such cases, interviews usually are done first and then the information gathered from the open- ended responses is used as a springboard to develop specific survey questions.

A final cautionary note is that both interviews and surveys of current employees miss out on two other groups from whom reward preference information would be useful. The first group is departing or departed employees, who may have left due to dissatisfaction with the EVP. Chapter 14 discusses the exit interview as a procedure for learning about this group.


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The second group is potential job applicants. Presumably the organization could conduct interviews and surveys with this group, but that could be administratively challenging (especially with Internet applicants). Additionally, applicants might feel they are “tipping their hand” to the organization in terms of what they desire or would accept in a job offer. The more common way to learn about applicant reward preferences is from surveys of employees outside the organization, who might represent the types of applicants the organization will encounter.

Outside the Organization

Other Employees.$$Data on the reward preferences of employees outside the organization are available from surveys of employees in other organizations. To the extent these employees are similar to the organization’s own applicants and employees, the data will likely provide a useful barometer of preferences. An example is the Job Satisfaction survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This survey was administered online to a national random sample of 600 employees. The employees rated the importance of 25 extrinsic and intrinsic rewards to their overall satisfaction on a 1–5 (very unimportant to very important) scale. The percentage of employees rating each reward as “very important” is shown in Exhibit 4.16.

Possibly reflecting employee anxiety surrounding the poor economic conditions in 2010, job security was ranked as the top aspect of satisfaction. Next came the extrinsic reward of “benefits,” which was closely followed by intrinsic rewards of “opportunities to use skills and abilities” and “the work itself.” Note that relationships with supervisors, recognition, and communication were all rated highly.

EXHIBIT 4.16 “Very Important” Aspects of Employee Job Satisfaction (Employees)


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SOURCES: Society for Human Resource Management, 2010 Employee Job Satisfaction (Alexandria, VA: author), p. 7; E. Essen, Job Satisfaction Series (Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2004), p. 156. Used with permission.

Not shown in Exhibit 4.16 are two other important findings. First, a sample of HR professionals were asked to predict the importance that employees attached to the rewards, and the HR professionals’ predictions did not correspond all that closely to the actual employee ratings. A second finding was that there were some differences in


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reward importance as a function of employee age, tenure, gender, and industry; these differences, however, were relatively small.39

Additional information regarding the rewards associated with jobs can be found in O*NET. Every job in O*NET has accompanying salary information. There is also a set of work values associated with each job, evaluating the extent to which a job provides intrinsic rewards like achievement, independence, recognition, relationships, support, and working conditions. As with other O*NET information, these data are collected at the occupational level rather than the job level, so they will need to be supplemented with information from the organization as well.

Organizational Practices. A less direct way to assess the importance of rewards to employees is to examine the actual rewards that other organizations provide their employees. The assumption here is that these organizations are attuned to their employees’ preferences and try to provide rewards that are consistent with them. Since pay and benefits loom large in most employees’ reward preferences, it is particularly important to become knowledgeable of other organizations’ pay and benefit practices to assist in the development of the EVP.

The best single source of pay and benefit information comes from the National Compensation Survey, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) within the Department of Labor. The pay part of the survey reports average pay for employees, broken out by occupation, private-public sector, organization size, and geographic area. The benefits part of the survey presents detailed data about the percentage of employees who have access to a benefit or are provided an average level of benefits. Data on the following benefits are provided: retirement, health care coverage (medical, dental, and vision) and required employee contributions, short- and long-term disability, paid holidays, paid vacation, child care, flexible workplace, wellness programs, and several others. The data are broken out by occupation, industry, and geographic area.

Another important source of information about benefits is the SHRM Annual Benefits Survey. It provides very detailed information about specific benefits provided in each of the following areas: family friendliness, housing and relocation, health care and wellness, personal services, finances, business travel, leave, and other benefits. The data are broken out by organization size.

LEGAL ISSUES Job analysis plays a crucial role in establishing the foundations for staffing activities, and that role continues from a legal perspective. Job analysis


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becomes intimately involved in court cases involving the job relatedness of staffing activities. It also occupies a prominent position in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP). Additionally, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that the organization determine the essential functions of each job, and job analysis can play a pivotal role in that process. The job requirements matrix and its development are very relevant to these issues.

Job Relatedness and Court Cases In equal employment opportunity and affirmative action (EEO/AA) court cases, the organization is confronted with the need to justify its challenged staffing practices as being job related. Common sense suggests that this requires the organization to conduct some type of job analysis to identify job requirements. If the case involves an organization’s defense of its selection procedures, the UGESP requires conducting a job analysis. In addition, specific features or characteristics of the job analysis make a difference in the organization’s defense. Specifically, an examination of court cases indicates that for purposes of legal defensibility the organization should conform to the following recommendations:

1. “Job analysis must be performed and must be for the job for which the selection instrument is to be utilized.

2. Analysis of the job should be in writing. 3. Job analysts should describe in detail the procedure used. 4. Job data should be collected from a variety of current sources by

knowledgeable job analysts. 5. Sample size should be large and representative of the jobs for which

the selection instrument is used. 6. Tasks, duties, and activities should be included in the analysis. 7. The most important tasks should be represented in the selection device. 8. Competency levels of job performance for entry-level jobs should be

specified. 9. Knowledge, skills, and abilities should be specified, particularly if a

content validation model is followed.”40

These recommendations are consistent with our view of job analysis as the basic foundation for staffing activities. Moreover, even though these recommendations were made many years ago, there is little reason to doubt or modify any of them on the basis of more recent court cases.

Essential Job Functions Recall that under the ADA, the organization must not discriminate against a


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qualified individual with a disability who can perform the “essential functions” of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation. This requirement raises three questions: What are essential functions? What is the evidence of essential functions? What is the role of job analysis?

Essential Functions The ADA employment regulations provide the following statements about essential functions:

1. “The term essential functions refers to the fundamental job duties of the employment position the individual with a disability holds or desires. The term essential function does not include the marginal functions of the position; and

2. A job function may be considered essential for any of several reasons, including but not limited to the following:

The function may be essential because the reason the position exists is to perform the function; The function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed; and/or The function may be highly specialized so that the incumbent in the position is hired for his or her expertise or ability to perform the particular function.”

Evidence of Essential Functions The employment regulations go on to indicate what constitutes evidence that any particular function is in fact an essential one. Exhibit 4.17 shows the major types of evidence, along with examples and explanations. Other evidence might also be used.

Role of Job Analysis Behind each of the evidence types lies some type of implicit, informal job analysis. In this sense the regulations touch on job analysis. The separate technical assistance manual from the EEOC mentions, and provides examples of, more formal job analysis that might be done to help identify essential job functions. It makes four major points about such job analysis.41 First, while job analysis is not required by law as a means of establishing the essential functions of a job, it is strongly recommended. Second, the job analysis should focus on tasks associated with the job. Where KSAOs are studied or specified, they should be derived from an explicit consideration of their probable links to the essential tasks. Third, with regard to tasks, the focus should be on the tasks themselves and their


outcome or results, rather than the methods by which they are performed. Finally, the job analysis should be useful in identifying potential reasonable accommodations.42

EXHIBIT 4.17 Types of Essential Job Function Evidence

The employer’s judgment. Is this a “must do” task or expected result? An employer requires a customer service representative to handle customer complaints and resolve them within one week.

A written job description prepared before advertising or interviewing job applicants. Identify the most important— essential—functions of the job.

Amount of time spent performing the job. The higher the percentage of work time spent on a task or function, the more likely it is essential.

The consequences of not requiring a person to perform a task. There may be pre-surgery protocols for ensuring patient safety, and not requiring nurses to follow the protocols could threaten patient safety and surgical outcomes.

The terms of a collective bargaining agreement. The CBA may contain job descriptions or duties.

The work experience of previous or current employees on the job. Learning from these people actual tasks done can help identify what tasks are essential.

SUMMARY Organizations design various types of jobs—as jobs change and evolve, new design approaches are sometimes needed. All design approaches result in job content in the form of job requirements and rewards. Job analysis is described as the process used to gather, analyze, synthesize, and report information about job content. The job requirements approach to job analysis focuses on job-specific tasks, KSAOs, and job context. Competency-based job analysis seeks to identify more general KSAOs that apply across jobs and roles. The job rewards approach focuses on understanding the outcomes of work for employees.

The job requirements approach is guided by the job requirements matrix. The matrix calls for information about tasks and task dimensions, as well as


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their importance. In a parallel fashion, it requires information about KSAOs necessary for the tasks, plus indications about the importance of those KSAOs. The final component of the matrix deals with numerous elements of the job context.

When gathering the information called for by the job requirements matrix, the organization is confronted with a multitude of choices. Those choices are shown to revolve around various job analysis methods, sources, and processes. The organization must choose from among these; all have advantages and disadvantages associated with them. The choices should be guided by a concern for the accuracy and acceptability of the information being gathered.

Competency-based job analysis seeks to identify general competencies (KSAOs) necessary for all jobs because the competencies support the organization’s mission and goals. Within work units, other general competencies (job-spanning KSAOs) may also be established that cut across multiple jobs. Techniques and processes for collecting competency information were suggested.

Jobs offer a variety of rewards, both extrinsic and intrinsic. The totality of these rewards constitutes the EVP. To help form EVPs, it is necessary to collect information about employee reward preferences and rewards given to employees at other organizations. Numerous techniques for doing this are available.

From a legal perspective, job analysis is very important in creating staffing systems and practices that comply with EEO/AA laws and regulations. The employer must ensure (or be able to show) that its practices are job related. This requires not only conducting a job requirements job analysis but also using a process that itself has defensible characteristics. Under the ADA, the organization must identify the essential functions of the job. Though this does not require a job analysis, the organization should strongly consider it as one of the tools to be used. Over time, we will learn more about how job analysis is treated under the ADA.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What is the purpose of each type of job analysis, and how can the three

types described in this chapter be combined to produce an overall understanding of work in an organization?

2. How should task statements be written, and what sorts of problems might you encounter in asking a job incumbent to write these statements?

3. Would it be better to first identify task dimensions and then create specific task statements for each dimension, or should task statements


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be identified first and then used to create task dimensions? 4. What would you consider when deciding what criteria (e.g., percentage

of time spent) to use for gathering indications about task importance? 5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using multiple methods

of job analysis for a particular job? Multiple sources? 6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of identifying and using

general competencies to guide staffing activities? 7. Referring back to Exhibit 4.16, why do you think HR

professionals were not able to accurately predict the importance of many rewards to employees? What are the implications for creating the EVP?

ETHICAL ISSUES 1. It has been suggested that ethical conduct be formally incorporated as

a general competency requirement for any job within the organization. Discuss the pros and cons of this suggestion.

2. Assume you are assisting in the conduct of job analysis as an HR department representative. You have encountered several managers who want to delete certain tasks and KSAOs from the formal job description that have to do with employee safety, even though they clearly are job requirements. How should you handle this situation?


Conducting a Job Requirements or Job Rewards Job Analysis

Job analysis is defined as the process of studying jobs in order to gather, synthesize, and report information about job content. Based on the person/job match model, job content consists of job requirements (tasks and KSAOs) and job rewards (extrinsic and intrinsic). The goal of a job requirements job analysis is to produce the job requirements matrix.

Choose a job you want to study and conduct either a job requirements or job rewards job analysis. Write a report of your project that includes the following sections:

1. The job—What job (job title) did you choose to study and why? 2. The methods used—What methods did you use (prior information,

observation, interviews, task questionnaires, committee, combinations of these), and exactly how did you use them?

3. The sources used—What sources did you use (job analyst, job


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incumbent, supervisor, SMEs, or combinations of these), and exactly how did you use them?

4. The process used—How did you go about gathering, synthesizing, and reporting the information? Refer back to Exhibit 4.11 for an example.

5. The matrix—Present the actual job requirements matrix.

Maintaining Job Descriptions The InAndOut, Inc., company provides digital printing and distribution services for organizations and booksellers. Electronic documents are initially received by design experts, who improve the appearance of materials by creating or editing illustrations and figures, determining font size and placement, and finalizing layouts. Technical experts then adapt materials to a variety of digital formats, determine compatibility across devices and operating systems, and evaluate feasibility of custom print runs. Marketing experts facilitate distribution to online stores and the generation of publicity and advertising messages. Customer services representatives generate new accounts and also service existing accounts. All these employees report to either the supervisor of operations or the supervisor of customer service, both of whom report to the general manager.

The owner and president of InAndOut, Inc., Alta Fossom, is independently wealthy and delegates all day-to-day management matters to the general manager, Marvin Olson. Alta requires, however, that Marvin clear any new ideas or initiatives with her before taking action. The company is growing and changing rapidly, along with adding many new, and often large, accounts. Publishers are demanding more services and faster order fulfillment. Information technology is constantly being upgraded, and new platforms and operating systems are continually coming online that affect all phases of the process. The workforce is growing in size to meet the business growth. The company now has 37 employees, and Marvin expects to hire 15–20 new employees within the next year.

Job descriptions for the company were originally written by a consultant about eight years ago. They have never been revised and are hopelessly outdated. The job of marketing representative does not even have a job description, because the job was created only five years ago. As general manager, Marvin is responsible for all HR management matters, but he has little time to devote to them. To get a better grip on HR responsibilities, Marvin has hired you as a part-time HR intern. He has a gut feeling that the job descriptions need to be updated, or in some cases created, and has assigned this project to you. Since Marvin has to clear new projects with Alta, he wants you to prepare a brief proposal that he can take to her for approval and that suggests the following:


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1. Reasons why it is important to update or write new job descriptions 2. An outline of a process for doing this that will yield a set of thorough,

current job descriptions 3. A process to be used in the future for periodically reviewing and

updating job descriptions

Marvin wants to meet with you and discuss each of these points. He wants the proposal to contain specific suggestions and ideas. What exactly would you suggest to Marvin?

ENDNOTES   1. J. I. Sanchez and E. L. Levine, “The Rise and Fall of Job Analysis and the Future

of Work Analysis,” Annual Review of Psychology, 2012, 63, pp. 397–425.   2. M. T. Brannick, E. L. Levine, and F. P. Morgeson, Job and Work Analysis

(Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2007).   3. J. K. Harter, F. L. Schmidt, and T. L. Hayes, “Business-Unit-Level Relationship

Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2002, 87, pp. 268– 279.

  4. R. J. Vance, Employee Engagement and Commitment (Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2006), pp. 1, 13; Harter, Schmidt, and Hayes, “Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis.”

  5. Vance, Employee Engagement and Commitment, pp. 1, 13; Harter, Schmidt, and Hayes, “Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis.”

  6. For excellent overviews and reviews, see Brannick, Levine, and Morgeson, Job and Work Analysis; R. D. Gatewood, H. S. Feild, and M. Barrick, Human Resource Selection, 7th ed. (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2010), pp. 267–363; P. R. Sackett and R. M. Laczo, “Job and Work Analysis,” in W. Borman, D. Ilgen, and R. Klimoski (eds.), Handbook of Psychology: Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 12 (New York: Wiley, 2003), pp. 21–37.

  7. E. T. Cornelius III, “Practical Findings From Job Analysis Research,” in S. Gael (ed.), The Job Analysis Handbook for Business, Industry and Government, Vol. 1 (New York: Wiley, 1988), pp. 48–70.

  8. Sanchez and Levine, “The Rise and Fall of Job Analysis and the Future of Work Analysis.”

  9. C. J. Cranny and M. E. Doherty, “Importance Ratings in Job Analysis: Note on the Misinterpretation of Factor Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1988, 73, pp. 320–322.

10. Sanchez and Levine, “The Rise and Fall of Job Analysis and the Future of Work Analysis.”

11. F. P. Morgeson and E. C. Dierdorff, “Work Analysis: From Technique to Theory,” in S. Zedeck (ed.), APA Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 2 (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2011), pp. 3–41; Sanchez and Levine, “The Rise and Fall of Job Analysis and the Future of Work Analysis.”


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12. N. G. Peterson, M. D. Mumford, W. C. Borman, P. R. Jeanneret, E. A. Fleishman, K. Y. Levin, M. A. Campion, M. S. Mayfield, F. S. Morgeson, K. Pearlman, M. K. Gowing, A. R. Lancaster, M. B. Silver, and D. M. Dye, “Understanding Work Using the Occupational Information Network: Implications for Research and Practice,” Personnel Psychology, 2001, 54, pp. 451–492.

13. C. C. LaPolice, G. W. Carter, and J. W. Johnson, “Linking O*NET Descriptors to Occupational Literacy Requirements Using Job Component Validation,” Personnel Psychology, 2008, 61, pp. 405–441.

14. Morgeson and Dierdorff, “Work Analysis: From Technique to Theory.” 15. Morgeson and Dierdorff, “Work Analysis: From Technique to Theory.” 16. Sanchez and Levine, “The Rise and Fall of Job Analysis and the Future of Work

Analysis.” 17. F. P. Morgeson, K. Delaney-Klinger, M. S. Mayfield, P. Ferrara, and M. A.

Campion, “Self-Presentations Processes in Job Analysis: A Field Experiment Investigating Inflation in Abilities, Tasks, and Competencies,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2004, 89, pp. 674–686.

18. For detailed treatments, see Brannick, Levine, and Morgeson, Job Work Analysis; Gael (ed.), The Job Analysis Handbook for Business, Industry and Government, pp. 315–468; Gatewood, Feild, and Barrick, Human Resource Selection, pp. 267–363; M. Mader-Clark, The Job Description Handbook (Berkeley, CA: Nolo, 2006).

19. R. Reiter-Palmon, M. Brown, D. L. Sandall, C. B. Buboltz, and T. Nimps, “Development of an O*NET Web-Based Job Analysis and Its Implementation in the U.S. Navy,” Human Resource Management Review, 2006, 16, pp. 294–309.

20. Brannick, Levine, and Morgeson, Job and Work Analysis. 21. T. A. Stetz, J. M. Beaubien, M. J. Keeney, and B. D. Lyons, “Nonrandom

Response and Variance in Job Analysis Surveys: A Cause for Concern?” Public Personnel Management, 2008, 37, pp. 223–241.

22. P. D. G. Steel and J. D. Kammeyer-Mueller, “Using a Meta-Analytic Perspective to Enhance Job Component Validation,” Personnel Psychology, 2009, 62, pp. 533–552; P. D. G. Steel, A. I. Huffcutt, and J. D. Kammeyer-Mueller, “From the Work One Knows the Worker: A Systematic Review of the Challenges, Solutions, and Steps to Creating Synthetic Validity,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2006, 14, pp. 16–36.

23. R. G. Jones, J. I. Sanchez, G. Parameswaran, J. Phelps, C. Shop-taught, M. Williams, and S. White, “Selection or Training? A Two-Fold Test of the Validity of Job-Analytic Ratings of Trainability,” Journal of Business and Psychology, 2001, 15, pp. 363–389; D. M. Truxillo, M. E. Paronto, M. Collins, and J. L. Sulzer, “Effects of Subject Matter Expert Viewpoint on Job Analysis Results,” Public Personnel Management, 2004, 33(1), pp. 33–46.

24. See Brannick, Levine, and Morgeson, Job and Work Analysis; Gael (ed.), The Job Analysis Handbook for Business, Industry and Government, pp. 315–390; Gatewood, Feild, and Barrick, Human Resource Selection, pp. 267–363.

25. G. W. Stevens, “A Critical Review of the Science and Practice of Competency Modeling,” Human Resource Development Review, 2013, 12, pp. 86–107.

26. M. A. Campion, A. A. Fink, B. J. Ruggeberg, L. Carr, G. M. Phillips, and R. B. Odman, “Doing Competencies Well: Best Practices in Competency Modeling,” Personnel Psychology, 2011, 64, pp. 225–262.

27. Campion, Fink, Ruggeberg, Carr, Phillips, and Odman, “Doing Competencies Well: Best Practices in Competency Modeling.”


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28. J. S. Schippman, “Competencies, Job Analysis, and the Next Generation of Modeling,” in J. C. Scott and D. H. Reynolds (eds.), Handbook of Workplace Assessment (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010), pp. 197–231; J. S. Schippman, R. A. Ash, M. Battista, L. Carr, L. D. Eyde, B. Hesketh, J. Kehoe, K. Pearlman, E. P. Prien, and J. I. Sanchez, “The Practice of Competency Modeling,” Personnel Psychology, 2000, 53, pp. 703–740.

29. Schippman, “Competencies, Job Analysis, and the Next Generation of Modeling.”

30. D. Bartram, “The Great Eight Competencies: A Criterion-Centric Approach to Validation,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2007, 90, pp. 1185–1203.

31. Schippman et al., “The Practice of Competency Modeling.” 32. Schippman et al., “The Practice of Competency Modeling.” 33. F. Lievens and J. I. Sanchez, “Can Training Improve the Quality of Inferences

Made by Raters in Competency Modeling? A Quasi-Experiment,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2007, 92, pp. 812–819.

34. F. Lievens, J. I. Sanchez, D. Bartram, and A. Brown, “Lack of Consensus Among Competency Ratings of the Same Occupation: Noise or Substance?” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2010, 95, pp. 562–571; Sanchez and Levine, “The Rise and Fall of Job Analysis and the Future of Work Analysis.”

35. V. M. Catano, W. Darr, and C. A. Campbell, “Performance Appraisal of Behavior-Based Competencies: A Reliable and Valid Procedure,” Personnel Psychology, 2007, 60, pp. 201–230.

36. R. V. Dawis, “Person-Environment Fit and Job Satisfaction,” in C. J. Cranny, P. C. Smith, and E. F. Stone (eds.), Job Satisfaction (New York: Lexington, 1992), pp. 69–88; G. Ledford, P. Mulvey, and P. LeBlanc, The Rewards of Work (Scottsdale, AZ: WorldatWork/Sibson, 2000).

37. E. E. Ledford and M. I. Lucy, The Rewards of Work (Los Angeles: Sibson Consulting, 2003).

38. Ledford and Lucy, The Rewards of Work, p. 12. 39. Vance, Employee Engagement and Commitment, pp. 1, 13; Harter, Schmidt, and

Hayes, “Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis.”

40. D. E. Thompson and T. A. Thompson, “Court Standards for Job Analysis in Test Validation,” Personnel Psychology, 1982, 35, pp. 865–874.

41. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Technical Assistance Manual on the Employment Provisions (Title 1) of the Americans With Disabilities Act (Washington, DC: author, 1992), pp. II-19 to II-21.

42. K. E. Mitchell, G. M. Alliger, and R. Morgfopoulos, “Toward an ADA- Appropriate Job Analysis,” Human Resource Management Review, 1997, 7, pp. 5–26; F. Lievens, J. I. Sanchez, and W. De Corte, “Easing the Inferential Leap in Competency Modelling: The Effects of Task-Related Information and Subject Matter Expertise,” Personnel Psychology, 2001, 57, pp. 847–879; Lievens and Sanchez, “Can Training Improve the Quality of Inferences Made by Raters in Competency Modeling: A Quasi-Experiment,” pp. 812–819.


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The Staffing Organizations Model


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Staffing Activities: Recruitment

CHAPTER FIVE External Recruitment

CHAPTER SIX Internal Recruitment


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External Recruitment

Learning Objectives and Introduction Learning Objectives Introduction

Strategic Recruitment Planning Defining Strategic External Recruitment Goals Open Versus Targeted Recruitment Organization and Administration

Applicant Reactions Reactions to Job and Organizational Characteristics Reactions to Recruiters Reactions to the Recruitment Process Reactions to Diversity Issues

Communication Communication Message Communication Media

Strategy Implementation Individual Recruitment Sources Social Recruitment Sources Organizational Recruitment Sources Recruitment Metrics

Transition to Selection

Legal Issues Definition of a Job Applicant Affirmative Action Programs Electronic Recruitment


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Job Advertisements Fraud and Misrepresentation


Discussion Questions

Ethical Issues

Applications Improving a College Recruitment Program Internet Recruitment



Learning Objectives

Engage in strategic recruitment planning activities Understand the difference between open and targeted recruitment Create a persuasive communication message Learn about a variety of recruitment media Recognize how applicant reactions influence the effectiveness of a recruitment plan Utilize a variety of recruitment sources Evaluate recruitment based on established metrics

Introduction An effective recruitment process is the cornerstone of an effective staffing system. If the recruitment system works, high-quality applicants will be attracted to the organization, the best candidates will be available for selection and eventual hiring, and the organization will have a much easier time reaching its strategic staffing goals. Conversely, if recruitment fails to attract enough qualified applicants, none of the other components of the staffing system can function properly—after all, you can’t hire people who don’t apply.

In external recruitment, the organization is trying to sell itself to potential applicants, so many marketing principles are applied to improve recruitment yields. You’ll learn how recruiters choose from three types of messages—


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employment brand, targeted, or realistic—to attract the right types of candidates. Over the course of this chapter, you’ll also learn about the advantages and disadvantages of recruitment methods such as social media, corporate websites, employee referrals, college job fairs, and many others.

The recruitment process begins with a strategic planning phase, during which strategic recruitment goals are defined, a decision is made about whether an open or targeted technique will be employed, and organizational and administrative plans are developed. Following the formation of a strategy, the message to be communicated to job applicants is established, along with the media that will be used to convey the message. Special consideration must be given to applicant reactions to recruiters and the recruitment process in undertaking each of these phases of the external recruitment process. Finally, the organization will implement its chosen strategy, based on careful consideration of all the factors that have been mentioned previously. Close attention must also be given to legal issues. This includes consideration of the definition of job applicant, disclaimers, targeted recruitment, electronic recruitment, job advertisements, and fraud and misrepresentation.

STRATEGIC RECRUITMENT PLANNING Recruitment is a process that attracts potential future employees who have KSAOs (knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics) that will help the organization achieve its strategic goals. If strategic goals are to be fulfilled, each step must flow from the foundation established during the recruitment planning process. Exhibit 5.1 provides an overview of how this process should operate.

Consistent with this model, three issues must be resolved before the organization can begin attracting applicants. First, the organization needs to define its strategic goals for the recruitment process. The needs that were identified in the planning process will guide the process of identifying exactly what types of employees need to be recruited, how quickly these needs will be fulfilled, and the time frame for the recruitment process. Next, the organization needs to decide how broadly it will recruit. Finally, organizational and administrative issues need to be considered, including who will do the recruitment and budgeting.

EXHIBIT 5.1 Planning, Communicating, and Implementing Strategic Recruitment


page 209Defining Strategic External Recruitment Goals Any recruitment drive must begin from a careful consideration of the organization’s strategic goals.1 Defining specific desired outcomes for the process can ensure that the organization can concentrate its efforts on applicants who will contribute most to overall organizational success. The definition of strategic goals includes developing goals for attraction, goals for speed, and a time frame.

Goals for Attraction Knowing how to recruit effectively and strategically begins by knowing the organization’s current needs and future needs. For example, a global computer hardware manufacturer considering international expansion will need to consider what national cultures and languages its employees will need to understand. A pharmaceutical company in a dynamic market will need to think of the expertise of current employees as well as recruits’ ability to learn and develop as the business environment evolves. The key


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issues an organization needs to resolve in defining its goals for attraction involve consideration of the fit issues we discuss throughout the book.

In terms of person/job fit, the organization will need to determine what types of applicants are most likely to have the required KSAOs, identified through the process of job analysis. At this stage in the process, goals should proceed from general statements to specifics. Determine whether you need a highly educated workforce or one with lots of practical experience, and then get more specific about what types of degrees employees should have or specific jobs employees should have previously held. After the KSAOs have been well defined, think about which of the recruitment sources we discuss later in the chapter are most likely to attract interested individuals with the right competencies.

In terms of person/organization fit, the techniques for recruitment should closely match the organization’s culture and values. Companies that pride themselves on environmental sustainability and a team-oriented environment will want to send a message to new recruits that is much different from the message of companies that have a revenue-driven culture that promotes aggressive growth. Everything from the areas of the country where recruitment will take place to the types of media that will be employed will send a message to potential applicants about what the organization’s culture is like, so choices about recruitment should always take these considerations into account.

Goals for Speed While goals for attraction answer the question of what types of job seekers the organization needs to attract, goals for speed answer the question of how fast the organization needs to attract applicants. When an organization needs to fill a position quickly with an employee who will contribute right away, recruitment will have to focus on methods that contact highly qualified and experienced individuals who are probably doing similar work already. Attracting these candidates does not involve the same strategy that would be employed if an organization wants to attract applicants with raw talent and ability who can be molded to fit the needs of the organization with training and experience.

Goals for speed can also influence the ways an organization recruits in more immediate ways as well. When an organization needs to fill a position quickly, techniques that identify a large pool of interested individuals who want to start right away should be implemented. On the other hand, the organization’s long-term hiring strategy should include establishing personal relationships with a broad pool of talented individuals, regardless of their immediate availability, through ongoing networking. Some technology companies start the recruitment process by providing scholarships and


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mentoring opportunities for college students, with the hope of identifying and attracting individuals who will be interested in a job when they graduate.

Time Frame The last issue that needs to be resolved in defining strategic goals is the time frame during which recruitment will take place. This can be particularly important in a legal sense because the applicant pool definition depends on the length of time applicants will have to apply. Defining a time frame means determining how long the position will be advertised prior to consideration of applications, and at what point a final offer for selection tests and interviews will be sent to applicants. During the time-frame goal development phase, general principles for determining how long a job will remain open are considered in light of strategic goals for the recruitment process. Finally, specific decisions about timing are left for the organization and administration phase.

When an organization is seeking applicants for a very specific, in- demand position, the time frame should be similarly specific, with applications accepted only until a firm deadline is reached, after which no other applications will be accepted or considered. When an organization is seeking a larger number of applicants for an entry-level managerial or professional job category, recruiters might attend job fairs and encourage applications from attendees. If an organization has the goal of filling a large number of positions that traditionally have relatively high turnover, such as sales or customer service jobs, then recruitment may not have a termination point. Instead, recruitment will be considered ongoing, as with a policy of “always taking applications.”

Open Versus Targeted Recruitment One of the most difficult aspects of recruitment is knowing where to look for applicants. In theory, the pool of potential job applicants is the eligible labor force (i.e., employed, unemployed, discouraged workers, new labor force entrants, and labor force reentrants). In practice, the organization must narrow down this vast pool into segments or strata of workers believed to be the most desirable applicants. To do so, organizations can use open or targeted recruitment methods.

Open Recruitment With an open recruitment approach, organizations cast a wide net to identify potential applicants for specific job openings. Very little effort is made in segmenting the market into applicants with the most desirable KSAOs. This


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approach is very passive in that anyone can apply for an opening, and all who apply for a position are considered, regardless of their qualifications. An advantage of the open recruitment method is that applicants often see it as being “fair” in that everyone has the opportunity to apply. Open recruitment helps ensure that a diverse set of applicants—including minorities, teens, former retirees, veterans, people with disabilities, and other potentially overlooked employee groups—are given a fair shot at being considered. Another advantage of open recruitment is that it is useful —perhaps even essential—when large numbers of applicants must be hired. The disadvantage to this approach is that a large number of applications must be considered, so it is possible that qualified applicants may be overlooked in the process. Unfortunately, with the growth of web-based recruitment, many employers have found that open recruitment yields too many applicants, making it very time-consuming to review all the résumés and other application materials.2

Targeted Recruitment A targeted recruitment approach is one whereby the organization identifies segments in the labor market where qualified candidates are likely to be. Often, this is done to find applicants with specific characteristics pertinent to person/job or person/organization match. Some experts propose that a targeted strategy may be more effective because it allows the organization to prepare a specific message that appeals to the audience, rather than relying on a general message that is mildly appealing to some candidates but strongly appealing to none.3

Following is a list of some of the potential target recruitment groups (of course, these categories are not mutually exclusive):

Key KSAO holders—the objective here is to identify applicants with specific new areas of knowledge or “hot” skills Diverse job seekers—often, one must go beyond open recruitment and make special efforts to reach diverse groups Passive job seekers or non-candidates—sometimes excellent candidates can be found in “trailing spouses” or other dual-career couples Former military personnel—especially those with key competencies such as leadership Employment-discouraged—long-term unemployed, homemakers, welfare recipients, teenagers, and people with disabilities Reward-seekers—those who are attracted to the organization’s employee value proposition, which might offer benefits such as flexible work schedules and fully paid health care


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Former employees—those with good track records while they were employees Reluctant applicants—individuals who have interest in an organization but are conflicted; research shows that flexible work arrangements may help attract such individuals4

Making the Choice The choice between open and targeted recruitment is important, as it dictates recruitment methods and sources. This is not to suggest that open and targeted recruitment necessarily achieve different goals. Targeted recruitment can achieve the same ends of inclusion as open recruitment, but through a different mechanism. Whereas open recruitment achieves inclusiveness by encouraging everyone to apply, targeted recruitment may actually seek out particular groups that would not respond in an open recruitment environment. In theory, open and targeted recruitment can be used in combination. For example, an organization may encourage all applications by posting jobs on its website and advertising broadly, while still making special efforts to reach certain populations. Of course, by seeking out one group, another may be inadvertently overlooked from consideration. So, before targeted recruitment is undertaken, the organization needs to carefully consider which groups to target, as well as the job skills necessary to perform the job(s) in question. Similarly, before open recruitment is selected, the organization needs to decide whether it is prepared to handle and fairly consider the large number of applications that may flow in.

Recruitment experts say it is not necessary to use just one strategy.5 An organization might choose a very open strategy for jobs that are not core to its performance, such as clerical and administrative functions, but then use a much more targeted approach for employees who need highly specific KSAOs. Accenture Consulting, for example, suggests that retailers identify the most critical segments of the workforce, analyze the performance of the most successful employees, and then target the recruitment to attract employees sharing relevant characteristics with star performers in these high-leverage positions. For less critical positions, a less resource-intensive process might be advisable. Exhibit 5.2 reviews the advantages of open and targeted recruitment and suggests when each approach is appropriate.

EXHIBIT 5.2 Choosing Between Open and Targeted Recruitment

Technique Advantages Best When


Open Advertising positions with a message appealing to a wide variety of job seekers in a variety of media outlets that will reach the largest possible audience

Ensures that a diverse set of applicants are contacted and considered

Lower resource and personnel cost per applicant located

Large numbers of applicants are required

Pre-entry qualifications are not as important

Targeted Focusing advertising and recruiting efforts by tailoring message content to attract segments of the labor market with specific KSAOs or demographic characteristics

Narrows the pool of potential applicants, allowing the organization to concentrate efforts on the most qualified

Facilitates a more personal approach to each applicant

The organization needs specific skill sets that are in short supply

Hiring for high- leverage positions

Organization and Administration Once the organization has a good idea of which types of candidates to recruit, decisions must be made regarding how the process will proceed. Recruitment can be coordinated mostly in-house, or in conjunction with an external recruitment partner. Given the flexibility of this process, authority to recruit will have varying degrees of centralization as well.

Incorporating In-House and External Recruitment Partners With the growth of software services to facilitate recruitment, the need to process large amounts of applicant data, and the complexity of media for disseminating recruitment messages, it has become difficult for an organization to manage its recruitment function completely by itself.6 Thus, organizations need to determine which recruitment functions should be fulfilled in-house and which should be conducted by external partners. Even large organizations with dedicated human resources staff can benefit from external partnerships. Still, responsibility for developing an integrated


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recruitment strategy needs to remain in-house. External partners have a vital role to play in facilitating recruitment.

There are many software platforms that can be used to collect, track, and analyze data from recruits. Companies often enter into long-term partnerships with these software providers to customize functions. Specialized recruitment firms are constantly in touch with a wide variety of applicants and therefore have detailed knowledge of many potential candidates. Recruitment firms also often have databases of available applicants that they have collected over time, which can mean very rapid access to many interested individuals.

However, directing and coordinating recruitment in-house is also important. In particular, in-house recruiters know much about their organization’s culture and can convey that information to recruits more credibly because they actually work for the company. Additionally, employees may perceive that a company that does its own recruitment is more interested in the applicants and has a more people-oriented culture than an organization that leaves this process to an outside firm. Taken as a whole, it’s best to use external partners for activities that involve developing specialized application portals, coordinating activities across social media and other online sources, and tracking applicants, whereas crafting messages and making contact with applicants are best handled in-house. Despite the scope for automated communication, direct contact with candidates still needs to be personalized by managers.

Centralized Versus Decentralized Recruitment An organization can centralize or decentralize the recruitment of external job applicants. In centralized recruitment, one group coordinates the recruitment activities, usually human resources (HR) professionals in the corporate offices. In a decentralized recruitment system, individual business units or managers coordinate the recruitment activities. Although the ultimate hiring decisions reside in the business unit, most organizations centralize the administrative activities associated with recruitment and screening applicants.

One advantage of centralized recruitment is that efforts are not duplicated. For example, when recruiting at a school, only one advertisement is placed, rather than separate ads for multiple organizational business units. Another advantage is that a centralized approach ensures that policy is being interpreted consistently across business units. For example, GM centralized its recruitment system in order to convey a consistent message to applicants.7 Along these same lines, a centralized function helps ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Another factor that facilitates centralized recruitment is the growth in staffing software (see


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Chapter 13). Some organizations prefer decentralized recruitment functions. Case

studies suggest that research and development departments, for example, often develop specialized recruitment practices to attract talent. These strategies are focused on university recruitment and emphasize projects that are likely to interest highly educated and intrinsically motivated researchers.8 One advantage of decentralized recruitment is that when there are fewer people to recruit, placement can take place more quickly than when a centralized approach is used. Also, the recruitment search may be more responsive to the business unit’s specific needs because the local managers involved with recruitment may be closer to the day-to-day operations of the business unit than are their corporate counterparts.

Timing Two factors that drive the decision of when to look for job applicants are lead time concerns and time sequence concerns. As staffing managers have been increasingly called on to show concrete results for their work, the importance of documenting the time to fill requisitions has grown. These deadlines are very important for procedural justice and even legal defensibility, as both current employees and potential applicants expect the organization to abide by the specified date requirements. Once a goal for the time frame is established, the organization should not pursue a certain applicant before the deadline or consider applicants who apply after the deadline.

Lead Time Concerns. Although managers would like to fill each position immediately upon approval of the requisition, this is not possible since recruiters handle a large number of vacancies at any one time. It is possible, however, to minimize the delay in filling vacancies by planning for openings well in advance of their actual occurrence. Effective planning requires that top management prioritize job openings so that they can be filled in the order that best meets the needs of the business. It also requires that recruiters be fully prepared to conduct the searches. Therefore, recruiters must be aware of the deadlines for placing ads in the appropriate periodicals, and they should be knowledgeable about the availability of labor in the marketplace. Furthermore, hiring today has largely become continuous given the growth of Internet recruitment.9 For example, many large organizations keep a list of job openings on their websites that are continually updated through their HR information systems.

Time Sequence Concerns. In a successful recruitment program, the


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steps involved in the process are clearly defined and sequenced in a logical order. A staffing flowchart should be used to organize all components of the recruitment process. The sequence of recruitment activities will affect the amount of time needed to fill job vacancies.

A very useful set of indicators for time sequence concerns is known as time-lapse statistics. These statistics provide data on the average length of time between various phases in the recruitment process. Organizations should routinely collect these data in order to assist managers in planning when vacancies are to be filled.

Recruitment Budget and Return on Investment The recruitment process is a very expensive component of organizational staffing. Costs include staff time developing a recruitment message, a website, advertising, personal contacts and follow-up with potential candidates, and logistics for on-site candidate visits. Because recruitment is such an expensive proposition, it is vital for HR to track both the costs and the returns of its recruitment practices.10 The use of applicant tracking systems makes it easier for leaders to estimate metrics from a variety of recruitment practices.

The high costs of recruitment also point to the importance of establishing a well-developed recruitment budget. An example of a recruitment budget is shown in Exhibit 5.3. It is important to account for staff time, the salaries of recruiters, and other expenses incurred in a recruitment drive, including memberships with online recruitment sources and social media, hiring external vendors to assist with the development and dissemination of recruitment materials, and travel costs that may be incurred when candidates are geographically dispersed.

Once a budget is in place and the recruitment techniques are implemented, the organization should take the additional step of assessing the effectiveness of the chosen techniques. An applicant tracking system makes it possible to assess how many individuals are attracted and hired through each source, and helps identify which recruitment sources lead applicants to the organization. For example, it is possible to determine how many candidates learned about the job opening from media advertisements, the organization’s website, campus visits and job fairs, employee referrals, or other sources. It is also possible to track how many candidates are hired from each source. From this information on the number of applicants and hires coupled with budget figures, it is possible to calculate the cost per applicant (total media cost divided by number of applicants) and the cost per hire (total media cost divided by number of hires). Cost-effective methods for attracting candidates can then become the focal part of the organization’s recruitment strategy, and those that have


lower returns on investment can be eliminated.

EXHIBIT 5.3 Example of a Recruitment Budget for 500 New Hires

Development of a Recruitment Guide A recruitment guide is a formal document that details the process to be followed to attract applicants to a job. It should be based on the organization’s staffing flowcharts, if available. Included in the guide are details such as the time, money, and staff required to fill the job as well as the steps taken to do so. An example of a recruitment guide is shown in Exhibit 5.4.

Although a recruitment guide takes time to produce—time that may be difficult to find in the face of an urgent requisition to be filled—it is an essential document. It clarifies expectations for both the recruiter and the requesting department as to what will be accomplished, what the costs will be, and who will be held accountable for the results. It also clarifies the steps that need to be taken in order to ensure that the recruitment plan is followed in a consistent fashion and in accordance with organization policy as well as relevant laws and regulations. In short, a recruitment guide safeguards the


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interests of the employer, the applicant, and the recruiter.

Process Flow and Record Keeping Before deciding where and how to look for applicants, the organization must prepare for the high volume of data that accompanies the filling of vacancies. This high volume of data results from the use of multiple sources to identify candidates (e.g., advertisements, walk-ins, employment agencies), the need to circulate the applicant’s credentials to multiple parties (e.g., hiring managers, HR), and the need to communicate with candidates regarding the status of their applications. If process flow and record-keeping issues are not addressed before the recruitment search, the organization may become overwhelmed with correspondence that is not dealt with in a timely and professional manner; in turn, the organization may lose well-qualified applicants.

To manage the process flow and record-keeping requirements, an information system must be created for recruitment efforts. An effective system allows the candidate, the hiring manager, and HR representatives to know the candidate’s status at any time. The information system tracks the applicant’s file as it flows through the organization’s recruitment process. The information system can also periodically issue reports on how timely and accurately the applicant’s information is being processed.

EXHIBIT 5.4 Recruitment Guide for Director of Claims

Position:    Director, Claims Processing

Reports to:    Senior Director, Claims Processing

Qualifications:  4-year degree in business 8 years’ experience in health care, including 5 in claims, 3 of which should be in management

Relevant labor market:    Regional Midwest

Timeline: week of 1/17: Conduct interviews with qualified applicants 2/1/11: Targeted hire date

Activities to undertake to source well-qualified candidates: Regional newspaper advertising

Post job opening on company website

Request employee referrals


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Contact regional health and life insurance associations

Call HR departments of regional health and life insurance companies to see if any are outplacing any middle managers

Contact, if necessary, executive recruiter to further source candidates

Staff members involved: HR Recruiting Manager Senior Director, Claims Processing VP, Human Resources Potential peers and direct reports

Budget: $3,000–$5,000

The process of managing data and records has been transformed by online applications.11 Indeed, one might characterize it as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, data entry and record maintenance are facilitated in that applications are immediately transferred into a searchable standardized database. Online applications often permit candidate screening by checking qualifications and administering online skills tests. This can greatly reduce the time spent weeding out résumés sent in by unqualified candidates. On the other hand, online applications generate much more data, including applications from individuals who are poorly motivated to join the organization or are obviously unqualified for the position. To facilitate combing through all this information, many web- based recruitment systems have integrated screening tools to eliminate unqualified applicants early in the process.

As the applicant progresses through the hiring process, additional record keeping is required, such as who has reviewed the file, how long each individual has had the file to be reviewed, what decision has been reached (e.g., reject, invite for a visit, conduct a second interview), and what step needs to be taken next (e.g., arrange for a flight and accommodations, schedule an interview). Throughout the process, communications with the applicant must also be tracked so the applicant knows whether his or her credentials will receive further review and whether he or she needs to take any additional steps to secure employment.

Even when an applicant is rejected for a position, there are record- keeping responsibilities. The applicant’s file should be stored in the event that another search arises that requires someone with the applicant’s qualifications. The applicant’s file should be stored for a maximum of one


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year (see “Legal Issues” at the end of the chapter).

APPLICANT REACTIONS After the organization has a clear idea of its strategic plan, the possible reactions of applicants should be considered. Applicant views of an organization have been shown to change significantly over time, and the direction of these changes is related to later job choice decisions.12 The first impression an applicant has of an organization has a very strong impact on his or her later feelings of fit, so it’s a good idea to devote significant time and energy to improving these reactions. However, it’s just as important to maintain a good impression later on. Applicants who start with a good impression can lose interest if the organization fails to maintain their interest. On the other hand, applicants who don’t have a very good first impression might eventually take a job if new information improves their opinion of the organization.

Organizations should try to collect as much information as possible about potential applicant reactions at all phases of the process, including initial intentions to apply, interest in taking a job if offered, and final choice. Different factors can be important at different stages. For example, the influence of the recruiter on the applicant is likely to be greater in the initial stage than in the latter stages of the recruitment process. In the latter stages, actual job characteristics carry more weight in the applicant’s decision.

Understanding how applicants react to various features of the recruitment process will help determine which type of communication message content and media should be employed, as well as help facilitate implementation of effective strategies. Thus, we review applicant reactions to job and organization characteristics, recruiters, the recruitment process, and diversity issues in turn before turning to communicating a message and receiving applications.

Reactions to Job and Organizational Characteristics In a marketing sense, the job and the organization are the products the organization is trying to “sell” to potential applicants, so any recruitment strategy will have to take these characteristics into account.

At the job level, research suggests that applicants are most interested in working for organizations that offer sufficient wages, opportunities for growth and development, and interesting work characteristics.13 In particular, opportunities for challenges and development are most strongly associated with applicant attraction. Of course, not all jobs have these desired features, so managers will need to decide exactly how much


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information about the job should be shared. In some industries, the payment strategy may help attract candidates who

match the job demands. For example, to attract entrepreneurial financial advisors, some financial services firms entice potential applicants with a well-publicized opportunity to run their shops independently and keep 100% of their advisory fees. Attracting such individuals supports an organizational strategy that focuses on innovation, personal initiative, and achievement.

At the organization level, applicants are most drawn to prestigious organizations that have a reputation for treating their employees well.14 The social environment of the organization also matters, with many applicants being attracted to companies where they believe they will work with good coworkers in a positive social environment. Although some research suggests that most potential applicants prefer a supportive organizational culture to a competitive culture, a large proportion of workers clearly prefer an organization that emphasizes individual work and ambition.15 Most experts advise that organizations should accurately portray their culture in recruitment so they attract employees who will fit well within the organization.

Reactions to Recruiters Considerable research has been conducted and carefully reviewed on the reactions of job applicants to the behavior and characteristics of recruiters.16 Three key themes have emerged in this literature, all showing that the main function of an effective recruiter is to communicate the features of the job and organization in an accurate, thorough, and engaging manner.

First, though the recruiter does indeed influence job applicant reactions, he or she does not have as much influence on them as do actual job or organization characteristics. This indicates that the recruiter cannot be viewed as a substitute for a well-defined and well-communicated recruitment message showing the actual characteristics of the job and organization.

Second, the influence of the recruiter is more likely to be felt in the initial attitudes of the job applicant than in his or her behaviors. That is, an applicant who has been exposed to a talented recruiter is more likely to walk away with a favorable impression of the recruiter than to accept a job on the basis of the interaction with a recruiter. This attitudinal effect is important, however, as it may lead to good publicity for the organization. Positive initial interactions also set the stage for further interest in later interactions with the organization. In turn, good publicity may lead to a larger applicant pool to draw from in the future.

Third, two behaviors of the recruiter seem to have the largest influence


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on applicant reactions. The first is the level of warmth the recruiter shows toward the job applicant. Warmth can be expressed by being enthusiastic, personable, empathetic, and helpful in dealings with the candidate. The second behavior is communicating knowledge about the job. This can be conveyed by being well versed in the job requirements matrix and the job rewards matrix. Additionally, recruiters who show interest in the applicant are viewed more positively.

Organizations can use this information to their advantage by selecting and training recruiters well. Recruiters should be knowledgeable about applicant tracking systems, organization and job characteristics, recruitment targets, policies and procedures, and the legal environment around recruitment.17 With the growth of easily accessible data reporting and analysis tools, it is vital for all recruiters to have the training to utilize these tools effectively, along with a thorough understanding of how applicant tracking systems can benefit the organization. Recruiters also need to receive training in marketing and the interpersonal aspects of recruitment. Recruiters can be trained on how to do market research, how to find job candidates in the market, and how to identify what candidates want. In developing their marketing skills, recruiters can be shown how to link up with other departments, such as marketing and public relations. Recruiters may be able to collaborate with marketing to achieve a brand image that not only sells products to customers but sells the organization to prospective hires as well. Interpersonal skills training should include practice scripts, strategies to put recruits at ease, and role-playing exercises.

Finally, in their efforts to recruit more creatively, recruiters need training on ethical issues in recruitment. Is it ethical for a recruiter to recruit at a competitor’s place of business? In parking lots? At weddings or funerals? Some recruiters will even lie to applicants in an effort to lure them. To ensure that recruiters behave ethically, standards should be developed and recruiters should be trained on these standards.18

Reactions to the Recruitment Process Only some administrative components of the recruitment process have been shown to have an impact on applicant reactions.19 Research suggests that above all else, applicants want a system that is fair. First, job applicants are more likely to have favorable reactions to the recruitment process when the screening devices used to narrow the applicant pool are seen as job related. That is, the process used should be closely related to the content of the job as spelled out in the job requirements matrix. Applicants also see recruitment processes as more fair if they have an opportunity to perform or demonstrate their ability to do the job.


Second, delays in the recruitment process have a negative effect on applicants’ reactions. In particular, a long delay between the applicant’s expression of interest and the organization’s response may lead the applicant to form a negative reaction about the organization but not about himself or herself. For example, an applicant who experiences a long delay between an on-site visit and a job offer is more likely to believe that something is wrong with the organization than with his or her personal qualifications. This is especially true of the better-qualified candidate, who is likely to act on these feelings by accepting another job offer.

Online recruitment can create additional concerns. Specifically, some applicants may find contacts through social media invasive if not handled appropriately. Attempts to learn more about an applicant by viewing online profiles and tracking social media connections can lead to negative reactions and even legal repercussions. It is therefore crucial to ensure that recruits are able to control when and how they interact with the organization’s social media efforts.

Studies reveal that applicants are able to locate more relevant jobs on the Internet than in traditional sources such as print media. Moreover, applicants generally like using the Internet for evaluating companies and submitting applications, if some provisos are kept in mind. As with general recruitment, perhaps the most important factor is the degree and speed of follow-up; delays greatly harm the image of the recruiting organization, so organizations need to make sure that online applications are followed up. Also, research shows that job seekers are more satisfied with organizational websites when specific job information is provided and security precautions are taken to preserve the confidentiality of the information submitted. One key assurance is that the organization will not share résumés with vendors that will spam applicants with various solicitations.20

Reactions to Diversity Issues In addition to tailoring messages to reach employees with specific KSAO profiles, some organizations also target specific underrepresented groups, such as women and racioethnic minorities. Most research suggests that the race or gender of a recruiter has relatively little influence on applicant attraction, and that there is not strong support for the idea that individuals react more positively when recruited by someone of their own demographic group. However, the content of the recruitment message and choice of recruitment sources can have an influence.

Research suggests that applicants react more positively to ads that reflect their own demographic group, which should be taken into account when developing a media campaign.21 Such efforts are among the most effective,


page 223 and the least controversial, elements of affirmative action programs (AAPs). One of the most common methods for increasing the diversity of applicant pools is to advertise in publications targeted at women and minorities. Surveys of job seekers show that women and minorities are especially interested in working for employers that endorse diversity through policy statements and in recruitment materials. Advertisements depicting groups of diverse employees are seen as more attractive to women and racioethnic minorities, which is probably why most organizations depict workforce diversity prominently in their recruitment materials. Effective depiction of diversity should take job functions into account as well; diversity advertisements that fail to show women and minorities in positions of organizational leadership send a negative message about the diversity climate at an organization.22

Some organizations are also aiming to increase the age diversity of the workforce by targeting older workers. Many traditional recruitment methods, like campus recruitment and job fairs, draw in a primarily younger workforce. However, as noted in Chapter 3, there has been an increase in the proportion of the workforce over 50 years of age that is likely to persist. These older workers are often highly qualified and experienced, and thus attractive candidates for recruitment, but a different targeted approach is required to bring them in. Mature workers are attracted by flexible schedules, health and pension benefits, and part-time opportunities, so the presence of such programs should be noted in recruitment advertisements.

COMMUNICATION Once the strategic planning phase is completed, it is time to consider how the position will be marketed to potential applicants. Reaching out to the job market first requires developing a message and then selecting a medium to communicate that message. Both phases are considered in turn.

Communication Message

Types of Messages Recruitment experts have studied the ways in which the content of the recruitment message can influence potential applicants’ thinking about the position. The communication message can vary in the extent to which it focuses on the employment brand, information targeted to a specific group of applicants, or realistic information about the organization or job.

Employment Brand Message. Organizations wishing to convey an appealing message to potential applicants may develop an employment


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brand to attract applicants.23 An employment brand is a good-company tag that places the image of being a great place to work or “employer of choice” in the minds of job candidates. An organization’s employment brand is closely tied to its product market image. As with general product awareness, the more “customers” (in this case, potential applicants) are aware of an organization’s employment brand, the more interested they are in pursuing a job. Organizations that are well known by potential applicants may not need to engage in much advertising for their jobs. Big-name organizations that market well-known products, such as Microsoft, Apple, Sony, and Disney, often have many more applicants than they need for most openings. Organizations with lower profiles may have to actively advertise their employment brand to bring in more applicants. One of the best ways for smaller organizations to emphasize their unique brand is to emphasize their most attractive attributes. Experts in corporate branding also encourage employers to compare their own organizational employment offerings with those of the competition to see how they are unique, and then highlight these unique advantages in organizational recruitment messages. For example, the US Marine Corps emphasized the Marines as an elite group of warriors under its branding strategy, rather than focusing on the financial advantages of enlistment as had been done in the past.

Beyond reputation, another employment brand may be value or culture based. For example, GE has long promoted its high performance expectations in order to attract achievement-oriented applicants seeking commensurate rewards. An organization’s website is often used to convey information regarding its culture and to emphasize its employment brand. Most organizational websites provide information on the organization’s history, culture, diversity, benefits, and specific job information under a “careers” heading. It is informative to look at a series of these organizational websites to see how organizations cater to applicants. For example, Merck’s corporate website shows an organization that conveys a message of professional development and social responsibility, whereas Goldman Sachs’s emphasizes performance and success, and Coca-Cola’s emphasizes global opportunities and fun.

Branding has several benefits.24 Of course, establishing an attractive employment brand may help attract desired applicants to the organization. Moreover, having an established brand may help retain employees who were attracted to the brand to begin with. Research suggests that identifiable employment brands may breed organizational commitment on the part of newly hired employees. Applicants are attracted to companies with a reputation for corporate social responsibility because this is seen as a signal that the company will treat employees well. Employment brands associated with empowerment and high compensation have also been shown to be


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especially attractive to applicants. Research shows that having an employment brand can attract applicants

to an organization, even beyond job and organizational attributes. Evidence also suggests that employers are most able to get their brand image out when they engage in early recruitment activities such as advertising or generating publicity about the organization.25

Targeted Message. One way to improve upon matching people with jobs is to target the recruitment message to a particular audience. The targeted message is a natural complement to a targeted search. Different audiences may be looking for different rewards from an employer. Unlike the branded recruitment message, where the focus is on the organization and what it offers to everyone, the targeted message focuses on the unique preferences of specific segments of the potential applicant pool.

To develop a targeted message, an organization can use principles from marketing research.26 First, employers can look to media used by different groups or visit social media sites. Organizational representatives can also conduct focus groups and interviews with different groups of potential applicants, and then design messages that highlight features of a job that will fit with these different groups. Having members of targeted groups participate in message crafting is key, to avoid messages that come across as inauthentic or even insulting.

Human resources practitioners have developed recruitment messages designed to reach groups that differ in terms of both demographic and deeper level diversity.27 Examples of demographic groups that might be targeted include underrepresented minorities, teenagers, older workers, welfare recipients, people with disabilities, veterans, and displaced homemakers, all of whom may have special interests or preferences. Older workers, for example, may be looking for employers that can meet their financial needs (e.g., supplement Social Security), security needs (e.g., retraining), and social needs (e.g., place to interact with people). College students appear to be attracted to organizations that provide rewards and promotions on the basis of individual rather than group performance. Members of minority groups look for both explicit signals endorsing a positive climate for diversity and signals that their group is represented in leadership roles.

Messages can also be targeted toward those with specific interests and values. Evidence suggests that messages targeting those with specific values may have a stronger effect on applicant interests than messages targeting specific demographic groups.28 It is easy to find examples of such policies. Companies like REI emphasize their commitment to the environment and


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opportunities to use outdoor gear in hopes of attracting employees who share these values. Companies in the health care industry emphasize patient care. Emphasizing diversity policies in recruitment not only serves to increase interest among members of underrepresented minority groups, but also can appeal to majority group members who value diversity as well.

Realistic Recruitment Message. A realistic recruitment message portrays the organization and the job as they really are, rather than describing what the organization thinks job applicants want to hear—a practice some would argue is not the best message to send applicants on moral or practical grounds. A message that focuses on being accurate, even incorporating negative information, about the job is called a realistic job preview (RJP).29 According to this practice, job applicants are given a “vaccination” by being told what the actual job is like. The hope is that some potential applicants will realize the job is a poor fit and not apply. When an applicant self-selects out, the organization does not face the costs associated with recruiting, selecting, training, and compensating someone who will quickly leave the organization.

EXHIBIT 5.5 Example of Job Attributes in an RJP for Elementary School Teachers

Positive Job Attributes Dental insurance is provided

Innovative teaching strategies are encouraged University nearby for taking classes

Large support staff for teachers

Negative Job Attributes Salary growth has averaged only 2% in past three years

Classes are large The school day is long

Interactions with community have not been favorable

An example of the numerous attributes of an RJP for the job of elementary school teacher is shown in Exhibit 5.5. Note that the attributes are quite specific and that they are both positive and negative.

A great deal of research has been conducted on the effectiveness of RJPs, and their use appears to lead to somewhat higher job satisfaction and lower turnover.30 This appears to be true because providing applicants with


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realistic expectations about future job characteristics helps them cope with job demands once they are hired. RJPs also appear to foster the belief in employees that their employer is honest and concerned with employee well- being, which leads to higher levels of organizational commitment.

RJPs may lead applicants to withdraw from the recruitment process, although reviews of studies suggest that RJPs have little effect on such attrition. This may be good news for employers interested in using RJPs: Providing applicants with realistic information provides employers with more satisfied and committed employees while still maintaining applicant interest in the position. Unfortunately, research suggests that the negative effects of RJPs on applicant attraction are particularly strong for high- quality applicants. In other words, the best employees are the most likely to self-select out when an RJP is presented.31

Although RJPs appear to have both weakly positive consequences (slightly higher job satisfaction and lower turnover among new hires) and negative consequences (slightly reduced ability to hire high-quality applicants), these outcomes have been found to be affected by a number of factors. A meta-analytic review of the research on RJPs offers more insight into their nuanced effects:32

RJPs presented very early in the recruitment process are less effective in reducing post-hire turnover than those presented just before or just after hiring. Post-hire RJPs lead to higher levels of job performance than do RJPs presented before hiring. Verbal RJPs tend to reduce turnover more than written or videotaped RJPs.

In general, these findings suggest that RJPs should be given verbally (rather than in writing or by showing a video) and that it is probably best to reserve their use for later in the recruitment process (RJPs should not be part of the initial exposure of the organization to applicants).

Choice of Messages The different types of messages—branded, realistic, and targeted—are not likely to be equally effective under the same conditions. Which message to convey depends on the labor market, vacancy characteristics, and applicant characteristics.

The three types of messages are summarized in Exhibit 5.6. If the labor market is tight and applicants are difficult to come by, realism may not be an effective message, because to the extent that applicants self-select out of the applicant pool, fewer are left for an employer to choose from. Hence, if the


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employment objective is simply to fill job slots in the short run and worry about turnover later, a realistic message will have counterproductive effects. Obviously, then, when applicants are abundant and turnover is an immediate problem, a realistic message is appropriate.

In a tight labor market, branded and targeted messages are likely to be more effective than a realistic message in attracting job applicants. Attraction is strengthened, as there are inducements in applying for a job. In addition, individual needs are more likely to be perceived as met by a prospective employer. Hence, the applicant is more motivated to apply to organizations with an attractive or targeted message than those without. During loose economic times when applicants are plentiful, the branded and targeted approaches may be costlier than necessary to attract an adequate supply of labor. Also, they may set up false expectations concerning what life will be like on the job and thus lead to turnover.

Job applicants will know more about the characteristics of highly visible jobs than those of less visible jobs. For example, it may be redundant to give a realistic message when recruiting for highly visible jobs in the service sector, such as that of cashier. Other jobs, such as an outside sales position, are far less visible to people. These jobs may seem glamorous (e.g., sales commissions) to prospective applicants who fail to see the less glamorous aspects of the job (e.g., a lot of travel and paperwork).

The value of the job to the organization also has a bearing on the selection of an appropriate recruitment message. Inducements for jobs of higher value or worth to the organization are easier to justify in a budgetary sense than inducements for jobs of lower worth. The job may be of such importance to the organization that it is willing to pay a premium through inducements to attract well-qualified candidates.

In regard to the effectiveness of certain messages, some applicants are less likely than others to be influenced in their attitudes and behaviors by the recruitment message. For example, one study showed that a realistic message is less effective for those with considerable job experience.33 Highly experienced candidates are more likely than less experienced candidates to be persuaded by high-quality, detailed advertisements.34 Different segments of the labor market have different contrast points: individuals who are new to the labor market compare jobs against their history in school and might contrast the job against further education, employed job seekers compare jobs against their current job and may see an offer as negotiating leverage in their current job, and those who have recently lost a job compare their job against unemployment.35

EXHIBIT 5.6 Comparing Types of Messages


page 229Communication Media Not only is the message itself an important part of the recruitment process, so, too, is the selection of media to communicate the message. The most common communication media include advertisements, organizational websites, videoconferencing, and direct contact. Although these are all potential ways to get the message out, the most common method of learning about a job is through word of mouth, which is a difficult communication medium for an organization to manage.

Effective communication media are high in richness and credibility. Rich media channels allow for timely personal feedback and a variety of methods for conveying messages (e.g., visual images, text, figures and charts), and they are customized to each respondent’s specific needs. Credible media channels transmit information that is honest, accurate, and thorough.


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Research has shown that respondents have more positive images of organizations that transmit information that is rich and credible.36 If the information is seen as coming directly from the employees, rather than from the organization’s recruitment offices, the message will likely be seen as more honest and unbiased. Experts on advertising advise recruiters to remember that they need to constantly promote their brand to potential employees, because sheer repetition and consistency of a promotional message increase its effectiveness.

Our review of communication media below proceeds from the media that tend to have the least credibility and richness to the media that have the most credibility and richness. Research has shown that greater employer involvement with prospective applicants is likely to improve the image of the organization. In turn, a better image of the organization is likely to result in prospective applicants pursuing employment with the organization.37 The media with the least richness and credibility usually have an advantage in that they can reach a large number of people at low cost, so they should not be overlooked. Given the various advantages and disadvantages of the methods we review below, organizations usually select a variety of media that support one another. For example, some organizations use the broad reach of advertising to get the word out to many potential candidates, and then direct these candidates to the organization’s website for a richer presentation.

Advertisements Given space limitations for some online and printed media and the potentially limited attention spans of readers, ads are often short and to the point. Unfortunately, these ads typically cannot provide rich information because of their short durations. Given that advertisements are obvious attempts at persuasion, they tend to have relatively low credibility. They can have a very broad reach, though, so they should be seriously considered if the organization wishes to reach a broad market.

Ads appear in a variety of places other than business publications and can be found in local, regional, and national news media; on television and radio; and in bargain shopper inserts, door hangers, direct mail, and welcome wagon packets. Advertisements can thus be used to reach a broad market segment. There are many different types of ads:

Classified advertisements. Classified ads appear in the “help wanted” section of the newspaper or online at sites like Craigslist. Newspaper ads, whether in print or online, are often limited in length and style, but some online sites allow for much more information. These ads are


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used most often for quick résumé solicitation for low-level jobs at a low cost. Although there has been a major shift toward the use of electronic recruitment, and all newspapers have online resources as well, surveys suggest that print ads remain a significant presence in the recruitment of hourly workers.38 An example of a classified ad is shown in Exhibit 5.7. The length of this ad is more typical of online sources that do not limit words or characters. Banner ads. Banner ads are online advertisements placed on websites that an organization believes will be visited by potential applicants, including social media sites, occupation-specific websites, and news media sites. They are limited in size, but viewers can easily click over to the organization’s official site for a more extensive description of the job. Banner ads can be either relatively cheap or quite expensive, depending on which website the organization chooses to place the ad. Display ads. Display ads are larger and more involved than classified ads, and they are usually developed in conjunction with a professional advertising agency. These ads allow for freedom of design and placement in a publication. Thus, they are very expensive and begin to resemble recruitment brochures. These ads are typically used when an employer is searching for a large number of applicants to fill multiple openings. They are often found in professional publications as part of a targeted marketing strategy. Radio and television ads. Organizations that advertise on the radio or on television purchase a 30- or 60-second time slot to advertise openings in specific job categories. Choice of stations and broadcast times will target specific audiences. For example, a classical music radio station will likely draw in different applicants than a contemporary pop music radio station; an all-sports network will draw in different applicants than a cooking program. Radio and television stations often have detailed demographic information available to potential advertisers. The advantage of radio and television advertisements is their reach. Individuals who are already searching for jobs generally read help-wanted ads, whereas those who are not currently looking for jobs are more likely to hear radio and television ads. Being able to expand the potential job pool to include those who are not actively looking for work can be a real advantage in a tight labor market.

EXHIBIT 5.7 Classified Ad for Human Resource Generalist



ABC Health, a leader in the health care industry, currently has a position available for an experienced Human Resource Generalist.

This position will serve on the human resources team, which serves as a business partner with our operational departments. Our team prides itself on developing and maintaining progressive and impactful human resources policies and programs.

Qualified candidates for this position will possess a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis on human resource management, or a degree in a related field, such as industrial psychology. In addition, a minimum of three years of experience as a human resource generalist is required. This experience should include exposure to at least four of the following functional areas: compensation, employment, benefits, training, employee relations, and performance management.

In return for your contributions, we offer a competitive salary as well as comprehensive, flexible employee benefits. If you meet the qualifications and our opportunity is attractive to you, please forward your résumé and salary expectations to:

Human Resource Department ABC Health

P.O. Box 123 Pensacola, FL 12345

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

Although most recruiters are familiar with the advantages of the techniques described above, there are other media outlets that have been explored less frequently that might offer a recruiter a competitive advantage for attracting candidates. For example, BNSF Railway finds that advertising for jobs in movie theaters is an effective way to reach a diverse group of candidates who might not otherwise consider working in the rail industry. A large technology firm in Belgium experimented with a decidedly old- fashioned method of recruitment by sending handwritten postcards to potential applicants rather than using e-mail. This strategy paid off, with applicants recruited through the postcard method being more likely to reply, more qualified on average, and, among those who did apply, more likely to be invited for a job interview. In another unusual example of innovative media recruitment, the US Army has used a very popular online video game


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called America’s Army to draw in thousands of recruits.39 Advertisements can be very costly and need to be monitored closely for

yield. Using marketing data on audience demographics, employers can diversify their applicant pool by placing ads in media outlets that reach a variety of applicant populations. By carefully monitoring the results of each ad, the organization can make a more informed decision as to which ads should be run in the future. To track ads, each should be coded. Then, as résumés come into the organization in response to the ad, they can be organized according to the codes, and the yield for that ad can be calculated. This information will help the organization weed out less effective ads and focus on the more productive ones.

Recruitment Brochures A recruitment brochure is often sent or given directly to job applicants, or it may be included as part of the organization’s website. Information in the brochure may be very detailed, and hence, the brochure may be lengthy. A brochure not only covers information about the job but also communicates information about the organization and its location. It may include pictures in addition to written narrative in order to illustrate various aspects of the job, such as the city in which the organization is located and the actual employees. These various means of demonstrating the features of the organization enhance the richness of this recruitment technique. The advantage of a brochure is that the organization targets who receives a copy. Also, it can be lengthier than an advertisement. A disadvantage is that it can be quite costly to develop, and because it is obviously a sales pitch made by the organization, it might be seen as less credible.

A successful brochure possesses (1) a unique theme or point of view relative to other organizations in the same industry and (2) a visual distinctiveness in terms of design and photographs. A good format for the brochure is to begin with a general description of the organization, including its history and culture (values, goals, “brand”). A description of the hiring process should come next, followed by a characterization of pay/benefits and performance reviews. Finally, the brochure should conclude with contact information.

Organizational Websites It may not be an overstatement to conclude that organizational websites have become the single most important medium through which organizations communicate with potential applicants. Nearly every large organization has a “career opportunities” page on its website, and many small organizations have company and point-of-contact information for job


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seekers. Websites are a powerful means of not only communicating information about jobs but also reaching applicants who otherwise would not bother (or know how or where) to apply. Thus, care must be taken to ensure that the organizational website is appealing to potential job candidates. The web is unique in that it may function as both a recruitment source and a recruitment medium. When a web page only serves to communicate information about the job or organization to potential applicants, it serves as a recruitment medium. However, when a web page attracts actual applicants, particularly when applicants are allowed to apply online, it also functions as a recruitment source.

Research has shown that organizations can successfully convey cultural messages on their websites by describing organizational policies, showing pictures, and including testimonials. Effective websites also permit users to customize the information they receive by asking questions about their preferences and providing relevant information.40

How can web designers put these findings into practice? The three core attributes driving the appeal of an organization’s website are engagement, functionality, and content. First, the website must be vivid and attractive to applicants. Second, while engagement is important, at the same time the website must be functional, meaning that it should be quick to load, easily navigable, and interactive. A website that is overly complex may be vivid, but it will only generate frustration if it is hard to decipher or slow to load. Third, an organizational website must convey the information prospective applicants want to see, including current position openings, job requirements, and steps for applying. Many organizations integrate video testimonials from current employees as a way to lure potential applicants. In industries where competition for talent is fierce, a textual job description may simply not be compelling enough to compete with a well-produced video featuring enthusiastic current employees.41

Of course, there is more to designing an organizational website than the three attributes discussed above. Exhibit 5.8 provides a thorough list of factors to keep in mind when designing a website for organizational recruitment.

Videoconferencing Videoconferencing is another way to communicate with applicants.42 Rather than meet in person with applicants, organizational representatives meet with applicants face-to-face on a monitor, in separate locations. Nearly all laptop and tablet computers have the technology needed for videoconferencing, so most applicants can participate quite easily. Moreover, this technology makes it possible for the organization to screen applicants at multiple or remote locations without actually having to travel


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to those locations. Company representatives who will participate in these videoconferences should be carefully selected and trained so they can answer questions thoroughly and communicate in a compelling manner. Videoconferencing has most of the advantages of face-to-face communication. It has high richness because the recruiter can answer questions, and it is highly credible because most people trust personal communication with an identifiable person more than they trust a prepackaged message from an organization.

Direct Contact The most expensive, but potentially the most powerful, method for communicating with potential applicants is through direct contact. The two most common media for direct contact are telephone messages and e-mail. These techniques are much more personal than the other methods of recruitment because the applicants are specifically approached by the organization. Personal contacts are likely to be seen as more credible by respondents. In addition, messages delivered through direct contact often allow respondents to ask personally relevant questions, which obviously should enhance the richness of the information.

EXHIBIT 5.8 Factors for Designing Organizational Websites

1. Keep it simple—surveys reveal that potential job candidates are overwhelmed by complex, difficult-to-navigate websites; never sacrifice clarity for a flashy display—remember, a good applicant is there for the content, not for the bells and whistles.

2. Make access easy; the web page and links should be easy to download—studies reveal that individuals will not wait more than about eight seconds for a page to download (some recent research even suggests that this number is as low as two seconds), so the four-color page that looks great will backfire if it takes the user too much time to download it (also make sure that the link to the recruiting site on the home page is prominently displayed).

3. Provide an online application form—increasingly, potential candidates expect to be able to submit an application online; online forms are not only desired by candidates, organizations can load responses directly into searchable databases.

4. Provide information about company culture—allow applicants to self-select out if their values clearly do not match those of the organization.

5. Include selected links to relevant websites—the words


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‘‘selected’’ and ‘‘relevant’’ are key here; links to include might be a cost-of-living calculator and a career advice area.

6. Make sure necessary information is conveyed to avoid confusion—clearly specify job title, location, etc., so applicants know which job they are applying for and, if there are several jobs, don’t apply for the wrong job.

7. Keep the information current—make sure position information is updated regularly (e.g., weekly).

8. Evaluate and track the results—periodically evaluate the performance of the website on the basis of various criteria (number of hits, number of applications, application/hits ratio, quality of hires, cost of maintenance, user satisfaction, time to hire, etc.) or set up a software program to track the response data.

SOURCES: P. W. Braddy, A. W. Meade, and C. M. Kroustalis, “Online Recruiting: The Effects of Organizational Familiarity, Website Usability, and Website Attractiveness on Viewers’ Impressions of Organizations,” Computers in Human Behavior, 2008, 24, pp. 2992–3001; S. Selden and J. Orenstein, “Government E-Recruiting Web Sites: The Influence of E- Recruitment Content and Usability on Recruiting and Hiring Outcomes in US State Governments,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2011, 19, pp. 31–40; I. O. Williamson, D. P. Lepak, and J. King, “The Effect of Company Recruitment Web Site Orientation on Individuals’ Perceptions of Organizational Attractiveness,” Journal of Vocational Behavior, 2003, 63, pp. 242–263; F. F-H. Nah, “A Study on Tolerable Waiting Time: How Long Are Web Users Willing to Wait?” Behaviour & Information Technology, 2004, 23, pp. 153–163.

However, in the age of spamming, it is important to remember that most individuals will regard mass e-mails or automated telephone messages with even less enthusiasm than they would for junk mail. Most e-mail programs filter spam, and the more mass messages that are sent, the more likely it is that mail servers will identify the organization’s address as a problem. Therefore, e-mail contact should be used only for very specific individuals. Direct contact should be communicated in a way that makes it clear that the receiver is one of a small number of people who will receive the message. The messages should be highly personal, reflecting an understanding of the candidate’s unique qualifications. Providing a response e-mail address or telephone number that allows respondents to ask questions about the job opening will also help increase the yield for the direct contact method. However, personalization and customized responding to questions obviously will increase the cost per individual contacted, so the trade-offs in


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terms of cost must be considered.

Word of Mouth and Social Media One of the most powerful methods for communicating about a potential job opportunity is one that organizations cannot directly control: word of mouth.43 This refers to the informal information regarding an organization’s reputation, employment practices, and policies that can exert a powerful impact on job seekers’ impressions of an employer. Because word of mouth usually comes from individuals who do not have a vested interest in “selling” the job, the messages are likely to be seen as more credible. The fact that job seekers can ask and have questions answered also makes word of mouth a very rich source of information.

Some word of mouth is no longer conveyed face-to-face, as blogs and social media can also be used to communicate information about employers.44 The largest social media sites with employment connections, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and GlassDoor, have reached such a level of prevalence that an employer might regard an applicant who didn’t extensively research the company’s online reputation with suspicion. These sites convey information that an organization might prefer not to have made public to applicants, such as interpersonal conflicts in various divisions, information about inequitable pay practices, or critiques of career paths. For applicants, this increased transparency may make it easier for them to find a good fit. For recruiters, however, it has become necessary to carefully scan through online content regarding the organization and ensure that the company has answers to common criticisms.

How can organizations influence word of mouth? One technique is to carefully cultivate relationships with current employees, recognizing that the way they are treated will come to influence the ways that other potential applicants believe they will be treated. This means making certain that jobs are as intrinsically and extrinsically satisfying for the current workforce as possible. Organizations should also make conscious efforts to shape the perception of their employment brand by using online testimonials from current employees. These testimonials act as a sort of virtual equivalent of word of mouth. Although job seekers will likely be somewhat skeptical of any information on a corporate website, a testimonial from someone who works at the organization is still likely to be more persuasive than a conventional sales pitch.

STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION Once the recruitment planning phase is complete and the organization has


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spread the word about the job opening through various communication media, the next phase is implementing the recruitment strategy. This process involves gathering applications from a variety of sources and evaluating the quantity of applicants, the quality of applicants, the cost of using each source, and the impact on HR outcomes.

Individual Recruitment Sources The first category of recruitment sources we consider are those that focus on the individuals the organization is attempting to contact. These sources target active job seekers who are submitting applications to a number of potential employers. This means that it is incumbent on the job seeker to actively participate in the process early on. Applicants generally apply only to organizations they believe are hiring, so effective use of communication media is necessary to elicit enough applications.

Applicant Initiated Applicant-initiated recruitment is among the most traditional and well- accepted techniques for finding a job. Most employers accept applications from job applicants who physically walk into the organization to apply for a job, who call the organization, or who contact the organization through the corporate website.

The usual point of contact for walk-ins or phone inquiries is the receptionist in smaller organizations and the employment office in larger organizations. When applications are accepted, a contact person responsible for processing such applicants needs to be assigned. If the applications will be completed on paper or through an electronic on-site application system like a job kiosk, space must be created for walk-ins to complete applications and preemployment tests. Additionally, hours must be established when applicants can apply for jobs, and procedures must be in place to ensure that data from these individuals are entered into the applicant flow process. If walk-ins or résumé senders are treated like intruders, they may communicate a very negative image about the organization to the community.

As we noted previously, a company’s website can blend the process of spreading information about a job opening with the process of submitting an application. Although surveys reveal that most employers believe their websites do a better job of attracting applicants than do job boards, many of these websites do not live up to their potential.45 Many have been likened to little more than post office boxes where applicants can send their résumés. It is important to remember that communication with an applicant shouldn’t end with his or her online application. Many organizations now have integrated applicant tracking systems that allow


applicants to track the status of their applications and provide feedback. All of the principles we described earlier in website design should be

kept in mind when it comes to the application pages.46 In particular, the application portal should be simple, easy to use, informative, and up to date. To assess job seeker preferences, consultants from Brass Ring watched applicants go through the process of visiting organization websites, with the applicants describing their thought processes aloud. The consultants’ research indicates that recruits are often frustrated by complex application systems, especially those that require them to enter the same data multiple times. To keep potential applicants from feeling disconnected from the online recruitment process, it is advisable to keep in touch with them at every stage of the process. To speed things up, some organizations inform applicants immediately if there is a mismatch between the information they provided and the job requirements; thus they can know immediately that they are not under consideration. Quickly eliminating unacceptable candidates also allows recruiters to respond more quickly to applicants who do have sufficient KSAOs. A review of online job solicitation found that the best website advertising offered special features to potential applicants, including opportunities to check where they are in the hiring process, examples of a typical “day in the life” at an organization, and useful feedback to applicants regarding their potential fit with the organization and job early in the process.

Employment Websites Employment websites have evolved from their original function as job boards and database repositories of jobs and résumés to become fully featured recruitment and screening centers.47 For employers that pay a fee, many employment websites provide services like targeted advertising, video advertising, preemployment screening examinations, and applicant tracking. For job seekers, there are resources to facilitate exploring different career paths, information about the communities where jobs are offered, and access to message boards where current and former employees can sound off on the culture and practices of different organizations.

Millions of job seekers submit their résumés to employment websites every year, and there are thousands of job sites to which they can apply. Although it is difficult to obtain precise data on the use of employment websites, some estimates suggest that they are second only to referrals as a source of new hires. On the other hand, research suggests that solicitations for employment from electronic bulletin boards are seen as especially less informative and low in credibility relative to organizations’ websites or face- to-face meetings at campus placement offices. Therefore, these methods should not be used without having some supporting practices that involve


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One difficulty in utilizing the Internet for recruitment is that many sites specifically designed for recruitment become defunct. Conversely, new employment websites come online almost daily. Thus, one cannot assume that the sites an organization used in the past will be the best options in the future, or that they will even exist. Any attempt to summarize the current state of the Internet job posting board scene needs to be taken with a grain of salt, since the landscape for Internet recruitment is shifting very rapidly. Another difficulty with Internet recruitment is the growing problem of identity theft, where fake jobs are posted online in order to obtain vital information on a person or to extract a fake fee.

General Employment Websites. Most readers of this book are likely familiar with the biggest employment websites, so it is easy to forget that they have had a major impact on the job search process for only the past 10 or 20 years. Since that time, a few early movers and larger entrants have grabbed the lion’s share of the market. Three of the biggest employment websites are Monster, CareerBuilder, and Indeed, which collectively are estimated to be responsible for a large portion of external Internet hires. Glassdoor is another very popular employment website that has done an especially good job of integrating various social media into its approach.

General employment websites are not limited to simple advertising, as noted earlier. Services are rapidly evolving for these sites, and many now offer the ability to create and approve job requisitions online, manage recruitment tasks, track the progress of open positions and candidates, and report on recruitment metrics like time to hire, cost per hire, and equal employment opportunity (EEO). Several of the larger employment websites have developed extensive cross-listing relationships with local newspapers, effectively merging the advantages of local media in terms of credibility and name recognition with the powerful technological advances and large user base of employment websites.49

Niche Employment Websites. Although there are advantages to open recruitment, as described earlier, it is also possible to conduct a more targeted web-based recruitment effort through niche employment websites.50 These sites focus on specific occupations (there are employment websites for jobs ranging from nurses to geologists to metal workers), specific industries (e.g., sports, chemicals, transportation, human services), and specific locations (e.g., cities, states, and regions often have their own sites). Notably, employment websites are now targeting blue-collar jobs as well. Recruiters looking for examples of niche job sites for a specific occupation can simply do an Internet search of “employment websites” coupled with


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the occupation of interest. Although any one niche job board is unlikely to have a huge number of posters, these specialized websites have been estimated to collectively account for two-thirds of Internet hiring. Experienced recruiters claim that the audience for niche employment websites is often more highly qualified and interested in specific jobs than are applicants from more general job sites.

Niche job sites have also been developed that cater to specific demographic groups, including women, African Americans, and Hispanics. Organizations that want to improve the diversity of their work sites or that are under an AAP should consider posting in a variety of such specialized employment websites as part of their search strategy. Survey data suggest that applicants believe that companies that advertise on these targeted websites are more positively disposed toward workforce diversity, further serving to enhance the usefulness of diversity- oriented advertising.51

Searching Employment Website Databases. As opposed to actively posting jobs online, another (but not mutually exclusive) means of recruitment on the web is to search for applicants without ever having posted a position. Under this process, applicants submit their résumés online, which are then forwarded to employers when they meet the employer’s criteria. Such systems allow searching the databases according to various search criteria, such as job skills, years of work experience, education, major, grade-point average, and so forth. It costs applicants anywhere from nothing to hundreds of dollars to post their résumé or other information on the databases. For organizations, there is always a cost. The exact nature of the cost depends on both the database(s) to which the organization subscribes and the services requested.

Social Recruitment Sources A second major type of recruitment source is social networks. These recruitment sources rely on the relationships that potential employees have with either those who currently work for the organization or others who might endorse the organization. Although it’s generally the case that these interpersonal recruitment sources will yield fewer applicants than broader media-based recruitment sources used in the individual approaches, there are some distinct advantages to social networks that we review below.

Employee Referrals Employees currently working for an employer are a valuable source for finding job applicants.52 Employees can refer people they know to their


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employer for consideration. Most estimates suggest that referrals are one of the most commonly used recruitment methods. The vast majority of organizations accept referrals, though only about half have formal programs. In some organizations, a cash bonus is given to employees who refer job candidates who prove to be successful on the job for a given period of time. Most bonuses range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. To ensure adequate returns on bonuses for employee referrals, it is essential to have a good performance appraisal system in place to measure the performance of the referred new hire. There also needs to be a good applicant tracking system to ensure that new hire performance is maintained over time before a bonus is offered.

Referral programs have many potential advantages, including low cost per hire, high-quality hires, decreased hiring time, and an opportunity to strengthen bonds with current employees. Research also shows that individuals hired through referrals are less likely to leave.53

Employee referral programs may fail to work for any number of reasons. Current employees may lack the motivation or ability to make referrals. Additionally, employees sometimes don’t realize the importance of recruitment to the organization. As a result, the organization may need to encourage employee participation by providing special rewards and public recognition along with bonuses for successful referrals. And finally, employees may not be able to match people with jobs, because they do not know about vacancies or the requirements needed to fill them. Hence, employees must regularly be notified of job vacancies and their requirements.

Former employees can be an ideal source of future applicants, either by recruiting them to come back to the organization or by asking them to provide referrals. As return employees, they will know the organization, its jobs, and its culture and will also be well known to those inside the organization. This not only cuts down on orientation costs but also means they can get into the flow of work more quickly. As referral sources, they can convey their personal observations to other job seekers, and thus those who decide to apply will be better informed. Using former employees as a recruitment source naturally means that the organization must remain on good terms with departing employees and keep channels of communication open after employees leave. Many organizations that undergo cyclical layoffs or downsizing in lean times might also seek to rehire those who were laid off previously when the organization returns to an expansionary strategy.54

Social Media Another way of finding applicants is through social media, where friends or


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acquaintances are used to connect those looking for applicants to those looking for jobs. Many recruiters have turned to social networking websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as sources for finding qualified job candidates.55 The use of social networking has become so prevalent that recruitment software integrates these sites into the applicant tracking process. Recruiters can automatically post openings to social media sites and receive reports on which channels are resulting in the most leads and the best candidates.56

The use of social media has a number of advantages. Because many of the connections between users are based on professional background or shared work experiences, networking sites often provide access to groups of potential employees with specific skill sets. Some social networking websites geared toward professionals encourage users to indicate the industry and area in which they work. Recruiters can set up their own profile pages with these websites, encouraging potential applicants to apply by making personal contacts. By accessing the social networks of those already employed in the organization, it is possible to locate passive candidates who are already employed and not necessarily looking for a new job. In fields where the unemployment rate is very low, such as engineering, health care, and information technology (IT), passive candidates may be the primary source of potential applicants.

Despite these advantages, organizations can face troubling legal and ethical quandaries when using social media, because candidates’ personal information, such as marital status, health status, and demographics, is often publicly available on personal pages. To avoid these problems, recruiters are strongly advised not to ask potential applicants to provide access to personal information when conducting networking-based recruitment. Only publicly available information should be viewed. Companies should establish strong guidelines for the use of social media, because managers may be using personal information without the company’s knowledge or consent.57

Recruiters have identified some best practices to facilitate social media campaigns that are not prone to these privacy concerns.58 Effective campaigns begin by making potential applicants aware of the organization and by creating easy ways for them to follow up on their initial interest. The choice to engage with the organization initially is left with the applicant himself or herself. If an individual indicates interest in the position, the organization works to respond quickly to the candidate, providing customized answers to questions and following up regularly. Unlike one- way media campaigns, once a candidate has indicated interest through social media, it is possible to track his or her level of engagement and likely interests. This information can then be used to identify key developments and other events that might be likely to interest those in the system.


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Professional Associations and Meetings Organizations can take advantage of the relationships their employees have with professional associations. Through networking with others who do similar work, employees can develop contacts with potential new recruits. This contact can be established informally by reaching individuals via e- mail or through message boards. Professional associations sometimes have a formal placement function that is available throughout the year. For example, the websites of professional associations often advertise both positions available and interested applicants. Others may have a computerized job and application bank.

Many technical and professional organizations meet around the country at least once a year. Many of these groups run a placement service for their members, and some may charge a fee to recruit at these meetings. This source represents a way to attract applicants with specialized skills or professional credentials. Also, some meetings are an opportunity to attract underrepresented groups.

Organizational Recruitment Sources External organizations form a third major category of potential recruitment sources. These connections tend to be more formal than social networks, and so they tend not to provide some of the relational advantages of individual contact. However, external organizations are more likely than the organization itself to provide access to a large number of potential applicants. Organizational recruitment sources can also help narrow down the applicant pool by providing formal screening services.

Colleges and Placement Offices Colleges are a source of people with specialized skills for professional positions. Most colleges have a placement office or officer who is in charge of ensuring that a match is made between the employer’s interests and the graduating student’s interests. Research has shown that campus recruitment efforts are seen as more informative and credible than organization websites or electronic bulletin boards.59 In fact, recruitment experts found that members of the tech-savvy millennial generation are reluctant to use social networking and other Internet job search tools, and that they prefer campus career placement offices to find jobs.60

In most cases, the placement office is the point of contact with colleges. It should be noted, however, that not all students use the services of the placement office. Students sometimes avoid placement offices because they believe they will be competing against the very best students and will be unlikely to receive a job offer. Additional points of contact for students at


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colleges include professors, department heads, professional fraternities, honor societies, recognition societies, and national professional societies. Organizations sometimes overlook small colleges as a recruitment source because the small number of students does not make it seem worth the effort to visit. In order to present a larger number of students to choose from, some small colleges have banded together in consortia. For example, the Oregon Liberal Arts Placement Consortium provides a centralized recruitment source for nine small public and private colleges and universities. It is essential that appropriate colleges and universities be selected for a visit.

A difficult choice for the employer is deciding which colleges and universities to target for recruitment efforts. Some organizations focus their efforts on schools with the best return on investment and invest in those programs more heavily. Other organizations, especially large ones with relatively high turnover, find they need to cast a much broader net. In the end, the decision of breadth versus depth comes down to the number of individuals who need to be hired, the recruitment budget, and a strategic decision about whether to invest deeply in a few programs or more broadly in more programs. Some factors to consider when deciding which colleges and universities to target include the following:61

Past experiences with students at the school—including the quality of recent hires (measured in terms of performance and turnover), offer acceptance rates, skills, experience, and training in the areas where job openings exist—should be factored in. Rankings of school quality. U.S. News and World Report, The Gorman Report, and Peterson’s Guide are comprehensive rankings of colleges and universities and various degree programs. BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times rank business schools. Applicants recruited from highly ranked programs almost always come at a premium, so organizations need to make sure they are getting a good return on their investment. The costs of recruitment at a particular school must be assessed. Colleges and universities that are nearby often mean substantially fewer resources expended on travel (both for recruiters traveling to the school and for bringing applicants in for interviews).

Some organizations develop a talent pipeline that includes individuals in educational institutions who may not take a job immediately but may be attracted to the organization in the future. Managing an organization’s talent pipeline means establishing effective relationships even before positions open up. Some organizations try to develop early relationships with incoming college freshmen in hopes that they will consider the organization as a potential employer when they graduate. Organizations that engage in


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large-scale collaborative research and development efforts with universities cultivate relationships with faculty, with the hope of eventually luring them into private sector work. Many organizations establish folders or databases of high-potential individuals who are still receiving an education or who work for other companies and then regularly send materials to those individuals about potential career prospects within the organization. Intel has hosted a competition called the Cornell Cup, in which student teams from a number of universities compete to design the best engineering projects. Those who perform well are not only given cash prizes but also invited to take on summer jobs or internships.62

Employment Agencies One traditional source of nonexempt employees and lower-level exempt employees is employment agencies. These agencies contact, screen, and present applicants to employers for a fee. The fee is contingent on successful placement of a candidate with an employer and is usually a percentage of the candidate’s starting pay. In a temp-to-hire arrangement, the employee has a trial period in which his or her contract is contingent on performance, and then after a period of time the employee will be taken on as a permanent employee of the organization. This gives both the applicant and the employer a chance to observe each other and assess the quality of the fit. Many jurisdictions have specific duration requirements for these arrangements, such as laws stating that employees may be classified as temporary for only 90 days.

Care must be exercised in selecting an employment agency. It is a good idea to check references, as allegations abound regarding the shoddy practices of some agencies. A poor agency may, for example, flood the organization with résumés of both qualified and unqualified applicants. A good agency will screen out unqualified applicants and not attempt to dazzle the organization with a large volume of résumés. Poor agencies may misrepresent the organization to the candidate and the candidate to the organization. Misrepresentation may take place when the agency is only concerned about a quick placement (and fee) and pays no regard to the costs of poor future relationships with clients. A good agency will be in business for the long run and not misrepresent information and invite turnover. A good agency will not pressure managers, make special deals, or avoid the HR staff. Finally, it is important to have a signed contract in place in which mutual rights and responsibilities are laid out.

Although employment agencies have traditionally focused on individuals with comparatively low skill levels, many agencies have expanded to include individuals with specialized or technical skills. There are even employment agencies that specialize in areas like health care and


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engineering, which require very high levels of expertise. Some of these agencies provide recruitment and screening services for potential employers, and then employees receive an offer of a permanent position like recruits from any other source. However, even for these technical fields, temp-to- hire arrangements are not unheard of.

Executive Search Firms For higher-level professional positions or jobs with salaries of $100,000 and higher, executive search firms, or “headhunters,” may be used. Like employment agencies, these firms contact and screen potential applicants and present résumés to employers. The difference between employment agencies and search firms lies in two primary areas: (1) search firms typically deal with higher-level positions than those of employment agencies, and (2) search firms are more likely to operate on the basis of a retainer than on a contingency. Search firms that operate on a retainer are paid regardless of whether a successful placement is made. The advantage of operating this way, from the hiring organization’s standpoint, is that it aligns the interests of the search firm with those of the organization. Thus, search firms operating on retainer do not feel compelled to put forward candidates just so their contingency fee can be paid. Moreover, a search firm on retainer may be less likely to give up if the job is not filled in a few weeks. Of late, business has been slow for executive search firms, partly due to the moderate economic growth and the bustling online recruitment business. Thus, organizations have been able to negotiate smaller fees (retainers or contingencies).63

Increasingly, executive search firms are getting into the appraisal business, where an organization pays the search firm to provide an assessment of the organization’s top executives. On one level this makes sense, since executive search firms are in the assessment business. The problem is that since the executive assessment pays much less than the retainer or contingency fees for hiring an executive, the search firms have an incentive to pronounce top executives substandard so as to justify bringing in an outsider. This is exactly what happened with a top executive search firm whose executive recruiters negatively evaluated an executive, only to recommend hiring an outsider, for which the recruiters were compensated handsomely. Given these inherent conflicts of interest, an organization should avoid using the same search firm to hire new executives and to appraise its existing executive team.64

Social Service Agencies All states have an employment or job service. These services are funded by


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employer-paid payroll taxes and are provided by the state to help secure employment for those seeking it, particularly those currently unemployed. Typically, these services refer low- to middle-level employees to employers. For jobs to be filled properly, the hiring organization must maintain a close relationship with the employment service. Job qualifications need to be clearly communicated to ensure that proper screening takes place by the agency. Positions that have been filled must be promptly reported to the agency so that résumés are not sent for closed positions. The federal Job Corps program is another option. Job Corps is designed to help individuals between 16 and 24 years of age obtain employment. The program targets individuals with lower levels of education and prepares them for entry-level jobs through a combination of work ethic training and general job skills. For employers, Job Corps can provide specialized training, prescreening of applicants, and tax benefits. Some agencies in local communities may also provide outplacement assistance for the unemployed who cannot afford it. Applicants who use these services may also be listed with a state employment service. Community agencies may also offer counseling and training.

The US Department of Labor has provided funding for states to develop one-stop career centers that will provide workers with various programs, benefits, and opportunities related to finding jobs. The centers’ emphasis is on providing customer-friendly services that reach large segments of the population and are fully integrated with state employment services. These centers now offer a variety of skills certification programs, such as the National Work Readiness Credential and the National Career Readiness Certificate, which are highly sought after by employers.65 For example, when Honda decided to build its Odyssey plant in Alabama, part of the deal was that the state would establish a close partnership with Honda to recruit and train employees.66 Nissan has established similar relationships with the states of Mississippi and Tennessee. The state of Illinois provides customized applicant screening and referral to employers so efficiently that some employers, such as Jewel-Osco, use the service as an extension of their HR department.67

Job Fairs Industry associations, schools, groups of employers, the military, and other interested organizations often hold career or job fairs to attract applicants. Typically, the sponsors of a job fair will meet in a central location with a large facility in order to provide information, collect résumés, and screen applicants. Often, there is a fee for employers to participate. Job fairs may provide both short- and long-term gains. In the short run, the organization may identify qualified applicants. In the long run,


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it may be able to enhance its visibility in the community, which, in turn, may improve its image and ability to attract applicants for jobs.

For a job fair to yield a large number of applicants, it must be advertised well in advance. Moreover, advertisements may need to be placed in specialized publications likely to attract minorities and women. To attract quality candidates from all those in attendance, the organization must be able to differentiate itself from all of the other organizations competing for applicants at the job fair. Items such as mugs and key chains with the company logo can be distributed to remind the applicants of employment opportunities at a particular organization. An even better promotion may be to provide fair attendees with assistance in developing their résumés and cover letters.

One strength of job fairs is also a weakness—although a job fair enables the organization to reach many people, the typical job fair has around 1,600 applicants vying for the attention of about 65 employers. Given the ratio of 25 applicants for every employer, the typical contact with an applicant is probably shallow. In response, some employers instead (or also) devote their resources to information sessions geared toward a smaller group of specially qualified candidates. During these sessions, the organization presents information about itself, including its culture, work environment, and career opportunities. Small gifts and brochures are also typically given out. One research study showed that applicants who were favorably impressed by an organization’s information session were significantly more likely to pursue employment with the organization. Other studies show that job fairs that allow for interpersonal interactions between job seekers and organization representatives are seen as especially informative by job seekers. Thus, both applicants and employers find information sessions a valuable alternative, or complement, to job fairs.68

Increasingly, job fairs are being held online with preestablished time limits. One online recruitment site held a job fair that included 240 participating companies. In virtual job fairs, recruiters link up with candidates through chat rooms.

Co-ops and Internships A large number of educational institutions, including many high schools and nearly all technical colleges and universities, require some or all of their students to get work experience as part of their degree programs. Co-ops and internships are two ways that employers can recruit applicants. Under a co- op arrangement, the student works with an employer on an alternating quarter basis. In one quarter the student works full time and in the next quarter the student attends school full time. Under an internship arrangement, the student has a continuous period of employment


with an employer for a specified amount of time. These approaches allow an organization to not only obtain services from a part- time employee for a short period of time but also assess the person for a full- time position after graduation. One manager experienced in working with interns commented, “Working with them is one of the best talent-search opportunities available to managers.”69 In turn, interns have better employment opportunities as a result of their experiences.

Internships and co-op assignments can take a variety of forms. One type of assignment is to have the student perform a part of the business that occurs periodically. For example, some amusement parks that operate only in the summer in northern climates may have a large number of employees who need to be hired and trained in the spring. A student with a background in HR could perform these hiring and training duties. Increasingly, colleges and universities are giving students college credit for—in some cases, even instituting a requirement for—working as part of their professional degree.70 A student in social work, for example, might be required to work in a welfare office for a summer. Occasionally, some internships and co-op assignments do not provide these meaningful experiences that build on the qualifications of the student. Research shows that school-to-work programs often do not provide high utility to organizations in terms of cost-benefit ratios. Thus, organizations need to evaluate co-ops and internships not only in terms of quality for the student but in terms of the cost-benefit economic perspective as well.71

Meaningful experiences benefit both the organization and the student. The organization gains from the influence of new ideas the student has been exposed to in his or her curriculum, and the student gains from the experience of having to apply concepts while facing the realities of organizational constraints. For both parties to gain, a learning contract must be developed and signed by the student, the student’s advisor, and the corporate sponsor. The learning contract becomes, in essence, a job description to guide the student’s activities. Also, it establishes the criteria by which the student’s performance is assessed for purposes of grading by the academic advisor and for purposes of successful completion of the project for the organization. In the absence of a learning contract, internships can result in unrealistic expectations by the corporate sponsor, which, in turn, can result in disappointment when these unspoken expectations are not met.72

To secure the services of students, organizations can contact the placement offices of high schools, colleges, universities, and vocational technology schools. Also, teachers, professors, and student chapters of professional associations can be contacted to obtain student assistance. Placement officials can provide the hiring organization with the policies that


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need to be followed for placements, while teachers and professors can give guidance on the types of skills students could bring to the organization and the organizational experiences the students would benefit from the most.

Recruitment Metrics Each recruitment source has strengths and weaknesses. Determining the best method for an organization entails assessing the costs and benefits of each method and then selecting the optimal combination of sources to meet the organization’s strategic needs. Exhibit 5.9 provides an overview of the metrics that might be expected for the categories of recruitment activities, along with issues considered relevant to each source. Conclusions for the number and types of applicants drawn by each method are informed by a number of studies comparing recruitment sources. Although broad generalizations can be made regarding quantity, quality, cost, and impact on HR outcomes for different recruitment methods, each organization’s unique labor market situation will need to be considered since the research evidence shows considerable variety in the effects of recruitment variables on applicant attraction.

Sufficient Quantity The more broadly transmitted the organization’s search methods, the more likely it is that a large number of individuals will be attracted to apply. Other methods of recruitment naturally tend to be more focused and will draw a comparatively small number of applicants. While broad recruitment methods such as advertising and Internet postings are able to reach thousands of individuals, it might be to an organization’s advantage not to attract too many applicants, because of the costs associated with processing all the applications.

Sufficient Quality Recruitment methods that link employers to a database of employees with exceptional skills enable an employer to save money on screening and selection processes. But if the search is too narrow, the organization will likely be engaged in a long-term process of looking.

Cost The costs of any method of recruitment are the direct expenses involved in contacting job seekers and processing their applications. Some sources, such as radio advertisements, search firms, and sophisticated website portals that customize information and provide employees with feedback, are quite expensive to develop. These methods may be worth the cost if the


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organization needs to attract a large number of individuals, if KSAOs for a job are in short supply, or if the job is crucial to the organization’s success. On the other hand, organizations that need fewer employees or that require easily found KSAOs discover that lower-cost methods like applicant- initiated recruitment or referrals are sufficient to meet their needs. Some fee- based services, like employment agencies, are able to process applications inexpensively because the pool of applicants is prescreened for relevant KSAOs.

EXHIBIT 5.9 Potential Recruitment Metrics for Different Sources



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SOURCES: D. S. Chapman, K. L. Uggerslev, S. A. Carroll, K. A. Piasentin, and D. A. Jones, “Applicant Attraction to Organizations and Job Choice: A Meta- Analytic Review of the Correlates of Recruiting Outcomes,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2005, 90, pp. 928–944; M. A. Zottoli and J. P. Wanous, “Recruitment Source Research: Current Status and Future Directions,” Human Resource Management Review, 2000, 10, pp. 353–382.

Impact on HR Outcomes A considerable amount of research has been conducted on the effectiveness of various recruitment sources and can be used as a starting point for which sources are likely to be effective. Research has defined effectiveness as the impact of recruitment sources on increased employee satisfaction, job performance, diversity, and retention. Evidence suggests that, overall, referrals and job trials are likely to attract applicants who have a good understanding of the organization and its culture, and therefore they tend to result in employees who are more satisfied, more productive, and less likely to leave. Conversely, sources like employment agencies can produce employees who are less satisfied and productive. Any general conclusions regarding the effectiveness of recruitment sources should be tempered by the fact that the location of an organization, the compensation and benefits packages provided, the type of workers, and the typical applicant experience and education levels will moderate the efficacy of these practices.

TRANSITION TO SELECTION Once a job seeker has been identified and attracted to the organization, the organization needs to prepare the person for the selection process. In preparation, applicants need to be made aware of the next steps in the hiring process and what will be required of them. If the recruitment organization overlooks this transition step, it may lose qualified applicants who mistakenly think that delays between steps in the hiring process indicate that the organization is no longer interested in them or who are fearful that they “didn’t have what it takes” to successfully compete in the next steps.

The process one sees in many college career placement offices demonstrates how recruitment and selection are often tied together. Visiting corporations will often host information sessions and social events to advertise themselves to student job seekers. This is usually part of a strong branded-message campaign. In these sessions, job seekers are given information regarding what types of jobs are available, along with previews


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of the process of selection and hiring. While providing job seekers an opportunity to assess their fit with potential careers with the organization, many of these social events are structured so that recruiters can get a preliminary sense of what the job applicants are like. Preliminary selection decisions can be made during informal recruitment dinners.

Campus recruiters also conduct preliminary interviews with candidates in the college career center. These interviews involve multiple information- exchange opportunities. At this point, recruiters often introduce some realistic job information into the discussion, describing what jobs are like and who candidates are likely to meet if they do an interview at the organization’s offices. This is another opportunity for the organization to explain to the recruits what the selection process consists of. Candidates who have a strong grasp of what processes are used in selection and how they fit together are likely to have a strong sense of trust in the organization.

To successfully prepare applicants for the transition to selection, organizations should consider reviewing the selection method instructions with the applicants, describing the rationale behind components of the selection method, and giving applicants opportunities to discuss the selection method. These steps should be followed for all selection methods in the hiring process that are likely to be unfamiliar to applicants or uncomfortable for them.

LEGAL ISSUES External recruitment practices are subject to considerable legal scrutiny and influence. During recruitment there is ample room for the organization to exclude certain applicant groups (e.g., minorities, women, and people with disabilities) as well as to deceive in its dealings with applicants. Various laws and regulations seek to limit these exclusionary and deceptive practices.

Legal issues regarding several of the practices are discussed in this section. These include the definition of a job applicant, AAPs, electronic recruitment, job advertisements, and fraud and misrepresentation.

Definition of a Job Applicant Both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) require the organization to keep applicant records. Exactly what is a job applicant and what records should be kept? It is necessary to provide guidance on the answer to this question in terms of both traditional hard-copy applicants and


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electronic applicants.

Hard-Copy Applicants The original (1979) definition of an applicant by the EEOC is in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP). It reads as follows: “The precise definition of the term ‘applicant’ depends on the user’s recruitment and selection procedures. The concept of an applicant is that of a person who has indicated an interest in being considered for hiring, promotion, or other employment opportunities. This interest may be expressed by completing an application form, or might be expressed orally, depending on the employer’s practice.”

This definition was created prior to the existence of the electronic job application. It remains in force for hard-copy applications. Because it is so open-ended, it is important to develop and communicate (including to applicants) policies about what the organization considers a written applicant. Examples of such policies include requiring all applicants to file a written application, stating specific qualifications required, stating that a separate application must be submitted for each opening, not accepting open-ended applications, returning unsolicited applications, having a specific closing date for applications, and applying these policies to search firms and third-party vendors.73

Internet Applicants The OFCCP regulations (the Internet Applicant rule) provide a definition of an Internet applicant for federal contractors, as well as establish record- keeping requirements.74 The EEOC has not yet provided a definition of an Internet applicant, and although in 2004 a definition was being developed, the commission was not able to finalize it.75

According to the OFCCP, an individual must meet all four of the following criteria to be considered an Internet applicant:

The individual submits an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies. The employer considers the individual for employment in a particular position. The individual’s expression of interest indicates that the individual possesses the basic qualifications for the position. At no point in the employer’s selection process prior to receiving an offer of employment from the employer does the individual remove himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicate that he or she is no longer interested in the position.


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“Internet or related electronic data technologies” includes e-mail, résumé databases, job banks, electronic scanning technology, applicant tracking system/applicant service providers, applicant screeners, and résumé submission by fax. Mobile and hand-held devices such as cell phones and smartphones are also likely included. “Basic qualifications for the position” are those established in advance and advertised to potential applicants. They must be non-comparative across applicants, objective (e.g., BS in biology), and relevant to performance in the specific position.

The employer must keep records of the following:

All expressions of interest submitted through the Internet and contacts made with the job applicant Internal résumé databases—including date of entry, the position for which each search was made, the date of the search, and the search criteria used External résumé databases—including the position for which each search was made, the date of the search, search criteria used, and the records for each person who met the basic qualifications for the position

The OFCCP regulations also require the employer to make every reasonable effort to gather race/gender/ethnicity data from both traditional and Internet applicants. The preferred method for doing so is voluntary self- disclosure, such as through tear-off sheets on an application form, postcards, or short forms to request the information or as part of an initial telephone screen. Observation may also be used. A series of questions and answers related to the regulations provides additional information and clarification.

Affirmative Action Programs Both the EEOC and the OFCCP require that the organization undertake strong, positive recruitment and outreach activities as part of its AAP. Passive and informal recruitment is not sufficient. Beyond this general requirement, both agencies provide suggested activities for meeting the recruitment obligation.

The EEOC presents a generic list of suggested best-practice recruitment ideas, shown in Exhibit 5.10. It applies to recruitment of persons in any protected class category.

Veterans and persons with disabilities are targeted separately in regulations for the OFCCP.76 Lists of recruitment actions that are consistent with the EEOC suggestions are provided. The lists include examples of many organizations that should be targeted because of their special interest


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or expertise in recruiting veterans and persons with disabilities. One suggestion from the OFCCP, not found among the EEOC ideas, is to hold a formal briefing session on the organization’s premises with representatives from recruiting sources. The session should include “contractor facility tours, clear and concise explanations of the current and future job openings, position descriptions, worker specifications (i.e., VSAOs), explanations of the company’s selection process, and recruiting literature.” Moreover, “formal arrangements should be made for the referral of applicants, follow up with sources, and feedback on the disposition of applicants.”

Finally, though not AAP focused, a special resource guide for employment of people with disabilities is available. Developed by several federal agencies, it contains a wealth of information and references on how to legally and proactively recruit, select, promote, and retain people with disabilities.77

Electronic Recruitment Technology, particularly via websites and social media, has flooded the recruitment process for both the organization and job applicants. Numerous legal issues may arise.

Access and Usage The use of electronic recruitment technology may potentially create artificial barriers to employment opportunities.78 In the case of websites, it is assumed that potential applicants have access to computers and the skills necessary to apply online. These may be poor assumptions, especially for some racial minorities and the economically disadvantaged. To guard against legal challenge and to ensure accessibility, the organization might do several things. One action is to supplement online recruitment with other widely used sources of recruitment, such as newspaper advertisements or other sources that organizational experience indicates are frequently used by women and minorities. Alternately, online recruitment and application could be restricted to certain jobs that have strong computer-related KSAO requirements. Applicants in all likelihood will have easy access to computers and online recruitment, as well as the skills necessary to successfully navigate and complete the application.

EXHIBIT 5.10 Best-Practice Recruitment Ideas From the EEOC

Establish a policy for recruitment and hiring, including criteria, procedures, responsible individuals, and applicability of


diversity and affirmative action.

Engage in short-term and long-term strategic planning:

— Identify the applicable barriers to equal employment opportunity;

— Delineate aims;

— Make a road map for implementing the plan.

Ensure that there is a communication network notifying interested persons of opportunities, including advertising within the organization and, where applicable, not only with the general media but with minority, persons with disabilities, older persons, and women-focused media.

Communicate the competencies, skills, and abilities required for available positions.

Communicate about family-friendly and work-friendly programs.

Where transportation is an issue, consider arrangements with the local transit authority.

Participate in career and job fairs and open houses.

Work with professional associations, civic associations, and educational institutions with attractive numbers of minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and/or older persons to recruit.

Use recruiter, referral, and search firms with instructions to present diverse candidate pools to expand search networks.

Partner with organizations that have missions to serve targeted groups.

Use internships, work/study, co-op, and scholarship programs to attract interested persons and to develop interested and qualified candidates.

Develop and support educational programs and become more involved with educational institutions that can refer a more diverse talent pool.

Ensure that personnel involved in the recruitment and hiring process are well trained in equal employment opportunity responsibilities.

Explore community involvement options that will raise the


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company’s profile and thus may attract more interested persons.

Eliminate practices that exclude or present barriers to minorities, women, persons with disabilities, older persons, or any individual.

Include progress in equal employment opportunity recruitment and hiring as a factor in management evaluation.

SOURCE: EEOC, “Best Practices of Private Sector Employees,” 2013 (

Another issue is the use of recruitment software that conducts résumé searches within an applicant database using keyword search criteria. Staffing specialists or hiring managers often specify the search criteria to use, and they could select non-job-related criteria that cause adverse impact against women, minorities, or people with disabilities. Examples of such criteria include preferences for graduation from an elite college or university, age, and physical requirements. To guard against such a possibility, the organization should set only job-related KSAO requirements, restrict the search criteria to those KSAOs, and train recruiters in the appropriate specification and use of search criteria.

Social Media Social networking sites (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), while widely used by applicants and organizations, present challenges. The lack-of-access and usage problems noted above are troublesome since research indicates that African Americans and Latinos have lower social media usage rates than other groups. Reliance on some social media sites thus may lead to disproportionately screening out certain protected groups from application to, or consideration by, the organization. Casting wider recruitment nets and using multiple recruitment sources and media are necessary to counteract such possible adverse impact.

On top of that, the organization should ensure that its recruitment messages do not discourage applications based on EEO protected characteristics and, conversely, that the messages portray welcoming openness toward applicant diversity. In addition, the organization should make sure that its recruitment information is accurate and does not make any false promises about job offer content or future business and employment opportunities (see “Fraud and Misrepresentation” below).79


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People With Disabilities The OFCCP provides specific regulations for people with disabilities.80 If the employer routinely offers applicants various methods (including online) of applying for a job and all are treated equally, that may be sufficient for compliance purposes. If an online application system is the only method used, however, it must be made accessible to all. Examples here include making the organization’s website compatible with screen readers and using assistive technology and adaptive software.

The regulations also indicate that the employer is obligated to provide reasonable accommodation to the applicant, if requested. Examples include the following:

Making job vacancy application information available in Braille and responding to job inquiries via telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDDs) or telephone relay systems Providing readers, interpreters, or similar assistance during the application process Extending the time limit for completing an online examination Making testing locations fully accessible to those with mobility impairments

Job Advertisements Job advertising that indicates preferences or limitations for applicants based on legally protected characteristics is generally prohibited (see Chapter 2). Questions continually arise as to exceptions or less blatant forms of advertising, as the following examples indicate.81

Title VII permits indicating preferences based on sex, religion, or national origin (but not race or color) if they are bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQs). The organization should be sure about the legality and validity of any BFOQ claims before conducting such advertising. Use of gender-specific job titles such as “waitress” or “repairman,” however, generally should be avoided.

Using the phrase “women and minorities are encouraged to apply” in a job advertisement is OK because it is an inclusive effort to generate the largest pool of qualified applicants. An indication that the organization is “seeking” a particular type of applicant (e.g., stay-at-home moms), however, is not permitted, because it connotes a preference for a particular group rather than an encouragement to apply.

Regarding age preferences, advertisements cannot limit or deter potential older applicants from seeking a position. One example is the term “recent graduate,” which could signal a younger age preference and hence should not be used. Another example is “digital native,” which could imply a desire


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for someone under 40 and therefore also should not be used. It is permissible, however, to show a preference for older workers, using phrases such as “over age 60,” “retirees,” or “supplement your pension.”

These examples show that the line between permissible and prohibited ad content is quite murky. The organization thus should monitor the construction and content of all its job advertisements.

Fraud and Misrepresentation Puffery, promises, half-truths, and even outright lies are all encountered in recruitment under the guise of selling the applicant on the job and the organization. Too much of this type of selling can be legally dangerous. When it occurs, under workplace tort law, applicants may file suit claiming fraud or misrepresentation.82 Claims may cite false statements of existing facts (e.g., the nature and profitability of the employer’s business) or false promises of future events (e.g., promises about terms and conditions of employment, pay, promotion opportunities, and geographic location). It does not matter if the false statements were made intentionally (fraud) or negligently (misrepresentation). Both types of statements are a reasonable basis for a claim by an applicant or newly hired employee.

To be successful in such a suit, the plaintiff must demonstrate that

1. A misrepresentation of a material fact occurred 2. The employer knew, or should have known, about the

misrepresentation 3. The plaintiff relied on the information to make a decision or take

action 4. The plaintiff was injured because of reliance placed on the statements

made by the employer

Though these four requirements may appear to be a stiff set of hurdles for the plaintiff, they are by no means insurmountable, as many successful plaintiffs can attest. Avoidance of fraud and misrepresentation claims in recruitment requires straightforward action by the organization and its recruiters. First, provide applicants with the job description and specific, truthful information about the job rewards. Second, be truthful about the nature of the business and its profitability. Third, avoid specific promises about future events regarding terms and conditions of employment or business plans and profitability. Finally, make sure that all recruiters follow these suggestions when they recruit job applicants.



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The objective of the external recruitment process is to identify and attract qualified applicants to the organization. To meet this objective, the organization must conduct strategic recruitment planning. The single most important issue at this stage is developing a strong link between organizational strategy and the goals of the recruitment process. The organization will also choose whether to implement an open strategy or a targeted strategy. At this stage, attention must also be given to both organizational issues (e.g., centralized versus decentralized recruitment function) and administrative issues (e.g., size of the budget).

The next stage is to develop a message for the job applicants and to select a medium to convey that message. The message may be branded, targeted, or realistic. There is no one best message; it depends on the characteristics of the labor market, the job, and the applicants. The message can be communicated through several different media, each of which has strengths and weaknesses.

Applicants are influenced by characteristics of recruiters and the recruitment process. Through proper attention to these characteristics, the organization can help provide applicants with a favorable recruitment experience.

Choices the organization makes about which sources to use follow from the previous stages. The strategy implementation process involves comparing individual, social, and organizational sources and evaluating their effectiveness through a variety of recruitment metrics. After a sufficient number of individuals have applied, the organization begins the process of transition to selection. Recruitment practices and decisions come under intense legal scrutiny because of their potential for discrimination at the beginning of the staffing process. The legal definition of a job applicant creates record-keeping requirements for the organization that, in turn, have major implications for the design of the entire recruitment process. Affirmative Action Programs Regulations likewise affect the entire recruitment process, prodding the organization to set targeted placement goals for women and minorities and to be aggressive in recruitment outreach actions. Job advertisements may not contain applicant preferences regarding protected characteristics such as age and gender. Finally, recruitment communication with applicants must be careful to avoid false statements or promises, lest problems of fraud and misrepresentation arise.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. List and briefly describe each of the administrative issues that needs to

be addressed in the planning stage of external recruitment. 2. List 10 sources of applicants that organizations turn to when recruiting.


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For each source, identify needs specific to the source, as well as pros and cons of using the source for recruitment.

3. In designing the communication message to be used in external recruitment, what kinds of information should be included?

4. What are the advantages of conveying a realistic recruitment message as opposed to portraying the job in a way that the organization thinks that job applicants want to hear?

5. What strategies are organizations using to ensure that they attract women and underrepresented racioethnic groups?

ETHICAL ISSUES 1. Many organizations have adopted a targeted recruitment strategy. For

example, some organizations target workers 50 years of age and older in their recruitment efforts, which includes advertising specifically in media outlets frequented by older individuals. Other organizations target recruitment messages at women, minorities, or those with the desired skills. Do you think targeted recruitment systems are fair? Why or why not?

2. Most organizations have job boards on their web page where applicants can apply for jobs online. What ethical obligations, if any, do organizations have to individuals who apply for jobs online?


Improving a College Recruitment Program

The White Feather Corporation (WFC) is a rapidly growing consumer products organization that specializes in the production and sales of specialty household items such as lawn furniture cleaners, spa (hot tub) accessories, mosquito and tick repellents, and stain-resistant garage floor paints. The organization has 400 exempt employees and 3,000 nonexempt employees, almost all of whom are full time. In addition to its corporate office in Clucksville, Arkansas, the organization has five plants and two distribution centers at various rural locations throughout the state.

Two years ago WFC created a corporate HR department to provide centralized direction and control for its key HR functions—planning, compensation, training, and staffing. In turn, the staffing function is headed by the senior manager of staffing, who receives direct reports from three managers: the manager of nonexempt employment, the manager of exempt employment, and the manager of EEO/AA. Marianne Collins, the manager of exempt employment, has been with WFC for 10 years and has grown


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with the organization through a series of sales and sales management positions. She was chosen for her current position as a result of WFC’s commitment to promotion from within, as well as her broad familiarity with the organization’s products and customers. When Marianne was appointed, her key area of accountability was defined as college recruitment, with 50% of her time to be devoted to it.

In her first year, Marianne developed and implemented WFC’s first-ever formal college recruitment program. Working with the HR planning person, WFC set a goal of 40 college graduate new hires by the end of the year. They were to be placed in the production, distribution, and marketing functions; specific job titles and descriptions were to be developed during the year. Armed with this forecast, Marianne began the process of recruitment planning and strategy development.

The result of Marianne’s work was the following recruitment process. Recruitment was to be conducted at 12 public and private schools throughout the state. Marianne contacted the placement office at each school and set up a one-day recruitment visit. All visits were scheduled during the first week in May. The placement office at each school set up 30-minute interviews (16 at each school) and made sure that applicants completed and had on file a standard application form. To visit the schools and conduct the interviews, Marianne selected three young, up-and- coming managers (one each from production, distribution, and marketing) to be the recruiters. Each manager was assigned to four of the schools. Since none of the managers had any recruitment experience, Marianne conducted a recruitment briefing for them. During that briefing she reviewed the overall recruitment (hiring) goal, provided a brief rundown on each of the schools, and explained the specific tasks the recruiters were to perform. Those tasks were to pick up the application materials of the interviewees at the placement office prior to the interviews, review the materials, conduct the interviews in a timely manner (the managers were told they could ask any questions they wanted to that pertained to qualifications for the job), and at the end of the day complete an evaluation form on each applicant. The form asked for a 1–7 rating of overall qualifications for the job, written comments about strengths and weaknesses, and a recommendation of whether to invite the person for a second interview in Clucksville. These forms were to be returned to Marianne, who would review them and decide which applicants to invite for a second interview.

After the campus interviews were conducted, problems began to surface. Placement officials at some of the schools contacted Marianne and lodged several complaints. Among those complaints were that (1) one of the managers failed to pick up the application materials of the interviewees, (2) none of the managers were able to provide much information about the jobs


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they were recruiting for, especially jobs outside their own functional area, (3) the interviewers got off schedule early on, so some applicants were kept waiting and others had shortened interviews as the managers tried to make up time, (4) none of the managers had any written information describing the organization and its locations, (5) one of the managers asked female applicants very personal questions about marriage plans, use of drugs and alcohol, and willingness to travel with male coworkers, (6) one of the managers talked incessantly during the interviews, leaving the interviewees little opportunity to present themselves and their qualifications, and (7) none of the managers were able to tell interviewees when they might be contacted regarding a second interview. In addition to these complaints, Marianne had difficulty getting the managers to complete and turn in their evaluation forms (they claimed they were too busy, especially after being away from the job for a week). From the reports she did receive, Marianne extended invitations to 55 of the applicants for a second interview. Of these, 30 accepted the invitation. Ultimately, 25 people were given job offers, and 15 accepted.

To put it mildly, the first-ever college recruitment program was a disaster for WFC and Marianne. In addition to her embarrassment, Marianne was asked to meet with her boss and the president of WFC to explain what went wrong and to receive “guidance” from them as to their expectations for next year’s recruitment program. Marianne subsequently learned that she would receive no merit pay increase for the year and that the three managers all received above-average merit increases.

To turn things around for the second year of college recruitment, Marianne realized that she needed to engage in a thorough process of recruitment planning and strategy development. As she began this undertaking, her analysis of past events led her to conclude that one of her key mistakes was to naïvely assume that the three managers would actually be good recruiters and were motivated to do the job effectively. This time around, Marianne decided to use 12 managers as recruiters, assigning one to each of the 12 campuses. She also decided that more than a recruitment briefing was needed. She determined that an intensive, one-day training program must be developed and given to the managers prior to the beginning of the recruitment season.

You work in HR at another organization in Clucksville and are a professional acquaintance of Marianne’s. Knowing that you have experience in both college recruitment and training, Marianne calls you for some advice. She asks you if you would be willing to meet and discuss the following questions:

1. What topics should be covered in the training program?


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2. What materials and training aids will be needed for the program? 3. What skills should the trainees actually practice during the training? 4. Who should conduct the training? 5. What other changes might have to be made to ensure that the training

has a strong impact on the managers and that during the recruitment process they are motivated to use what they learned in training?

Internet Recruitment Selma Williams is a recruiter for Mervin/McCall-Hall (MMH), a large publisher of educational textbooks (K–12 and college). Fresh out of college, Selma has received her first big assignment at MMH, and it is a tough one— develop an Internet recruitment strategy for the entire organization. Previously, MMH had relied on the traditional recruitment methods— college recruitment, word of mouth, newspaper advertisements, and search firms. As more and more of MMH’s textbook business is connected to the web, however, it became clear to Selma’s boss, Jon Beerfly, that MMH needs to consider upgrading its recruitment process. Accordingly, after Selma had acclimated herself to MMH and had worked on a few smaller recruitment projects (including doing a fair amount of recruitment at college campuses in the past three months), Jon described her new assignment to her, concluding, “Selma, I really don’t know much about this. I’m going to leave it to you to come up with a set of recommendations about what we ought to be doing. We just had a new intern come into the office for a stint in HR, and I’m going to assign this person to you to help on this project.” Assume that you are the intern.

At your first meeting, you and Selma discuss many different issues and agree that regardless of whatever else is done, MMH must have a recruitment area on the corporate website. After further discussion, Selma gives you several assignments toward this objective:

1. Look at three to five corporate websites that have a recruitment area and note their major features, strengths, and weaknesses.

2. Interview three to five students who have used the recruitment area on a corporate website and ask them what they most liked and disliked about it.

3. Prepare a brief report that (1) summarizes your findings from assignments #1 and #2 and (2) recommends the design features that you and Selma will develop for inclusion in the MMH website.


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ENDNOTES   1. G. Dessler, A Framework for Human Resource Management, 7th ed. (Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2013); E. Page, “Linking Business Strategy to Recruiting Strategy,” Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, 2010, 5(4), pp. 3–6; J. Sullivan, “The 20 Principles of Strategic Recruiting,” ERE, July 7, 2008 (

  2. D. H. Freedman, “The Monster Dilemma,” Inc., May 2007, pp. 77–78; J. Barthold, “Waiting in the Wings,” HR Magazine, Apr. 2004, pp. 89–95; A. M. Chaker, “Luring Moms Back to Work,” New York Times, Dec. 30, 2003, pp. D1– D2.

  3. L. Ryan, “10 Ways to Fix Broken Corporate Recruiting Systems,” BusinessWeek, June 13, 2011, p. 3.

  4. B. L. Rau and M. M. Hyland, “Role Conflict and Flexible Work Arrangements: The Effects on Applicant Attraction,” Personnel Psychology, 2002, 55, pp. 111– 136.

  5. F. Hansen, “Recruiting the Closer: Dealing With a Deal Maker,” Workforce Management Online, Oct. 2007 (

  6. R. J. Grossman, “How to Recruit a Recruitment Outsourcer,” HR Magazine, July 1, 2012 (; R. J. Grossman, “Alternatives to Recruitment Process Outsourcing,” HR Magazine, July 1, 2012 (

  7. M. N. Martinez, “Recruiting Here and There,” HR Magazine, Sept. 2002, pp. 95– 100.

  8. P. O. Ángel and L. S. Sánchez, “R&D Managers’ Adaptation of Firms’ HRM Practices,” R&D Management, 2009, 39, pp. 271–290.

  9. “Cutting Corners to the Best Candidates,” Weddle’s, Oct. 5, 2004 (

10. J. Whitman, “The Four A’s of Recruiting Help Enhance Search for Right Talent,” Workforce Management Online, Nov. 2009 (

11. D. Dahl, “Recruiting: Tapping the Talent Pool … Without Drowning in Résumés,” Inc., Apr. 2009, pp. 121–122; M. Ferguson, “Recruiting by Numbers,” Workforce, Aug. 2015 (

12. B. W. Swider, R. D. Zimmerman, and M. R. Barrick, “Searching for the Right Fit: Development of Applicant Person-Organization Fit Perceptions During the Recruitment Process,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2015, 100, pp. 880–893; G. Beenen and S. Pichler, “Do I Really Want to Work Here? Testing a Model of Job Pursuit for MBA Interns,” Human Resource Management, 2014, 53, pp. 661– 682.

13. D. S. Chapman, K. L. Uggerslev, S. A. Carroll, K. A. Piasentin, and D. A. Jones, “Applicant Attraction to Organizations and Job Choice: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Correlates of Recruiting Outcomes,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2005, 90, pp. 928–944; K. L. Uggerslev, N. E. Fassina, and D. Kraichy, “Recruiting Through the Stages: A Meta-Analytic Test of Predictors of Applicant Attraction at Different Stages of the Recruiting Process,” Personnel Psychology, 2012, 65, pp. 597–660; Anonymous, “Recruiting Today: In a Tight Marketplace, the Lures Come Out,” Financial Planning, Aug. 2013, pp. 14–16.

14. Uggerslev, Fassina, and Kraichy, “Recruiting Through the Stages: A Meta- Analytic Test of Predictors of Applicant Attraction at Different Stages of the Recruiting Process.”

15. D. Catanzaro, H. Moore, and T. R. Marshall, “The Impact of Organizational


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Culture on Attraction and Recruitment of Job Applicants,” Journal of Business and Psychology, 2010, 25, pp. 649–662; J. E. Slaughter and G. J. Greguras, “Initial Attraction to Organizations: The Influence of Trait Inferences,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2009, 17, pp. 1–18.

16. M. L. Connerley, “Recruiter Effects and Recruitment Outcomes,” in D. M. Cable and K. Y. T. Yu (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Recruitment (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 21–34; A. M. Saks and K. L. Uggerslev, “Sequential and Combined Effects of Recruitment Information on Applicant Reactions,” Journal of Business and Psychology, 2010, 25, pp. 351–365.

17. S. A. Carless and A. Imber, “The Influence of Perceived Interviewer and Job and Organizational Characteristics on Applicant Attraction and Job Choice Intentions: The Role of Applicant Anxiety,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2007, 15, pp. 359–371; K. Dunn, “Blame the User, Not the Technology,” Workforce, Aug. 2016 (

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20. B. R. Dineen, S. R. Ash, and R. A. Noe, “A Web of Applicant Attraction: Person- Organization Fit in the Context of Web-Based Recruitment,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2002, 87, pp. 723–734; D. C. Feldman and B. S. Klaas, “Internet Job Hunting: A Field Study of Applicant Experiences With On-Line Recruiting,” Human Resource Management, 2002, 41, pp. 175–192; K. Maher, “The Jungle,” Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2002, p. B10; D. L. Van Rooy, A. Alonso, and Z. Fairchild, “In With the New, Out With the Old: Has the Technological Revolution Eliminated the Traditional Job Search Process?” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2003, 11, pp. 170–174.

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Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2016, 3, pp. 407–440; C. J. Collins, “The Interactive Effects of Recruitment Practices and Product Awareness on Job Seekers’ Employer Knowledge and Application Behaviors,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2007, 92, pp. 180–190; C. J. Collins and C. K. Stevens, “The Relationship Between Early Recruitment-Related Activities and the Application Decisions of New Labor-Market Entrants: A Brand Equity Approach to Recruitment,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2002, 87, pp. 1121–1133; P. J. Kiger, “Talent Acquisition Special Report: Burnishing the Brand,” Workforce Management, Oct. 22, 2007, pp. 39–45.

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25. Collins and Stevens, “The Relationship Between Early Recruitment-Related Activities and the Application Decisions of New Labor-Market Entrants: A Brand Equity Approach to Recruitment”; F. Lievens and S. Highhouse, “The Relation of Instrumental and Symbolic Attributes to a Company’s Attractiveness as an Employer,” Personnel Psychology, 2003, 56, pp. 75–102.

26. S. D. Volpone, K. M. Thomas, P. Sinisterra, and L. Johnson, “Targeted Recruiting: Identifying Future Employees,” in Cable and Yu (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Recruitment, pp. 110–125; R. Sheth, “Recruit Talent Using a Marketing Mindset,” T+D, 2014, 68(5), pp. 76–77; E. Dhawan, “Recruiting Strategies for a Tight Talent Market,” Harvard Business Review, Apr. 2016 (

27. S. M. Gully, J. M. Phillips, W. G. Castellano, K. Han, and A. Kim, “A Mediated Moderation Model of Recruiting Socially and Environmentally Responsible Job Applicants,” Personnel Psychology, 2013, 66, pp. 935–973.

28. W. J. Casper, J. H. Wayne, and J. G. Manegold, “Who Will We Recruit? Targeting Deep- and Surface-Level Diversity With Human Resource Policy Advertising,” Human Resource Management, 2013, 52, pp. 331–332.

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30. D. R. Earnest, D. G. Allen, and R. S. Landis, “Mechanisms Linking Realistic Job Previews With Turnover: A Meta-Analytic Path Analysis,” Personnel Psychology, 2011, 64, pp. 865–897.

31. R. D. Bretz, Jr., and T. A. Judge, “Realistic Job Previews: A Test of the Adverse Self-Selection Hypothesis,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1998, 83, pp. 330– 337.

32. J. M. Phillips, “Effects of Realistic Job Previews on Multiple Organizational Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis,” Academy of Management Journal, 1998, 41, pp. 673–690.


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33. R. J. Vandenberg and V. Scarpello, “The Matching Model: An Examination of the Processes Underlying Realistic Job Previews,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1990, 75(1), pp. 60–67.

34. H. J. Walker, H. S. Feild, W. F. Giles, and J. B. Bernerth, “The Interactive Effects of Job Advertisement Characteristics and Applicant Experience on Reactions to Recruitment Messages,” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 2008, 81, pp. 619–638.

35. W. R. Boswell, R. D. Zimmerman, and B. W. Swider, “Employee Job Search: Toward an Understanding of Search Context and Search Objectives,” Journal of Management, 2012, 38, pp. 129–163.

36. Cable and Yu, “Managing Job Seekers’ Organizational Image Beliefs: The Role of Media Richness and Media Capability.”

37. R. D. Gatewood, M. A. Gowen, and G. Lautenschlager, “Corporate Image, Recruitment Image, and Initial Job Choice Decisions,” Academy of Management Journal, 1993, 36(2), pp. 414–427.

38. G. Ruiz, “Print Ads See Resurgence as Hiring Source,” Workforce Management, Mar. 26, 2007, pp. 16–17.

39. J. Pont, “Online, In-house,” Workforce Management, May 2005, pp. 49–51; S. Cromheeke, G. Van Hoye, and F. Lievens, “Changing Things Up in Recruitment: Effects of a ‘Strange’ Recruitment Medium on Applicant Pool Quantity and Quality,” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 2013, 86, pp. 410–416.

40. G. Ruiz, “Studies Examine the Online Job Hunting Experience,” Workforce Management Online, July 2006 (; D. G. Allen, R. V. Mahto, and R. F. Otondo, “Web-Based Recruitment: Effects of Information, Organizational Brand, and Attitudes Toward a Web Site on Applicant Attraction,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2007, 92, pp. 1696–1708; P. W. Braddy, A. W. Meade, J. J. Michael, and J. W. Fleenor, “Internet Recruiting: Effects of Website Content on Viewers’ Perception of Organizational Culture,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2009, 17, pp. 19–34; B. R. Dineen and R. A. Noe, “Effects of Customization on Application Decisions and Applicant Pool Characteristics in a Web-Based Recruitment Context,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009, 94, pp. 224–234.

41. M. Wisniewski, “In Battle for IT Talent, Banks Deploy High-Tech Recruiting Tactics,” American Banker, Aug. 1, 2013, p. 8.

42. E. Baker and J. Demps, “Videoconferencing as a Tool for Recruiting and Interviewing,” Journal of Business and Economics Research, 2009, 7(10), pp. 9– 14.

43. G. van Hoye and F. Lievens, “Social Influences on Organizational Attractiveness: Investigating If and When Word of Mouth Matters,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2007, 37, pp. 2024–2047; G. van Hoye, “Nursing Recruitment: Relationship Between Perceived Employer Image and Nursing Employees’ Recommendations,” Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2008, 63, pp. 366–375; H. J. Walker, H. S. Feild, W. F. Giles, A. A. Armenakis, and J. B. Bernerth, “Displaying Employee Testimonials on Recruitment Websites: Effects of Communication Media, Employee Race, and Job Seeker Race on Organizational Attraction and Information Credibility,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009, 94, pp. 1354–1364.

44. L. A. McFarland and R. E. Ployhart, “Social Media: A Contextual Framework to Guide Research and Practice,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2015, 100, pp. 1653–1677; A. M. Sivertzen, E. R. Nilsen, and A. H. Olafsen, “Employer


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Branding: Employer Attractiveness and the Use of Social Media,” Journal of Product Brand Management, 2013, 22, pp. 473–483; C. Kohli, R. Suri, and A. Kapoor, “Will Social Media Kill Branding?” Business Horizons, 2015, 58, pp. 35–44.

45. R. T. Cober, D. J. Brown, P. E. Levy, and J. H. Shalhoop, HR Professionals’ Attitudes Toward and Use of the Internet for Employee Recruitment, Executive Report, University of Akron and Society for Human Resource Management Foundation, 2003.

46. Ruiz, “Studies Examine the Online Job Hunting Experience”; D. S. Onley, “Improving Your Online Application Process,” HR Magazine, Oct. 2005 (

47. Freedman, “The Monster Dilemma”; R. Zeidner, “Companies Tell Their Stories in Recruitment Videos,” HR Magazine, Dec. 2007, p. 28; J. Borzo, “Taking On the Recruiting Monster,” Fortune Small Business, May 2007, p. 89; E. Frauenheim, “Logging Off Job Boards,” Workforce Management, June 2009, pp. 25–29.

48. D. M. Cable and K. Y. T. Yu, “Managing Job Seekers’ Organizational Image Beliefs: The Role of Media Richness and Media Credibility,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2006, 91, pp. 828–840.

49. G. Ruiz, “Newspapers, Job Boards Step Up Partnerships,” Workforce Management, Dec. 11, 2006, pp. 17–18.

50. P. Babcock, “Narrowing the Pool: Employers Ponder Worth of Niche Job Sites, and Many Take the Plunge,” SHRM Online HR Technology Focus Area, May 2007 (

51. Avery and McKay, “Target Practice: An Organizational Impression Management Approach to Attracting Minority and Female Job Applicants.”

52. I. Weller, B. C. Holtom, W. Matiaske, and T. Mellewigt, “Level and Time Effects of Recruitment Sources on Voluntary Employee Turnover,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009, 94, pp. 1146–1162; S. Overman, “Use the Best to Find the Rest,” Staffing Management Magazine, June 2008 (

53. J. R. Pieper, “Uncovering the Nuances of Referral Hiring: How Referrer Characteristics Affect Referral Hires’ Performance and Likelihood of Voluntary Turnover,” Personnel Psychology, 2015, 68, pp. 811–858.

54. P. Weaver, “Tap Ex-Employees’ Recruitment Potential,” HR Magazine, July 2006, pp. 89–91.

55. T. Cote and T. Armstrong, “Why Tweeting Has Become an Ad Agency’s Main Job-Posting Strategy,” Workforce Management Online, May 2009 (; F. Hansen, “Using Social Networking to Fill the Talent Acquisition Pipeline,” Workforce Management Online, Dec. 2006 (; E. Frauenheim, “Company Profile: Recruiters Get LinkedIn in Search of Job Candidates,” Workforce Management Online, Nov. 2006 (

56. S. F. Gale, “In E-Recruiting, There’s a New Recruit in Town,” Workforce Management, Aug. 2013, p. 8.

57. B. Busch, “Professional Employer Organizations, Social Media, and the Workplace,” Business People, Aug. 2013, p. 72.

58. S. Greengard, “Recruit Like a Marketer,” Workforce, July 2016 (

59. Cable and Yu, “Managing Job Seekers’ Organizational Image Beliefs: The Role of Media Richness and Media Credibility.”

60. S. Overman, “Do Your Hiring Homework,” Staffing Management Magazine, Jan.


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1, 2009 ( 61. J. Flato, “Key Success Factors for Managing Your Campus Recruiting Program:

The Good Times and Bad,” in N. C. Burkholder, P. J. Edwards, Sr., and L. Sartain (eds.), On Staffing: Advice and Perspectives From HR Leaders (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004), pp. 219–229; J. Floren, “Constructing a Campus Recruiting Network,” EMT, Spring 2004, pp. 29–31; C. Joinson, “Red Hot College Recruiting,” Employment Management Today, Oct. 4, 2002 (; J. Mullich, “College Recruitment Goes for Niches,” Workforce Management, Feb. 2004 (

62. B. Perkins, “Jousting for Jobs,” Computerworld, Aug. 12, 2013, p. 40. 63. D. L. McLain, “Headhunters Edge Toward Consulting,” Wall Street Journal,

May 5, 2002, pp. B4–B18; S. J. Wells, “Slow Times for Executive Recruiting,” HR Magazine, Apr. 2003, pp. 61–68.

64. L. Gomes, “Executive Recruiters Face Built-In Conflict Evaluating Insiders,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14, 2002, p. B1.

65. D. Cadrain, “Admit One,” Staffing Management Magazine, July 2009 (

66. R. J. Grossman, “Made From Scratch,” HR Magazine, Apr. 2002, pp. 44–52. 67. L. Q. Doherty and E. N. Sims, “Quick, Easy Recruitment Help—From a State?”

Workforce, May 1998, pp. 35–42. 68. D. Aberman, “Smaller, Specialized Recruiting Events Pay Off in Big

Ways,” EMA Today, Winter 1996, pp. 8–10; D. M. Cable and T. A. Judge, “Role of Organizational Information Sessions in Applicant Job Search and Choice Processes,” Paper presented at the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management National Meeting, Boston; Cable and Yu, “Managing Job Seekers’ Organizational Image Beliefs: The Role of Media Richness and Media Credibility.”

69. S. Armour, “Employers Court High School Teens,” Arizona Republic, Dec. 28, 1999, p. E5; C. Hymowitz, “Make a Careful Search to Fill Internships: They May Land a Star,” Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2000, p. B1; “In a Tight Job Market, College Interns Wooed,” IPMA News, Nov. 2000, p. 22.

70. P. J. Franks, “Well-Integrated Learning Programs,” in Burkholder, Edwards, Sr., and Sartain (eds.), On Staffing, pp. 230–238.

71. L. J. Bassi and J. Ludwig, “School-to-Work Programs in the United States: A Multi-Firm Case Study of Training, Benefits, and Costs,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2000, 53, pp. 219–239.

72. G. Beenen and D. M. Rousseau, “Getting the Most From Internships: Promoting Intern Learning and Job Acceptance,” Human Resource Management, 2010, 49, pp. 3–22.

73. R. H. Glover and R. A. Schwinger, “Defining an Applicant: Maintaining Records in the Electronic Age,” Legal Report, Society for Human Resource Management, Summer 1996, pp. 6–8; G. P. Panaro, Employment Law Manual, 2nd ed. (Boston: Warren Gorham Lamont, 1993), pp. I-51 to I-57.

74. OFCCP, “Frequently Asked Questions About the Internet Applicant Rule,” periodically updated (, accessed Mar. 18, 2010; V. J. Hoffman and G. M. Davis, “OFCCP’s Internet Applicant Definition Requires Overhaul of Recruitment and Hiring Policies,” Legal Report, Society for Human Resource Management, Jan./Feb. 2006; D. Reynolds, “OFCCP Guidance on Defining a Job Applicant in the Internet Age: The Final Word?” Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, 2006, 43(3), pp. 107– 113.


75. EEOC, “Questions and Answers: Definition of ‘Job Applicant’ for Internet and Related Electronic Technologies,” Mar. 2004 ( ugesp.html).

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77. A. Iyer and S. Masling, Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining and Promoting People With Disabilities (Washington, DC: Whitehouse, 2015).

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79. L. S. Rosen, The Safe Hiring Manual, 2nd ed. (Tempe, AZ: BRP Publications, 2013), pp. 413–436; J. A. Segal, “Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano,” HR Magazine, Apr. 2011, pp. 83–86; J. A. Segal, “Widening Web of Social Media,” HR Magazine, June 2012, pp. 117–120.

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Internal Recruitment

Learning Objectives and Introduction Learning Objectives Introduction

Strategic Recruitment Planning Defining Strategic Internal Recruitment Goals Mobility Paths and Policies Closed, Open, and Hybrid Recruitment Organization and Administration Timing

Applicant Reactions

Communication Communication Message Communication Media

Strategy Implementation Recruitment Sources Recruitment Metrics

Transition to Selection

Legal Issues Affirmative Action Programs Bona Fide Seniority Systems The Glass Ceiling


Discussion Questions

Ethical Issues


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Applications Recruitment in a Changing Internal Labor Market Succession Planning for a CEO



Learning Objectives

Be able to engage in effective internal recruitment planning activities Apply concepts of closed, open, and hybrid recruitment to the internal recruitment process Recognize which recruitment sources are available for internal candidates Evaluate internal recruitment based on established metrics Be able to evaluate communication messages for internal selection Recognize how applicant reactions influence the effectiveness of a recruitment plan Understand how affirmative action plans are implemented for internal recruitment

Introduction Internal recruitment is the process of identifying and attracting current employees for open jobs. Internal recruits have numerous advantages: they already know the organization’s culture, they have already developed relationships with coworkers, and they may require less training than external hires. The nearly ubiquitous presence of internal labor markets underscores the importance of effective internal recruitment. One survey of 725 human resource (HR) professionals found that as a result of recruitment, selection, training, and development costs, organizations are increasingly looking internally to staff positions.1 A majority of those surveyed reported that managing their internal talent pool was either a high (45.6%) or a very high (27.7%) strategic priority in their organization. The development of internal talent was seen as one of the top talent management tasks (63% of respondents), even more so than the acquisition of talent (49.4% of respondents).

Unfortunately, despite the imperative placed on improving talent management, this survey also showed that only 25.7% of organizations have


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a formal talent management strategy, and only 13.8% of small businesses have a formal talent management system. This relatively limited implementation of effective formal talent management systems means there is much room for improvement. At the same time, a poorly managed internal talent management system can lead to accusations of favoritism, bias, or discrimination. Great care must be taken to ensure that any internal recruitment system is seen as fair.

The first step in the internal recruitment process is recruitment planning. The second step is developing a strategy for where, how, and when to look for recruits. Knowing where to look requires an understanding of open, closed, and hybrid internal recruitment systems. Knowing how to look requires an understanding of job postings, intranets, intra-placement, talent management systems, nominations, in-house temporary pools, replacement and succession plans, and career development centers. Knowing when to look requires an understanding of lead time and time sequencing concerns. The third step consists of the communication message and medium for notification of the job vacancy. The fourth step in the process is developing a job posting system and providing applicants with an understanding of the selection process and how to best prepare for it. The fifth step in the process is the consideration of legal issues. Specific issues to be addressed include Affirmative Action Program regulations, bona fide seniority systems, and the glass ceiling.

STRATEGIC RECRUITMENT PLANNING Like the external recruitment process, the internal recruitment process involves matching employee KSAOs (knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics) to organizational needs. Unlike external recruitment, the management of an internal recruitment process is directed toward channeling and enhancing existing capabilities rather than bringing in new capabilities from the external market. Internal recruitment must be integrated with employee training and development programs. Before identifying and attracting internal applicants to vacant jobs, attention must be directed to organizational and administrative issues that facilitate the effective matching of those applicants with available positions.

Defining Strategic Internal Recruitment Goals The goals of an internal recruitment system will flow from the organization’s overall strategic goals. Much like external recruitment, an internal perspective on recruitment entails defining goals for attraction, goals for speed, and a time frame, but the operative issues for each of these


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topics will change.

Mobility Paths and Policies The internal recruitment system will be crucially dependent on the mobility paths and policies that have been established in the organization. Just as the external labor market can be divided into segments or strata of workers believed to be desirable job applicants, so, too, can the internal labor market of an organization be divided into segments. This division is often done informally inside organizations. For example, managers might talk about the talented pool of managerial trainees this year and refer to some of them as “high-potential employees.” As another example, people in the organization talk about their “techies,” an internal collection of employees with the technical skills needed to run the business.

At a more formal level, organizations must create a structured set of jobs for their employees and paths of mobility for them to follow as they advance in their careers.

Mobility Paths A mobility path consists of possible employee movements within the internal labor market structure. Mobility paths are determined by many factors, including KSAO requirements, workforce characteristics, organizational culture, and labor market characteristics. Mobility paths are of two types: hierarchical and alternative. Both types determine who is eligible for a new job in the organization.

Hierarchical Mobility Paths. Examples of hierarchical mobility paths are shown in Exhibit 6.1. As can be seen, the emphasis is primarily on upward mobility in the organization. Due to their upward nature, hierarchical mobility paths are often labeled “promotion ladders.” This label implies that each job is a step toward the top of the organization. Employees often see upward promotions as prizes because of the promotions’ desirable characteristics. Employees receive these prizes as they compete against one another for job vacancies. For example, a promotion might lead to a higher rate of pay, and a transfer may result in a move to a better work location. A great deal of research has been conducted on these types of “tournaments” for higher pay and promotions, with evidence clearly suggesting that individuals increase their effort when faced with the prospect of a large payoff.2 However, this same research suggests that competition can lead to counterproductive behavior, like sabotaging other employees or turnover among those who do not receive promotions.

An exception to the primarily upward mobility in the promotion ladders


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in Exhibit 6.1 shows the lateral moves that sometimes occur for the staff member who has both generalist and specialist experience as well as corporate and division experience. This staff member is considered more well-rounded and better able to work within the total organization. Experience as a specialist gives the person familiarity with technical issues that arise. Experience as a generalist gives the employee a breadth of knowledge about many matters in the staffing function. Corporate experience provides a policy and planning perspective, whereas division experience provides greater insight into day-to-day operational matters.

EXHIBIT 6.1 Hierarchical Mobility Paths

Hierarchical mobility paths make it very easy, from an administrative vantage point, to identify where to look for applicants in the organization. For promotion, one looks at the next level down in the organizational hierarchy, and for transfer, one looks over. Although such a system is straightforward to administer, it is not very flexible and may inhibit matching the best person to the job. For example, the best person for the job may be two levels down and in another division from the vacant job. It is very difficult to locate such a person under a hierarchical mobility path.

Alternative Mobility Paths. Examples of alternative mobility paths are shown in Exhibit 6.2. The emphasis here is on movement in the organization in any direction—up, down, and side to side. Employee movement is


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emphasized to ensure that each employee is continuously learning and that he or she can make the greatest contribution to the organization. This is in direct contrast to the hierarchical promotion ladder, where the goal is for each person to achieve a position with ever-higher status. Many organizations have shifted to alternative mobility paths for two reasons: (1) there is a need to be flexible given global and technological changes, and (2) slower organizational growth has made it necessary to find alternative ways to utilize employees’ talents.

EXHIBIT 6.2 Alternative Mobility Paths

Parallel tracks allow for employees to specialize in technical work or management work and advance within either. Historically, technical specialists had to shift away from technical work to managerial work if they wanted to receive higher-status job titles and pay. In other words, a technical specialist was a dead-end job. Under a parallel track system, however, job titles and salaries of technical specialists are elevated to be commensurate with their managerial counterparts.

With a lateral track system, there may be no upward mobility at all. The individual’s greatest contribution to the organization may be to stay at a certain level for an extended period of time while serving in a variety of capacities, as shown in Exhibit 6.2.

A lattice mobility path has upward, lateral, and even downward movement. For example, a recruiter may be promoted to a recruitment supervisor position, but to continue to contribute to the organization, the


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person may need to take a downward step to become knowledgeable about all the technical details in compensation. After mastering these details, the person may then become a supervisor again, this time in the compensation area rather than in recruitment. The person may have experience in training from a previous organization and be ready to move to training manager without training experience internal to the organization. Finally, the person may make a lateral move to manage all the HR functions in a division (recruitment, compensation, and training) as a division personnel manager.

Some organizations have adopted a team-based structure, hoping to maximize the information flow, increase flexibility, and minimize boundaries among employees.3 These organizations may do away with formal job titles and ranks altogether, with workers being reassigned to different roles in various project teams as needed. Such a structure is generally found mainly in research and development environments. The role of internal recruitment in such organizations changes completely, as talent management is focused on pairing employee KSAOs with unique project demands that are constantly in flux. This means there is a dramatic increase in the need for assessment of employee KSAOs and collaboration with team leaders to reconfigure groups quickly and efficiently. Such team-focused arrangements can be highly motivational for highly skilled individuals who are self-directed and engaged in their profession.

The downside to alternative mobility paths is that they are very difficult to administer. Neat categories of where to look do not exist to the same degree as with hierarchical mobility paths. On the positive side, however, talented inside candidates who may not have been identified within a hierarchical system are identified because of the flexibility of the system.

When upward mobility is limited in an organization, as in those using alternative mobility paths, special steps need to be taken to ensure that work remains meaningful to employees. If steps are not taken, the organization with limited promotional opportunities risks turnover of good employees. Examples of steps to make work more meaningful include the following:

1. Alternative reward systems. Rather than basing pay increases on promotions, pay increases can be based on an individual’s knowledge, skill acquisition, and contribution to the organization as a team member. Research has shown that these programs are successful at encouraging employees to develop job-relevant skills.4

2. Team building. Greater challenge and autonomy in the workplace can be created by having employees work in teams where they are responsible for all aspects of work involved in providing a service or product, including self-management.


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3. Counseling. Workshops, self-directed workbooks, and individual advising can be used to ensure that employees have a well-reasoned plan for movement in the organization.

4. Alternative employment. Arrangements can be made for employee leaves of absence, sabbaticals, and consulting assignments to ensure that workers remain challenged and acquire new knowledge and skills.

Mobility Policies Mobility paths show the relationships among jobs, but they do not show the rules by which people move between jobs. These rules are specified in written policies, which must be developed and should specify eligibility criteria.

Policy Development. It is important to ensure that mobility policies meet organizational goals, are seen as fair by employees, and can be administered easily.5 Fortunately, many of the same principles that enhance policy fit with strategy enhance perceived justice and also make the system easy to apply. These principles include clarity, objectivity, consistency, and transparency. The following are a few key characteristics of an effective mobility policy development process:

Ensure that leaders of the organization who will be affected by the policy have an opportunity to participate in policy creation. Provide clear rationales for overall policy frameworks, linking them to organizational strategy and goals. Link specific mobility path policies to performance-relevant qualifications based on a job analysis (either job requirements or competency based). Clearly state rules for how employees will be notified of openings, deadlines, and data to be supplied; how requirements and qualifications are relevant; how the selection process will work; and how job offers will be made. Outline employee and supervisor responsibilities and opportunities for development. Develop clear criteria for who is eligible to be considered for a vacancy in a mobility path. Communicate procedures and policies to all affected parties.

Policy Implementation. After the organization has developed its mobility policies, a strong set of supporting practices should ensure they are implemented as planned. To facilitate effective implementation of the policies and practices, the organization should match implementation plans to the components of policy creation:


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1. Continually collect data from leaders regarding the fit of mobility policies with organizational goals. If implementing the policies as written is difficult or interferes with organizational effectiveness, they should be revised.

2. Track compliance with preestablished criteria and reinforce why these criteria are important for managers.

3. Use tracking systems that ensure communication and selection procedures are followed and that favoritism and bias are minimized.

4. Document employee development progress. Methods for tracking should be automated (such as through automatic e-mails or posting to a central career management system) and accessible for users.

5. Supervisors and employees should receive regular updates regarding the status of any internal mobility decisions. This can be automated in a manner similar to the development progress system.

Closed, Open, and Hybrid Recruitment The decision of how to communicate a job announcement to employees is a key component of an internal recruitment system. The choice among closed, open, and hybrid systems can affect employee motivation and perceptions of fairness, so each possibility should be carefully considered.

Closed Internal Recruitment System Under a closed internal recruitment system, employees are not made aware of job vacancies. The only people made aware of promotion or transfer opportunities are those who oversee placement in the HR department, line managers with vacancies, and contacted employees. Exhibit 6.3 shows how a vacancy is typically filled under a closed system.

A closed system is very efficient. There are only a few steps to follow, and the time and cost involved are minimal. However, a closed system is only as good as the files showing candidates’ KSAOs. If the files are inaccurate or out of date, qualified candidates may be overlooked. Thus, maintaining accurate human resource information systems (HRISs) that track KSAOs regularly is vital.

EXHIBIT 6.3 Closed Internal Recruitment System


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Open Internal Recruitment System Under an open internal recruitment system, employees are made aware of job vacancies. Usually this is accomplished by a job posting and bidding system. Exhibit 6.4 shows the typical steps followed in filling a vacancy under an open internal recruitment system.

An open system gives employees a chance to measure their qualifications against those required for advancement. It helps minimize the possibility that supervisors will select favorite employees for promotion or transfer, and it often uncovers hidden talent.

An open system may, however, create unwanted competition among employees for limited advancement opportunities. It is a very lengthy and time-consuming process to screen all candidates and provide them with feedback. Employee morale may decrease among those who do not advance.

Hybrid System of Internal Recruitment Under a hybrid system, both open and closed steps are followed at the same time. Job vacancies are posted and the HR department conducts a search outside the job posting system. Both systems are used in order to cast as wide a net as possible. The large applicant pool is then narrowed down by KSAOs, seniority eligibility, demographics, and availability of applicants.

EXHIBIT 6.4 Open Internal Recruitment System


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Merico Hotels uses a hybrid system that includes both the training and development of promising employees for specific higher-level positions along with job posting methods.6 The organization’s performance management system encourages employees to specify their potential internal career tracks and indicate which developmental opportunities will help them progress. Those who are identified as high-potential employees receive special training within a formal succession planning system. When jobs open, they are posted via an internal job vacancy software program developed specifically by Merico. Employees who are especially qualified for these openings are alerted by the organization and encouraged to apply.

A hybrid system has four advantages: qualified candidates are identified in advance, a thorough search is conducted, people have equal opportunity to apply for postings, and hidden talent is uncovered. The major disadvantage of a hybrid system is that it entails a time-consuming and costly process.


EXHIBIT 6.5 Choosing Among Open, Closed, and Hybrid Internal Recruiting

Technique Advantages Best When

Open Identifies more candidates, including those who might be overlooked in a closed system Makes rules and regulations explicit and open to all employees Sometimes required by labor agreements

Issues exist about perceived fairness Hidden talent might be overlooked

Closed Less expensive in terms of search costs Offers a quicker response Less cumbersome when only a select few meet the minimum requirements

Managers need the new candidate to start immediately Jobs require a very narrow and specialized set of KSAOs

Hybrid Finds a large number of candidates Everyone has an opportunity to apply

Adequate resources are available to run such a hybrid system Jobs are especially key to organizational success

Criteria for Choice of System In an ideal world with unlimited resources, one would choose a hybrid system of internal recruitment. However, due to resource constraints, most organizations must choose between open and closed systems. Several criteria need to be thoroughly considered before selecting an internal recruitment system. Exhibit 6.5 reviews these criteria.

Although the choice of system is important, the use of staffing software (see Chapter 13) allows bridges to be built between these systems in order to take advantage of the best features of each.

Organization and Administration Not only must mobility paths and mobility policies be established as part of


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the planning process, but so too must administrative matters. Administrative matters include coordination, the budget, and the recruitment guide.

Coordination Internal and external recruitment efforts need to be coordinated and synchronized via the organization’s staffing philosophy. If this is not done, disastrous results can occur. For example, if independent searches are conducted internally and externally, two people may be hired for one vacancy. If only an external recruitment search is conducted, the morale of current employees may suffer if they feel they have been passed over for a promotion. If only an internal recruitment search is conducted, the person hired may not be as qualified as someone from the external market. Because of these possibilities, internal and external professionals must work together with the line manager to coordinate efforts before the search for candidates begins.

To coordinate activities, policies need to be created that specify the number and types of candidates sought both internally and externally. External recruiters should stay in frequent contact with internal placement professionals.

Budget An organization’s budgeting process for internal recruitment should closely mirror that of external recruitment. The cost per hire may, however, differ between internal and external recruitment. The fact that internal recruitment targets candidates already working for the organization does not mean that the cost per hire is necessarily less than the cost per hire for external recruitment. Sometimes internal recruitment can be costlier than external recruitment because the methods involved in internal recruitment can be quite expensive. For example, internal candidates who are considered for the job but are not hired may need to be counseled on what to do in order to further develop their careers so that they can better compete for the position the next time it is vacant. When an external candidate is rejected, a simple and less costly rejection letter usually suffices.

Recruitment Guide As with external recruitment, internal recruitment activities involve the development of a recruitment guide, a formal document that details the process to be followed to attract applicants to a vacant job. Included in the plan are details such as the time, money, and staff activities required to fill the job, as well as the steps to be taken to fill the vacancy created by the internal candidate leaving to take on the new job. An example of an internal


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recruitment guide is shown in Exhibit 6.6.

Timing A final strategic consideration is for the organization to determine when to look for internal candidates. As with external recruitment, consideration involves the calculation of lead time and time sequencing concerns.

Lead Time Concerns A major difference between internal and external recruitment is that internal recruitment not only fills vacancies but also creates them. Each time a vacancy is filled with an internal candidate, a new vacancy is created in the spot vacated by the internal candidate.

EXHIBIT 6.6 Internal Recruitment Guide

Position Reassignments Into New Claims Processing Center

Goal: Transfer all qualified medical claims processors and examiners from one company subsidiary to the newly developed claims processing center. Terminate those who are not well qualified for the new positions and whose existing positions are being eliminated. Assumptions: That all employees have been notified that their existing positions in company subsidiary ABC are being eliminated and that they will be eligible to apply for positions in the new claims processing center. Hiring responsibility: Manager of Claims Processing and Manager of Claims Examining. Other resources: Entire human resource department staff.

Time frames: Positions posted internally on April 2, 2016 Employees may apply until April 16, 2016 Interviews will be scheduled/coordinated during week of April 19, 2016 Interviews will occur during the week of April 26, 2016 Selections made and communicated by last week in May

Positions available and corresponding qualification summaries: Total number of available positions: 60


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6 claims supervisors—4-year degree with 3 years of claims experience, including 1 year of supervisory experience. 14 claims data entry operators—6 months of data entry experience. Knowledge of medical terminology helpful. 8 hospital claims examiners—12 months of claims data entry/processing experience. Knowledge of medical terminology necessary. 8 physician claims examiners—12 months of claims data entry/processing experience. Knowledge of medical terminology necessary. 8 dental claims examiners—12 months of claims data entry/processing experience and 6 months of dental claims examining experience. Knowledge of dental terminology necessary. 8 mental health claims examiners—12 months of claims data entry/processing experience and 6 months of mental health claims experience. Knowledge of medical and mental health terminology necessary. 8 substance abuse claims examiners—12 months of claims data entry/processing experience and 6 months of substance abuse experience. Knowledge of medical terminology necessary. Transfer request guidelines: Internal candidates must submit internal transfer request and an accompanying cover page listing all positions for which they are applying, in order of preference. Internal candidates may apply for no more than five positions. Transfer requests must be complete and be signed by the employee and the employee’s supervisor. Candidate qualification review process: Transfer requests from internal candidates will be reviewed on a daily basis. Those not qualified for positions for which they have applied will be notified by phone that day, due to the large volume of requests. All transfer requests and accompanying cover pages will be filed by the position to which they refer. If internal candidates apply for more than one position, their transfer packet will be copied so that one copy is in each position folder. Once all candidate qualifications have been received and reviewed, each candidate’s transfer packet will be copied and transmitted to the managers for review and interview selection. Due to the large number of candidates, managers will be required to interview only those candidates with the best qualifications for the available


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positions. Managers will notify human resources with the candidates with whom they would like interviews scheduled. Whenever possible, the manager will interview the candidate during one meeting for all of the positions applied and qualified for. Selection guidelines: Whenever possible, the best-qualified candidates will be selected for the available positions. The corporation has committed to attempting to place all employees whose positions are being eliminated. Managers reserve the right to not select employees currently on disciplinary probation. Employees should be slotted into a position with a salary grade comparable to their current salary grade. Employees’ salaries shall not be reduced due to the involuntary nature of the job reassignment. Notification of nonselection: Candidates not selected for a particular position will be notified by electronic message. Selection notifications: Candidates selected for a position will be notified in person by the human resource staff and will be given a confirmation letter specifying starting date, position, reporting relationship, and salary.

Because of this difference, it is incumbent on the organization to do HR planning along with internal recruitment. This planning involves elements of succession planning (see Chapter 3) and is essential for effective internal recruitment.

Internal and external lead time considerations also differ because in an internal market, the employer can actively participate in identifying and developing the knowledge and skills of the pool of eligible internal employees. Strategic talent management means that the organization identifies crucial skills that will be needed for future positions and begins cultivating these skills in the workforce well in advance.7 By proactively developing needed skills in advance, the organization will be able to significantly reduce the lead time to fill positions with very specific KSAO requirements.

Time Sequence Concerns As previously noted, it is essential that internal and external recruitment activities be properly coordinated. This is especially true with the timing and sequencing of events that must be carefully laid out for both recruitment and placement personnel. When filling a vacancy, many organizations start with


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internal recruitment, followed by external recruitment. Issues to be addressed include the time period for the internal search, whether external recruitment can be done concurrently with internal recruitment, and who will be selected if an internal candidate and an external candidate with relatively equal KSAOs are identified.

APPLICANT REACTIONS Internal applicants will have different considerations than external applicants regarding recruitment methods. Their familiarity with the organization’s structure, reward practices, and decision-making procedures will allow them to better consider the long-term consequences of pursuing an internal position. Because they are already embedded within the organization, they will probably have a longer time horizon and can consider not just the immediate features of the job but also the future benefits of taking on a new position. From the organization’s perspective, it is much easier to evaluate the preferences of internal employees than those of external candidates. Supervisors and other organizational leaders will be able to discuss these preferences at length, and then customize messages to fit individual needs and preferences.

Perceived fairness of an internal recruitment process is extremely important. A potential applicant who feels that a company’s external recruitment policy is unfair is unlikely to pursue a job opportunity, and that generally will mark the end of the interaction. An employee who feels that his or her company’s internal recruitment policy is unfair will remain an employee, and the negative perceptions may spill over to reduce motivation, engagement, and performance and might even lead to turnover. As noted earlier in the “Policy Development” and “Policy Implementation” sections, issues of fairness should be resolved through transparency, objectivity, consistency, and clarity. Reviews of the evidence suggest that procedures may be nearly as great a source of dissatisfaction to employees as decisions.8 In some organizations, dissatisfaction arises because there is no formal policy regarding promotion and transfer opportunities. Ensure that employees are aware of opportunities for which they are qualified, and clearly state the underlying logic for encouraging candidates to take different internal mobility paths.

COMMUNICATION Once the planning and strategy development phases have been conducted, it is time to conduct the search. As with external recruitment, informing


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potential applicants about the opening and the characteristics of the position will have a strong influence on the types of individuals who apply. However, the content of the message and the media through which it will be transmitted are quite different.

Communication Message Like the external recruitment message, the internal recruitment message can be realistic, targeted, or branded. A realistic message portrays the job as it really is, including positive and negative aspects. A targeted message points out how the job matches the needs of the applicant. A branded message emphasizes the value, culture, and identity of the unit to attract applicants who fit the brand label. For internal recruitment, information will be presented regarding the culture of the work unit or division and how it differs from other areas of the organization. The internal applicant will have more information about the organization and its practices than would most external applicants, but any additional information about the job itself might not be accurate and might arrive via rumors or other unreliable internal communication methods. Therefore, any recruitment message should take the internal image of the job into account.

Branded messages can emphasize how a specific area of the organization offers unique opportunities to internal applicants. This information can be communicated in a way that takes advantage of what employees already know about the job and organization. For example, a company expanding into a new regional market can describe how taking on a position in this new region will be a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth, with detailed information regarding specific products and initiatives that are active in that area, and even mention of key individuals whose reputations might be known in the organization who are also active in that area.

Targeted messages along with inducements are likely to attract experienced internal employees. Because internal applicants will be personally known by coworkers and supervisors, messages can be specifically targeted around each person’s identified needs and desires. Targeted messages about the desirability of a position and the actual rewards should come directly from the job rewards matrix. The hiring manager needs to clearly communicate factual information in the job rewards matrix, rather than offers of potential rewards that the manager may not be able to provide.

Realistic messages can be communicated using a technique known as a realistic job preview (RJP). This technique needs to be carefully applied for internal recruitment because applicants may already have a picture of the job since they are already a member of the organization. It should not be


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automatically assumed that all internal candidates have accurate information about the job and organization. In fact, word-of-mouth information, such as rumors, within the organization can lead internal recruits to have inaccurate perceptions about a job that need to be corrected. RJPs are particularly appropriate for internal applicants when they move to an unknown job, a newly created job, or a new geographic area, including an international assignment. Alternatively, it is often possible to give internal recruits informational interviews with future coworkers, site visits, or even hands-on experience in the new work environment, which is less feasible with external recruits.

Communication Media The actual methods or media used to communicate job openings internally include formal job postings, direct contact with potential supervisors and peers, and word of mouth. In most cases, all three media should be considered as potential parts of the process, although only the first two are encouraged.

A job posting should clearly define the duties and requirements of the job as well as the eligibility requirements. To ensure consistency and fair treatment, job postings are usually coordinated by the HR department. Other documents used to communicate a vacancy may include a description of the work unit and its location as well as a description of the job. A brochure or video can also be created to show and describe what the job and its location are like. Such a message would be important to applicants asked to relocate to a new geographic area or to accept an international assignment.

Potential supervisors and peers can describe to the internal applicant how the position he or she is considering fits into the larger organizational picture. Supervisors are knowledgeable about how the position fits with the strategic direction of the organization. Hence, they can communicate information regarding the expansion or contraction of the business unit within which the job resides. Moreover, supervisors can convey the mobility paths and requirements for future movement by applicants within the business unit, should they be hired. Peers can supplement these supervisory observations by giving candidates a realistic look at what actually happens by way of career development.

Word of mouth is difficult for the organization to control when it comes to external applicant searches, but it can be much more problematic for internal searches. This can be a highly selective, inaccurate, and haphazard method of communicating information. It is selective because, by accident or design, not all employees hear about vacant jobs. Talented personnel, including underrepresented groups, may


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thus be overlooked. It is inaccurate because it relies on second- or thirdhand information; important details, such as actual job requirements and rewards, are omitted or distorted as they are passed from person to person. Informal methods are also haphazard in that there is no regular communication channel specifying set times for communicating job information. As a result of these problems, the organization should be aware of word-of-mouth influences and attempt to minimize their effect on the applicant identification and attraction process.

STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION After the focus of the strategic recruitment search has been established and communication messages and media have been evaluated, the organization must develop a strategy to access viable internal job applicants.

Recruitment Sources The choice of recruitment sources in an internal search is closely related to whether a closed, open, or hybrid system is employed. Some of the techniques described below are clearly more appropriate for a closed search, while others are more suited to an open search. One unique feature of the internal recruitment effort is that various sources overlap with one another and will likely be used simultaneously.

Job Postings A job posting system is similar to the use of organizational websites in external recruitment. A posting spells out the duties and requirements of available jobs and provides a portal through which internal applicants can submit their materials. Organizations do not have to build these internal systems from the ground up; many HRIS developers integrate internal job posting systems into their programs. This means that when a job that has been designated as part of the internal market comes open, full posting information based on job analysis records can easily be put on the company intranet in one integrated process. Smaller organizations with less robust internal labor markets may post jobs through e-mails rather than through establishing a dedicated internal recruitment site. E-mail contact with selected individuals can also be part of a closed recruitment system as well.

An example of the type of information found in an internal job posting is shown in Exhibit 6.7. Such information includes the job title, category, compensation, and work schedule. A brief overview of desired qualifications and a job description can be pulled directly into the system from job analysis files. Work unit descriptions can


also be developed and standardized to make the process of uploading a new position more efficient. Finally, application instructions link the user to three different portals. The submission portal leads to a series of pages where applicants can submit their qualifications and statement of interest. The appraisal information portal allows applicants to link their individual application to previous performance appraisal information in the HRIS. Finally, the recommendation portal allows the applicant to request recommendations from other individuals within the organization; these requests generate e-mail messages to the relevant parties with information on how to submit a recommendation to the system. This example shows a very basic, utilitarian format for the posting, but many organizations supplement their postings with images of or personal messages from individuals working in similar roles.

EXHIBIT 6.7 Example of Job Posting Information

Job code and title (75593) Administrative Specialist II Position title Assistant to Director of Marketing Position category Administrative and clerical Compensation category

Nonexempt C [$15.00 to $20.00 per hour to start, depending on qualifications]

Work hours 8:30 am–5:00 pm Work days MTWThF Required/preferred qualifications

Prior experience as Administrative Specialist I or II Excellent professional communication skills Proficiency with word processing, spreadsheet, asset management, database, electronic mail, and Internet browser software Knowledge of management principles and functions

Job description Assist the Director of Marketing with clerical and administrative tasks, including preparing correspondence, organizing a calendar of appointments, communicating with individuals within and external to the organization

Work unit description

The Director of Marketing works in the corporate offices in downtown Chicago.


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Employees work closely with one another in the marketing department and support one another through their efforts. There is a formal dress code for all employees in this division and professionalism is emphasized.

Application instructions

Click to enter submission portal: ENTER Click to submit appraisal information from

records: ENTER Click to request recommendations: ENTER

Despite their advantages, internal job posting systems have some drawbacks. Examples of such difficulties include situations where employees believe that someone was selected before the job was posted (a “bagged” job), cumbersome systems where managers and HR personnel are overwhelmed with résumés of unqualified candidates, and criticisms that the HR department is not doing an effective job of screening candidates for positions.

Another important issue with posting systems is in providing feedback. Not only do employees need to know whether they have received the job, but those who did not receive the job need to be made aware of why they did not. Providing this feedback serves two purposes. First, it makes job posting part of the career development system of the organization. Second, it invites candidates to bid on future postings. If employees are not given feedback, they may be less likely to bid for another job because they feel that their attempts are futile.

Talent Management System A talent management system is a comprehensive method for monitoring and tracking the utilization of employee skills and abilities throughout the organization.9 The process of talent management is closely aligned with replacement and succession planning—talent management systems track the KSAOs of the workforce, and then replacement and succession planning translates this information into concrete action plans for specific job roles. Although talent management involves performance management and training processes in addition to managing the internal recruitment process, tracking employees’ KSAOs and their use in the organization is the key component of talent management systems.

Although a number of different models for implementing talent management systems exist, there are a few key processes common to most. The first stage of the process is identifying the KSAOs required for all jobs


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in the organization. This information can be obtained from job descriptions and job specifications. The complete set of KSAOs required across the organization will then be compiled into a master list. The current workforce will need to be assessed for its competence in this set of KSAOs, usually as an adjunct to routine performance evaluations. When positions come open, managers make a query to the talent management system to determine which employees are eligible. A process should be in place to make regular comprehensive examinations of the changing nature of KSAO requirements throughout the organization. Information from these analyses can then be used as a springboard for developing comprehensive plans for training and development experiences.

There has been such a strong integration of database software for talent management systems that when staffing managers refer to them, they are often talking about the specific HRIS that is used to facilitate tracking KSAOs in the workforce. While these database applications offer great promise for coordinating information, many managers find operating talent management systems challenging. Most of the problems in implementing the systems in practice do not come from a lack of technology but from an excess of technology that cannot be understood by line managers. A few principles should be borne in mind when developing or evaluating a user- friendly talent management system:

Keep the format for entering data as simple as possible. Have an easy method for updating basic information with each performance evaluation cycle. Make it easy to perform database queries. Provide varied formats for obtaining reports. Ensure that information is confidential. Make it possible to perform statistical analyses using relational databases. Integrate data with other HR files.

Nominations Nominations for internal candidates to apply for open positions can be solicited from potential supervisors and peers. These individuals are an excellent source of names of internal candidates, as they are familiar with what is required to be successful in the position. They can help establish the criteria for eligibility and then, through their contacts in the organization, search for eligible candidates. Self-nominations are also useful in that they ensure that qualified candidates are not inadvertently overlooked using other applicant searching methods. Self-nomination is an especially important consideration in the internal recruitment of minorities and women.


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In-House Temporary Pools In-house temporary pools are important to the temporary staffing of organizations, and they are also an excellent source of permanent internal employment. Unlike employees hired through external staffing agencies, those employed through in-house temporary pools are legally treated as employees. Therefore, the full legal liability for these employees falls exclusively on the employer. Using in-house temporary employees has a number of advantages.10 Internal temporary employees require less orientation to the organization than external hires. Staffing agencies typically charge an employer an hourly fee for each temporary employee. But with an internal system, because the employer does not have to pay an hourly fee to an external agency, the cost savings can be applied to higher levels of compensation and benefits. It is also easier for an organization to ensure the quality and person/organization fit for employees from an in-house pool relative to a pool of external hires. Temporary employment can also serve as an “audition” for full-time employment, allowing the temporary employee to try out a number of positions until the employee and the organization agree on a good person/job match. In health care, it is common to have “float” staff who are assigned to different units regularly, depending on the organization’s needs. These pools are especially valuable in this highly specialized field because quality control and knowledge of organizational policies and procedures are crucial for performance. Surveys of health care organizations show that these pools are seen as an important and effective tool for enhancing performance and minimizing costs.11 Substitute teachers are staffed in a similar manner. Such employees must be adaptable to different situations, and the organization must ensure that the employees have sufficient work. In addition, extra training may be needed for these employees since they are expected to have a broad range of skills in their repertoire.

Replacement and Succession Plans A critical source of internal recruitment is provided by the results of replacement and succession planning. Most succession plans include replacement charts (see Chapter 3), which indicate positions and who is scheduled to fill those slots when they become vacant. Replacement charts usually also indicate when the individual will be ready for the assignment. Succession plans are organized by position and list the skills needed for the prospective position (i.e., “for the employee to be promoted into this position from her current position, she needs to develop the following skills”).

It is critical that succession planning be future oriented, lest the


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organization plan be based on historical competencies that fail to meet new challenges. Software exists to assist organizations with succession planning. Companies like Saba Succession, HRsmart, Silk Road Technology, and PilatHR Solutions offer succession planning packages used by many Fortune 500 companies that interface with an organization’s HRIS. These packages provide replacement charts and competency libraries that allow an organization to identify developmental activities and assignments for individuals in the replacement charts.

CEO succession has always been an important issue for organizations, but never more so than today. The need for employee development has heightened as an increasing proportion of the workforce is approaching retirement. There is great concern among career development specialists that the mass retirement of baby boomers will lead to a loss of organizational memory and knowledge built up with experience. Having strong succession planning techniques that will enable the more recently hired workforce to acquire knowledge from its experienced coworkers before moving into managerial positions is one way to minimize the impact of mass retirements. Interviews with executive recruiters and CEOs have found that industry- and organization-specific competencies are highly desirable.12 This underscores the need to develop these attributes in-house, since they will be hard to find on the open labor market.

The key to avoiding potential fiascoes is to have a succession plan for CEOs. A major retrospective study of CEO transition failures conducted by the Conference Board found that about half of organizations have neither an emergency succession plan nor a long-term succession plan.13 Key shortfalls identified in CEO succession plans include misalignment of hiring criteria with strategic organization needs, a fear of antagonizing the current CEO by trying to identify potential replacements, and a lack of investment in developing the entire workforce from the bottom up.

A succession plan should begin with a thorough job analysis and a listing of the characteristics and behaviors of a successful CEO.14 The organization should not leave it to the CEO to identify a successor. CEOs are typically not trained or experienced in staffing, and they may have selfish motives in appointing a successor. Alternatively, they may avoid appointing a successor altogether, thus keeping themselves in the job. Therefore, the board must be deeply involved in the selection process. Boards also need to realize that the succession process should begin well before the CEO departs; in fact, it should be a continuous process. Appropriate succession plans should also examine the pipeline for individuals to replace the top management team members (e.g., chief financial officer, chief operating officer, senior vice presidents) who might replace the CEO. As we saw in the planning chapter, each time an internal promotion occurs, it creates a


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need to staff the position of the individual who was promoted.

Career Development Centers To facilitate internal transfers, many organizations have an internal office of career development that helps employees explore career options available within the organization.15 Career development centers provide employees with opportunities to take interest inventories, assess their personal career goals, and interview with representatives across the organization. The goal of career development centers is twofold. First, employees learn about themselves and have a chance to think about what they really want to achieve in their careers. Second, employers have a chance to explain the career options within the organization and develop methods to structure internal career paths that match the interests of their employees. Surveys conducted in numerous organizations consistently demonstrate that employees are more satisfied when their employers provide them with ample communication and opportunities for internal advancement—an interactive career development center can do both.16

The interest inventories provided in career development centers often take the form of multiple-choice questionnaires that ask employees to indicate their preferred work activities. For example, respondents might be asked whether they prefer tasks that involve analytical processes like analyzing financial data or more social tasks like motivating a group of workers. After completing these surveys, employees compare their work preferences with the profiles of activities in a variety of jobs. Career development counselors can help talk employees through their thoughts and concerns about job options. Ideally, these career development inventories, coupled with careful analysis of KSAOs, will be paired with job analysis information to improve the person/job match. If employees lack the required KSAOs, career development counselors can suggest developmental work experiences or training opportunities.

Any assessment of career development centers needs to take the organization’s bottom line into account.17 Having full-time career development staff is a significant cost for any organization, and it is unlikely that small or medium-sized organizations will find it cost-effective to develop a comprehensive career development center. For smaller organizations, it is more advisable to develop smaller-scale informal initiatives based on personal interactions. Smaller organizations can make use of some career development tools by bringing in external career coaches or consultants to work with individuals who are especially interested in career development within the organization. To reduce costs, employees could take their career development profiles and receive initial feedback through web-based surveys. These electronic survey options save money by


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reducing staff needs, and employees will not need to go to the career development offices to receive initial counseling.

Although career development centers are complicated to develop and expensive to maintain, they offer organizations an opportunity to help employees learn about a large spectrum of careers. By providing employees with a clear sense of how they can direct their own careers, it is hoped that job satisfaction will increase and thus lead to increased retention. Because of the cost of career development services, it is especially important to keep track of the return on investment for these services.

Recruitment Metrics Like external recruitment sources, each internal recruitment source has strengths and weaknesses. Exhibit 6.8 provides an overview of the metrics that might be expected for the categories of recruitment activities, along with issues considered relevant to each source. There is far less research on the costs and benefits of internal recruitment techniques, so our comments here are necessarily somewhat speculative; it is likely that each organization will need to consider its unique needs even more thoroughly than it would when selecting external recruitment methods.

Sufficient Quantity Because the organization’s pool of employees will necessarily be smaller than the general labor market, most internal recruitment methods will have far lower quantity yields. Techniques that permit job postings and use of the organization’s intranet will likely produce far more candidates for promotion and advancement than will succession plans.

EXHIBIT 6.8 Potential Recruiting Metrics for Different Sources


page 294Sufficient Quality The degree to which the organization utilizes its own internal


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information on candidate qualifications and job performance to narrow the pool will determine how qualified the applicants will be. In assessing applicant characteristics, organizations that have internal recruitment systems have a huge advantage over those that use external recruitment systems, so the ability of each source to draw in qualified internal candidates should capitalize on the additional capacity to carefully observe them. Regular performance appraisals of all employees, coupled with talent management systems to track KSAOs, are a vital part of an effective internal recruitment system.

Cost Internal recruitment methods have a completely different set of costs than external recruitment methods. In some ways, internal recruitment can be far less expensive than external recruitment because the organization’s own internal communication systems can usually be utilized. It costs very little to send an e-mail to all qualified staff informing them of job opportunities or to post job advertisements on a physical or an electronic bulletin board. However, more sophisticated systems, such as a corporate intranet or comprehensive talent management system, take more personnel resources to set up and maintain. Career development centers are very costly propositions, and only organizations with considerable internal placement needs will find them cost-effective.

Impact on HR Outcomes Very little research has been done on the effectiveness of various internal recruitment sources. Thus, it is imperative that organizational leaders consider how their internal recruitment systems affect turnover rates, job performance, and diversity. Despite the lack of research, it should be easier to monitor these outcomes directly, because it is easier to directly measure the applicant pool contacted through internal methods. From anecdotal observations, some preliminary conclusions can be drawn regarding the advantages of internal placement. There is some evidence that internal career opportunities can reduce turnover intentions.18 Internal recruitment methods may reduce the time it takes for employees to reach full performance once placed, because they will already be familiar with the organization and may know more about the job in question than an external hire would. Any costs of internal recruitment should be compared against the costs of external recruitment, and the replacement of the employee who takes an internal position should also be taken into account.



As with external recruitment, once a job seeker has been identified and attracted to a new job, the organization needs to prepare the person for the selection process. It should not be assumed that just because job seekers come from inside the organization they automatically know and understand the selection procedures. With the rapid advances being made in selection methods, the applicant might encounter methods that are different from those he or she previously experienced. Even if the same selection methods are used, the applicant may need to be refreshed on the process since much time may have elapsed between the current and previous selection decisions.

In many organizations, the most significant internal mobility decisions involve moving an individual from a role as an individual contributor to the management ranks. In this case, the process of “recruitment” incorporates sharing information about what the organization is looking for in a leader and then helping the employee develop these appropriate skills.19 In other words, recruitment, selection, and development come together in a succession management effort. When an employee has been identified as having some potential for leadership, there should be a gradual process of preparing him or her for the new role with self-development exercises. The employee’s interest in the position should be assessed to ensure that she or he is interested in mobility. The employee’s capacity to develop these skills should also be evaluated on an ongoing basis without committing to the mobility decision prematurely. Frequent communication regarding needed skills, job expectations, and responsibilities will help facilitate a smooth transition once the organization decides to offer the employee a higher-level position.

LEGAL ISSUES The mobility of people within the organization, particularly upward, has long been a matter of equal employment opportunity/affirmative action (EEO/AA) concern. The workings of the internal labor market rely heavily on internal recruitment activities. Like external recruitment activities, internal recruitment activities can operate in exclusionary ways, resulting in unequal promotion opportunities, rates, and results for certain groups of employees—particularly women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans. Both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have strong positions on improving advancement for these targeted groups. Seniority systems are likewise subject to legal scrutiny, particularly regarding what constitutes a bona fide system under the law. More recently, promotion systems have been studied as they relate to the glass ceiling effect and the kinds of barriers that have been found to stifle the upward rise of


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minorities and women in organizations.

Affirmative Action Programs As is the case with external recruitment, the EEOC and OFCCP require strong actions by the organization to improve promotion opportunities and results for protected groups. The EEOC provides a set of employer best- practice ideas for such actions. The list is shown in Exhibit 6.9.

Bona Fide Seniority Systems Title VII (see Chapter 2) explicitly permits the use of bona fide seniority systems as long as they are not the result of an intention to discriminate. This position presents the organization with a serious dilemma. Past discrimination in external staffing may have resulted in a predominantly white male workforce. A change to a nondiscriminatory external staffing system may increase the presence of women and minorities within an organization, but they will still have less seniority than the white males. If eligibility for promotion is based on seniority and/or if seniority is an actual factor considered in promotion decisions, those with less seniority are less likely to be promoted. Thus, the seniority system will have an adverse impact on women and minorities, even though there is no current intention to discriminate. Is such a seniority system bona fide?

Two points are relevant here. First, the law does not define “seniority system.” Generally, however, any established system that uses length of employment as a basis for making decisions (such as promotion decisions) is interpreted as a seniority system. Promotions based on ad hoc judgments about which candidates are “more experienced,” however, would not likely be considered a bona fide seniority system.20 Seniority systems can and do occur outside the context of a collective bargaining agreement.

Second, current interpretation is that, in the absence of discriminatory intent, virtually any seniority system is likely to be bona fide, even if it causes adverse impact.21 This interpretation incentivizes the organization not to change its current seniority-based practices or systems. Other pressures, such as the Affirmative Action Program Regulations or a voluntary affirmative action plan (AAP), create an incentive to change in order to eliminate the occurrence of adverse impact in promotion. The organization thus must carefully consider exactly what its posture will be toward seniority practices and systems within the context of its overall AAP.

Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), there is potential conflict between needing to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee (such as job reassignment) and provisions of the organization’s seniority system (such as bidding for jobs based on seniority). According to


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the Supreme Court, it will ordinarily be unreasonable (undue hardship) for a reassignment request to prevail over the seniority system unless the employee can show some special circumstances that warrant an exception.

EXHIBIT 6.9 Best-Practice Promotion Ideas From the EEOC

Establish a policy for promotion and career advancement, including criteria, procedures, responsible individuals, and the applicability of diversity and affirmative action.

Engage in short-term and long-term strategic planning:

— Define aims;

— Identify the applicable barriers to equal employment opportunity;

— Make a road map for implementing the plan.

Establish a communication network notifying interested persons of opportunities, including advertising within the organization and, where applicable, not only with the general media, but with minority, persons with disabilities, older persons, and women-focused media.

Communicate the competencies, skills, and abilities required.

Provide for succession planning.

Build talent pools.

Develop career plans and programs for high potential employees.

Provide sufficient training and opportunities for additional education.

Ensure that tools for continuous learning and optimum job performance are available.

Provide tools to enable employees to self-manage careers.

Provide job transfer/rotation programs for career enhancing developmental experiences.

Provide employee resource centers, so individuals may have more opportunities to develop career plans.

Establish mentoring and networking programs and systems to help develop high potential individuals.


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Eliminate practices which exclude or present barriers to minorities, women, persons with disabilities, older persons, or any individuals.

Ensure that personnel involved in the promotion and advancement process are well trained in their equal employment opportunity responsibilities.

Include progress in equal employment opportunity in advancement and promotion as factors in management evaluation.

SOURCE: EEOC, “Best Practices of Private Sector Employees,” 2013 (

The Glass Ceiling The “glass ceiling” is a term used to characterize strong but invisible barriers to promotion in the organization, particularly to the highest levels, for women and minorities. Evidence demonstrating the existence of a glass ceiling is substantial. The overall labor force is 74% white and 54% male. At the very top in large corporations, senior-level managers are overwhelmingly white males. As one goes down the hierarchy and across industries, a more mixed pattern of data emerges. EEOC data show that nationwide the percentage of women who are officials and managers has increased to over 36.4%. In some industries, particularly health care, retail, legal services, and banking, the percentage of women managers is substantially higher. Women account for over 51% of employees in management, professional, and related occupations. In other industries, such as manufacturing, trucking, and architectural/engineering services, the percentage of women managers is much lower (13%–18%).22 An important study of women’s representation in the corporate pipeline across 118 diverse companies found that their representation decreased as follows: entry-level professional (43%), manager (37%), senior manager/director (32%), vice president (27%), senior vice president (23%), C-suite (17%). Moreover, women’s expected representation at each level was 15% lower than that of men, suggesting broad promotion barriers.23

Unfortunately, similar kinds of data for minorities are not available, though few doubt a general underrepresentation of minorities in managerial roles as well. Thus, the closer to the top of the hierarchy, the thicker the glass in the ceiling. At lower levels, the glass becomes much thinner. Across industries, there are substantial variations in this pattern.


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Where glass ceilings exist, two important questions should be asked: What are the reasons for a lack of upward mobility and representation for minorities and women at higher levels of the organization? What changes need to be made, especially staffing-related ones, to help shatter the glass ceiling?

Barriers to Mobility An obvious conclusion from such data is that there are barriers to mobility, many of which originate from within the organization. The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission conducted a four-year study of glass ceilings and barriers to mobility. It identified many barriers: lack of outreach recruitment practices, lack of mentoring training in revenue-generating areas, lack of access to critical developmental assignments, initial selection for jobs in staff areas outside the upward pipeline to top jobs, biased performance ratings, little access to informal networks, and harassment by colleagues.24 Added to this list should be another important barrier, namely, child rearing and domestic responsibilities that create difficult work/life balance choices.

The study mentioned above of women in corporate pipelines in 118 companies looked at representation in line roles (positions focused on core operations and with profit and loss responsibility) and staff roles (support positions for line management, such as legal, accounting, human resources, and IT). Going up the hierarchy, women increasingly held staff roles, while men did not. Since promotion to senior- level line positions usually requires line experience, women’s chances of advancement to senior line roles lessened. This finding is consistent with the findings of the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, and it highlights the critical importance of line role experience for advancement to top leadership positions.25

Other causal factors for advancement disparities also were found. These included somewhat less desire by women for a top job (especially due to stress/pressure of the role, and lack of interest in the role); women’s perceptions that they have fewer opportunities than men and that their gender has inhibited their advancement success so far; a belief that gender diversity is not a priority for their CEO or direct manager; low participation in work flexibility (e.g., part-time schedule, family leave), professional development (e.g., coaching sessions, executive training), and family- oriented flexibility programs (e.g., maternity leave) due partly to fear of being penalized for using the program; uneven distribution of household/child care chores; and fewer men in women’s professional networks.

Overcoming Barriers


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It is generally recognized that multiple actions, many of them beyond just staffing-system changes, will be needed to overcome barriers to mobility. Exhibit 6.10 shows a suggested listing of such actions. They include both recruitment and other actions.


In terms of specific recruitment practices that may help eliminate the glass ceiling, we offer the following suggestions. Begin with the creation or clarification of mobility paths, particularly alternative paths that will facilitate a free-flow of people to jobs and upward movement. Clearly show upward paths to top management positions, and communicate these paths to everyone. Then, develop and communicate mobility policies that will foster and encourage upward mobility, accompanied by important KSAOs for that mobility. For those KSAOs, pay particular attention to job performance, specific job/project experiences, and training or development experiences. This will help keep the focus on job-related criteria for advancement. The mobility policies and criteria should then be linked in with replacement and succession planning, allowing for identifying candidates for promotion well in advance, creating gender-balanced pools for candidate promotion, identifying training and experience deficiencies that might be holding back women or minorities, and planning appropriate remedies (such as through a career development center). Finally, use recruitment strategy and plans that emphasize broad-based scanning for, and communication with, potential candidates. Recruit through both hierarchical and alternative career paths.

An example of a far-reaching diversity initiative to expand the internal diversity pipeline is the Championing Change for Women: An Integrated Strategy program at Safeway, a retail grocery giant. A focal point is the Retail Leadership Development (RLD) program, a formal full-time career development program for entry-level grocery store employees to prepare them for moving up into the management ranks (90% of store managers and above come through the program). The program has a particular focus on women and people of color. Employees apply for the program by taking a retail knowledge and skill exam. Those who complete the program are immediately assigned to a store as an assistant manager— the stepping stone to further advancement. To support the advancement program, all managers attend a managing diversity workshop, receive


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additional on-the-job education, and have access to a toolkit to help them incorporate diversity discussions into their staff meetings. Managers are evaluated in part on their success in meeting diversity goals, and bonus money is riding on that success. Every manager is also expected to serve as a mentor, helping his or her protégés acquire the KSAOs necessary for continued advancement. Other elements of the program include strong support and participation from the CFO and from women’s leadership network groups (for black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] employees), modification of a requirement to relocate in order to gain experience, and work/life balance initiatives for employees with and without children. Since the program was initiated, the number of women who qualified for and completed the RLD program has risen 37%, and the number of women store managers has increased by 42% (31% for white women and 92% for women of color).26

In summary, solutions to the glass ceiling problem require myriad points of attack. First, women and minorities must have visibility and support at top levels—from the board of directors, the CEO, and senior management. That support must include actions to eliminate prejudice and stereotypes. Second, women and minorities must be provided with job opportunities and assignments that will allow them to develop the depth and breadth of KSAOs needed for ascension to, and success in, top management positions. These developmental experiences include assignments in multiple functions, management of diverse businesses, line management experience with direct profit-loss and bottom-line accountability, diverse geographic assignments, and international experience. Naturally, the relative importance of these experiences will vary according to the type and size of the organization. Third, the organization must provide continual support for women and minorities to help ensure positive person/job matches. Included here are mentoring, training, and flexible work-hour systems. Fourth, the organization must gear up its internal recruitment to aggressively and openly track and recruit women and minority candidates for advancement. Finally, the organization must develop and use valid methods of assessing the qualifications of women and minority candidates (see Chapters 8 and 9).27

SUMMARY The steps involved in the internal recruitment process—planning, strategy development, and communication—closely parallel those in the external recruitment process. With internal recruitment, the search is conducted inside rather than outside the organization. In situations where both internal and external searches are conducted, they need to be coordinated with each other.


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The planning stage requires that the applicant population be identified. The process begins by understanding strategic recruitment goals. Next, an understanding of mobility paths in the organization and mobility path policies is a vital part of deciding how to implement internal recruitment. To access the internal applicant population, attention must be devoted in advance of the search to the number and types of contacts, the budget, development of a recruitment guide, and timing. Understanding applicant reactions to internal recruitment policies is also crucial for developing effective systems.

When searching for candidates, the message to be communicated can be realistic, targeted, or branded. Which approach is best depends on the applicants, job, and organization. The message is usually communicated with a job posting. It should, however, be supplemented with other media, including input from potential peers and supervisors. Informal communication methods with information that cannot be verified or that is incomplete are to be discouraged.

There are a variety of internal methods for taking applications in the strategy implementation phase. These include posting information about jobs on the company intranet and career development centers with interest inventories and counseling staff. Just as with external recruitment, multiple criteria must be considered in choosing internal sources.

The organization needs to provide the applicant with assistance for the transition to selection. This assistance requires that the applicant be made fully aware of the selection process and how to best prepare for it. Taking this step, along with providing well-developed job postings and clearly articulated mobility paths and policies in the organization, should help applicants see the internal recruitment system as fair.

Internal recruitment activities have long been the object of close legal scrutiny. Past and current regulations make several suggestions regarding desirable promotion system features. The relevant laws permit bona fide seniority systems, as long as they are not intentionally used to discriminate. Seniority systems may have the effect of impeding promotions for women and minorities because these groups have not had the opportunity to accumulate an equivalent amount of seniority as compared with that of white males. The glass ceiling refers to invisible barriers to upward advancement, especially to the top levels, for minorities and women. Studies of promotion systems indicate that internal recruitment practices contribute to this barrier. As part of an overall strategy to shatter the glass ceiling, changes are now being experimented with for opening up internal recruitment. These include actions to eliminate stereotypes and prejudices, training and developmental experiences, mentoring, aggressive recruitment, and use of valid selection techniques.


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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Traditional career paths emphasize strict upward mobility within an

organization. How does mobility differ in organizations with innovative career paths? List three innovative career paths discussed in this chapter and describe how mobility occurs in each.

2. A sound promotion policy is important. List the characteristics necessary for an effective promotion policy.

3. Compare and contrast a closed internal recruitment system with an open internal recruitment system.

4. What information should be included in the targeted internal communication message?

5. Exhibit 6.10 contains many suggestions for improving the advancement of women and minorities. Choose the three suggestions you think are most important and explain why.

ETHICAL ISSUES 1. MDN, Inc., is considering two employees for the job of senior

manager. An internal candidate, Julie, has been with MDN for 12 years and has received very good performance evaluations. The other candidate, Raoul, works for a competitor and has valuable experience in the product market into which MDN wishes to expand. Do you think MDN has an obligation to promote Julie? Why or why not?

2. Do organizations have an ethical obligation to have a succession plan in place? If no, why not? If so, what is the ethical obligation, and to whom is it owed?


Recruitment in a Changing Internal Labor Market

Mitchell Shipping Lines is a distributor of goods on the Great Lakes. It also manufactures shipping containers used to store the goods while in transit. The subsidiary that manufactures these containers is Mitchell-Cole Manufacturing, and the president and CEO is Zoe Brausch.

Brausch is in the middle of converting the manufacturing system from an assembly line to autonomous work teams. Each team will be responsible for producing a separate type of container and will have different tools, machinery, and manufacturing routines for its particular type of container. Members of each team will have the job title “assembler,” and each team will be headed by a leader. Brausch would like all leaders to


come from the ranks of current employees, in terms of both the initial set of leaders and the leaders in the future as vacancies arise. In addition, she wants to discourage employee movement across teams in order to build team identity and cohesion. The current internal labor market, however, presents a formidable potential obstacle to her internal staffing goals.

In the long history of the container manufacturing facility, employees have always been treated like union employees even though the facility is nonunion. Such treatment was desired many years ago as a strategy to remain nonunion. It was management’s belief that if employees were treated like union employees, they would have no need to vote for a union. A cornerstone of the strategy is use of what everyone in the facility calls the “blue book.” The blue book looks like a typical labor contract, and it spells out all terms and conditions of employment. Many of those terms apply to internal staffing and are typical of traditional mobility systems found in unionized work settings. Specifically, internal transfers and promotions are governed by a facility-wide job posting system. A vacancy is posted throughout the facility and remains open for 30 days; identified entry-level jobs that are filled only externally is an exception here. Any employee with two or more years of seniority is eligible to bid for any posted vacancy; employees with less seniority may also bid, but they are considered only when no two-year-plus employees apply or are chosen. Internal applicants are assessed by the hiring manager and a representative from the HR department. They review applicants’ seniority, relevant experience, past performance appraisals, and other special KSAOs. The blue book requires that the most senior employee who meets the desired qualifications receive the transfer or promotion. Thus, seniority is weighted heavily in the decision.

Brausch is worried about the current internal labor market, especially for recruitment and choosing team leaders. These leaders will likely be required to have many KSAOs that are more important than seniority, and KSAOs likely to not even be positively related to seniority. For example, team leaders will need to have advanced computer, communication, and interpersonal skills. Brausch thinks that these skills will be critical for team leaders and that they will more likely be found among junior rather than senior employees. Brausch is in a quandary. She asks for your responses to the following questions:

1. Should seniority be eliminated as an eligibility standard for bidding on jobs—meaning the two-year-plus employees would no longer have priority?

2. Should the job posting system simply be eliminated? If so, what should replace it?


page 304 3. Should a strict promotion-from-within policy be maintained? Why or

why not? 4. How can career mobility paths be developed that would allow across-

team movement without threatening team identity and cohesion? 5. If a new internal labor market system is to be put in place, how should

it be communicated to employees?

Succession Planning for a CEO Lone Star Bank, based in Amarillo, is the fourth-largest bank in Texas. Its leader, Harry “Tex” Ritter, has been with the company for 30 years, the last 12 in his current position as president and CEO. The last three years have been difficult for Lone Star, as earnings have been below average for the industry, and shareholders have grown increasingly impatient. Last month’s quarterly earnings report was the proverbial last straw for the board. Particularly troublesome was Ritter’s failure to invest enough of Lone Star’s assets in higher-yielding investments. Though banks are carefully regulated in terms of their investment strategies, Ritter’s investment strategy was conservative even for a bank.

In a meeting last week, the board decided to allow Ritter to serve out the last year of his contract and then replace him. An attractive severance package was hastily put together; when it was presented to Ritter, he agreed to its terms and conditions. Although the board feels it has made a positive step, it is unsure how to identify a successor. When the board members met with Ritter, he indicated that he thought the bank’s senior vice president of operations, Bob Bowers, would be an able successor. Some members of the board think they should follow Ritter’s suggestion because he knows the inner workings of the bank better than anyone on the board. Others are not sure what to do.

1. How should Lone Star go about finding a successor to Ritter? Should Bowers be recruited to be the next CEO?

2. How should other internal candidates be identified and recruited? 3. Does Lone Star need a succession plan for the CEO position? If so,

how would you advise the board in setting up such a plan? 4. Should Lone Star have a succession plan in place for other individuals

at the bank? If so, why and for whom?

ENDNOTES   1. BMP Forum and Success Factors, Performance and Talent Management Trend

Survey 2007 (San Mateo, CA: author, 2007).   2. B. L. Connelly, L. Tihanyi, T. R. Crook, and K. A. Gangloff, “Tournament


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Theory: Thirty Years of Contests and Competitions,” Journal of Management, 2014, 40, pp. 16–47.

  3. S. E. Seibert, G. Wang, and S. H. Courtright, “Antecedents and Consequences of Psychological and Team Empowerment in Organizations: A Meta-Analytic Review,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2011, 96, pp. 981–1103; C. Chuang, S. E. Jackson, and Y. Jiang, “Can Knowledge- Intensive Teamwork Be Managed? Examining the Roles of HRM Systems, Leadership, and Tacit Knowledge,” Journal of Management, 2016, 42, pp. 524– 554.

  4. E. C. Dierdorff and E. A. Surface, “If You Pay for Skills, Will They Learn? Skill Change and Maintenance Under a Skill-Based Pay System,” Journal of Management, 2008, 34, pp. 721–743.

  5. J. Gelens, N. Dries, J. Hofmans, and R. Pepermans, “The Role of Perceived Organizational Justice in Shaping the Outcomes of Talent Management: A Research Agenda,” Human Resource Management Review, 2013, 23, pp. 341– 353; J. A. Colquitt, B. A. Scott, J. B. Rodell, D. M. Long, C. P. Zapata, D. E. Conlon, and M. J. Wesson, “Justice at the Millennium, a Decade Later: A Meta- Analytic Test of Social Exchange and Affect-Based Perspectives,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2013, 98, pp. 199–236; A. L. García-Izquierdo, S. Moscoso, and P. J. Ramos-Villagrasa, “Reactions to the Fairness of Promotion Methods: Procedural Justice and Job Satisfaction,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 2012, 20, pp. 394–403.

  6. R. Fisher and R. McPhail, “Internal Labour Markets as a Strategic Tool,” The Service Industries Journal, Oct. 2010, pp. 1–16.

  7. D. G. Collings and K. Mellahi, “Strategic Talent Management: A Review and Research Agenda,” Human Resource Management Review, 2009, 19, pp. 304– 313.

  8. D. K. Ford, D. M. Truxillo, and T. N. Bauer, “Rejected but Still There: Shifting the Focus in Applicant Reactions to the Promotional Context,” International Journal of Selection and Assessment, Dec. 2009, pp. 402–416; J. R. Webster and T. A. Beehr, “Antecedents and Outcomes of Employee Perceptions of Intra- organizational Mobility Channels,” Journal of Organizational Behavior, 2013, 34, pp. 919–941.

  9. US Office of Personnel Management, Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework (Washington, DC: author, 2005); A. Gakovic and K. Yardley, “Global Talent Management at HSBC,” Organization Development Journal, 2007, 25, pp. 201–206; E. Frauenheim, “Talent—Management Keeping Score With HR Analytics Software,” Workforce Management, May 21, 2007, pp. 25–33; K. Oakes, “The Emergence of Talent Management,” T + D, Apr. 2006, pp. 21–24.

10. N. Glube, J. Huxtable, and A. Stanard, “Creating New Temporary Hire Options Through In-House Agencies,” Staffing Management Magazine, June 2002 (

11. L. J. Weiner, “The Temp Staffing Solution That’s Right Under Your Nose,” HealthLeaders Media, May 18, 2015 (; R. Mauer, “Flexible Work Options in Health Care Can Result in a Win-Win,” HR Today, June 19, 2016 (

12. T. W. Fitzsimmons and V. J. Callan, “CEO Selection: A Capital Perspective,” Leadership Quarterly, Oct. 2016, 27, pp. 765–787.

13. R. Hooijberg and N. Lane, “How Boards Botch CEO Succession,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Apr. 21, 2016 (; G. McKee and K.


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Froelich, “Executive Succession Planning: Barriers and Substitutes in Nonprofit Organizations,” Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 2016, 87, pp. 587–610.

14. National Association of Corporate Directors, The Role of the Board in Corporate Succession (Washington, DC: author, 2006); S. Bates, “Putting a Spotlight on CEO Succession,” HR Magazine, Dec. 2015, pp. 53–56.

15. F. Anseel and F. Lievens, “An Examination of Strategies for Encouraging Feedback Interest After Career Assessment,” Journal of Career Development, 2007, 33, pp. 250–268; T. F. Harrington and T. A. Harrigan, “Practice and Research in Career Counseling and Development—2005,” Career Development Quarterly, 2006, 55, pp. 98–167.

16. T. Minton-Eversole, “Continuous Learning—in Many Forms— Remains Top Recruitment, Retention Tool,” SHRM Online Recruitment & Staffing Focus Area, Feb. 2006 (; Society for Human Resource Management, 2007 Job Satisfaction (Alexandria, VA: author, 2007).

17. I. Speizer, “The State of Training and Development: More Spending, More Scrutiny,” Workforce Management, May 22, 2006, pp. 25–26.

18. R. Maurer, “Internal Recruitment Critical to Hiring, Retention: But Few Companies Have Formal Programs,” SHRM, Dec. 2, 2015 ( recruitment-critical-hiring-retention.aspx).

19. H. Monarth, “Evaluate Your Leadership Development Program,” Harvard Business Review, Jan. 22, 2015, pp. 2–4; R. Ashkenas and R. Hausmann, “Leadership Development Should Focus on Experiments,” Harvard Business Review, Apr. 12, 2016, pp. 2–4.

20. D. J. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, 2nd ed. (Mason, OH: Thomson Higher Education, 2007), p. 207.

21. Bureau of National Affairs, Fair Employment Practices (Arlington, VA: author, 2007), sec. 421:161–166.

22. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Glass Ceilings: The Status of Women as Officials and Managers in the Private Sector (Washington, DC: author, 2004).

23. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey, “Women in the Workplace,” McKinsey&Company, Sept. 2015 (, accessed Jan. 22, 2016.

24. Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, “Good for Business: Making Full Use of the Nation’s Human Capital—Fact-Finding Report of the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission,” Daily Labor Report, Bureau of National Affairs, Mar. 17, 1995, Special Supplement, p. S6.

25. J. Green, “This Is Not a Trend,” Bloomberg Business Week, Sept. 1, 2014, pp. 19–20.

26. A. Pomeroy, “Cultivating Female Leaders,” HR Magazine, Feb. 2007, pp. 44–50. 27. K. L. Lyness and D. E. Thompson, “Climbing the Corporate Ladder: Do Male

and Female Executives Follow the Same Route?” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2000, 85, pp. 86–101; S. J. Wells, “A Female Executive Is Hard to Find,” HR Magazine, June 2001, pp. 40–49; S. J. Wells, “Smoothing the Way,” HR Magazine, June 2001, pp. 52–58; S. Shellenbarger, “The XX Factor: What’s Holding Women Back?” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2012, pp. B7–B12; D. J. Walsh, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, 5th ed. (Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016), pp. 250–255.


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The Staffing Organizations Model


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Staffing Activities: Selection


CHAPTER EIGHT External Selection I

CHAPTER NINE External Selection II

CHAPTER TEN Internal Selection


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Learning Objectives and Introduction Learning Objectives Introduction

Importance and Use of Measures

Key Concepts Measurement Scores Correlation Between Scores

Quality of Measures Reliability of Measures Validity of Measures Validation of Measures in Staffing Validity Generalization Staffing Metrics and Benchmarks

Collection of Assessment Data Testing Procedures Acquisition of Tests and Test Manuals Professional Standards

Legal Issues Determining Adverse Impact Standardization Best Practices


Discussion Questions


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Ethical Issues

Applications Evaluation of Two New Assessment Methods for

Selecting Telephone Customer Service Representatives Conducting Empirical Validation and Adverse Impact




Learning Objectives

Define validity and consider the relationship between reliability and validity Compare and contrast the two types of validation studies that are typically conducted Consider how validity generalization affects and informs validation of measures in staffing Review the primary ways assessment data can be collected

Introduction In staffing, measurement is a process used to gather and express information about people and jobs in numerical form. Measurement is critical to staffing because, as far as selection decisions are concerned, a selection decision can only be as effective as the measures on which it is based.

The first part of this chapter presents the process of measurement in staffing decisions. After showing the vital importance and uses of measurement in staffing activities, the chapter then discusses three key concepts. The first concept is that of measurement itself, along with the issues raised by it—standardization of measurement, levels of measurement, and the difference between objective and subjective measures. The second concept is that of scoring and how to express scores in ways that help facilitate their interpretation. The final concept is that of correlations between scores, particularly as expressed by the correlation coefficient and its significance. Calculating correlations between scores is a very useful way to learn even more about the meaning of scores.

What is the quality of the measures used in staffing? How sound are they


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as indicators of the attributes being measured? Answers to these questions lie in the reliability and validity of the measures and the scores they yield. There are multiple ways of doing reliability and validity analysis; these methods are discussed in conjunction with numerous examples drawn from staffing situations. As these examples show, the quality of staffing decisions (e.g., who to hire or reject) depends heavily on the quality of measures and scores used as inputs to these decisions. Some organizations rely only on common staffing metrics and benchmarks—what leading organizations are doing—to measure effectiveness. Though benchmarks have their value, reliability and validity are the real keys in assessing the quality of selection measures.

An important practical concern involved in the process of measurement is the collection of assessment data. Decisions about testing procedures (who is qualified to test applicants, what information should be disclosed to applicants, and how to assess applicants with standardized procedures) need to be made. The collection of assessment data also includes the acquisition of tests and test manuals. This process will vary depending on whether paper-and-pencil or computerized selection measures are used. Finally, in the collection of assessment data, organizations need to attend to professional standards that govern proper use of the data.

Measurement concepts and procedures are directly involved in legal issues, particularly equal employment opportunity and affirmative action (EEO/AA) issues. This requires collection and analysis of applicant flow and stock statistics. Also reviewed are methods for determining adverse impact, standardization of measures, and best practices as suggested by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

IMPORTANCE AND USE OF MEASURES Measurement is one of the key ingredients for, and tools of, staffing organizations. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to have any type of systematic staffing process that does not use measures and an accompanying measurement process. Furthermore, with the rise of the big-data paradigm, along with “fast data” looming on the horizon, the importance of having large-scale, instantaneous, diverse, and readily available data upon which to make dynamic staffing decisions is becoming more and more salient for organizations.1 Big-data sources such as data obtained through “web scraping” (i.e., mining large amounts of information from websites) and the less widely accessible organization or government agency data repositories are being used more frequently and are poised to change the nature of staffing by catalyzing advancements in adverse impact analyses, leveraging social media for diversity in recruitment initiatives and other staffing


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processes, and mining internal databases to identify star employees as candidates for promotion.2 Despite the explosion of interest surrounding this topic, many critics note that most HR professionals do not understand big data and that proponents of big data have for the most part failed to connect these approaches to increasing the bottom line. Dan Ariely likened big data to young romance, noting that “everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”3 Regardless, big data and HR analytics are important signs of the times that hold clear implications for measurement processes and quality.

Measures are methods or techniques for describing and assessing attributes that are of concern to us. Examples include tests of applicants’ knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics (KSAOs) such as personality; evaluations of employees’ job performance; and applicants’ ratings of their preferences for various types of job rewards. These assessments of attributes are gathered through the measurement process, which consists of (1) choosing an attribute of concern, (2) developing an operational definition of the attribute, (3) constructing a measure of the attribute (if no suitable measure is available) as it is operationally defined, and (4) using the measure to actually gauge the attribute.

The goal of the measurement process is to produce a number or score for a given attribute, which can then be used to differentiate individuals and make decisions about them. For example, applicants’ scores on an ability test, employees’ performance evaluation rating scores, and applicants’ ratings of rewards in terms of their importance become indicators of the attribute. Information about these attributes is then used to make decisions about who to hire, who to promote, and how to reward an employee for good performance. Thus, through the measurement process, the initial attribute and its operational definition are transformed into a numerical expression of the attribute.

KEY CONCEPTS This section covers a series of key concepts in three major areas: measurement, scores, and correlation between scores.

Measurement In the preceding discussion, the essence of measurement and its importance and use in staffing were described. It is important to define the term “measurement” more formally and explore implications of that definition.


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Definition Measurement may be defined as the process of assigning numbers to objects to represent quantities of an attribute of the objects.4 Exhibit 7.1 depicts the general process of the use of measures in staffing, along with an example for the job of information technology analyst. The first step in measurement is to choose and define an attribute (also called a construct) to be measured. In the example, this is knowledge of programming languages. Then, a measure must be developed for the attribute so that it can be physically measured. In the example, a paper-and-pencil test is developed to measure programming knowledge, and this test is administered to applicants. Once the attribute is physically measured, numbers or scores are determined (in the example, the programming knowledge test is scored). At that point, the applicants’ scores are evaluated (which scores meet the job requirements) and a selection decision can be made (e.g., hire an information technology analyst).

Of course, in practice, this textbook process is often not followed explicitly, and thus selection errors are more likely. For example, if the methods used to determine scores on an attribute are not explicitly determined and evaluated, the scores themselves may be incorrect. Similarly, if the evaluation of the scores is not systematic, each selection decision maker may put his or her own spin on the scores, thereby defeating the purpose of careful measurement. The best way to avoid these problems is for all those involved in selection decisions to go through each step of the measurement process depicted in Exhibit 7.1, apply it to the job(s) in question, and reach agreement at each step of the way.

EXHIBIT 7.1 Use of Measures in Staffing


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Standardization The hallmark of sound measurement practice is standardization.5 Standardization is a means of controlling the influence of outside or extraneous factors on the scores generated by the measure and ensuring that, as much as possible, the scores obtained reflect the attribute measured.

A standardized measure has three basic properties:

1. The content is identical for all objects measured (e.g., all job applicants take the same test).

2. The administration of the measure is identical for all objects (e.g., all job applicants have the same time limit on a test).

3. The rules for assigning numbers are clearly specified and agreed on in advance (e.g., a scoring key for the test is developed before it is administered).

These seemingly simple and straightforward characteristics of standardization of measures have substantial implications for the conduct of many staffing activities. These implications will become apparent throughout the remainder of this text. For example, assessment devices, such


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as the employment interview and letters of reference, often fail to meet the requirements for standardization, and organizations must undertake steps to make them more standardized.

Levels of Measurement There are varying degrees of precision in measuring attributes and in representing differences among object attributes. Accordingly, there are different levels or scales of measurement.6 It is common to classify any measure as falling into one of four levels of measurement: nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio.

Nominal. With nominal scales, a given attribute is categorized, and numbers are assigned to the categories. With or without numbers, however, there is no order or level implied among the categories. The categories are merely different, and none is higher or lower than the others. For example, each job title could represent a different category, with a different number assigned to it: customer service = 1, clerical = 2, sales = 3, and so forth. Clearly, the numbers do not imply any ordering among the categories (sales is not “better” or “worse” than clerical).

Ordinal. With ordinal scales, objects are rank ordered according to how much of the attribute they possess. Thus, objects may be ranked from best to worst or from highest to lowest. For example, five job candidates, each of whom has been evaluated in terms of overall qualification for the job, might be rank ordered from 1 to 5, or highest to lowest, according to their job qualifications.

Though useful for making clear distinctions between objects, rank orderings represent only relative differences among objects; they do not indicate the absolute levels of the attribute. Thus, the rank ordering of the five job candidates does not indicate exactly how qualified each of them is for the job, nor are the differences in their ranks necessarily equal to the differences in their qualifications. The differences in qualifications between applicants ranked 1 and 2 may not be the same as the differences between those ranked 4 and 5. Moreover, forcing objects to be ranked creates the appearance that the differences between two objects (e.g., between applicant 1 and applicant 2) are “real” and significant, when in fact those differences may be trivial. A good example of this is annual rankings of business schools, where a switch from second to first place (and vice versa) is touted as noteworthy, when in fact the differences between the two schools are probably not meaningful.7

Interval. Like ordinal scales, interval scales allow us to rank


order objects. However, the differences between adjacent points on the measurement scale are now equal in terms of the attribute. If an interval scale is used to rank order the five job candidates, the differences in qualifications between those ranked 1 and 2 are equal to the differences between those ranked 4 and 5.

In many instances, the level of measurement falls somewhere between an ordinal scale and an interval scale. That is, objects can be clearly rank ordered, but the differences between the ranks are not necessarily equal throughout the measurement scale. In the example of the five job candidates, the differences in qualifications between those ranked 1 and 2 might be slight compared with the differences between those ranked 4 and 5.

Unfortunately, this in-between level of measurement is characteristic of many of the measures used in staffing. Though it is not a major problem, it does signal the need for caution in interpreting the meaning of differences in scores among people.

Ratio. Like interval scales, ratio scales have equal differences between scale points for the attribute being measured. In addition, ratio scales have a logical or absolute true zero point. Because of this, how much of the attribute each object possesses can be stated in absolute terms.

Normally, ratio scales are involved in counting or weighing things. Examples of ratio scales abound in staffing measurement, including the assessment of how much weight a candidate can carry over some distance for physically demanding jobs such as firefighting or general construction. Perhaps the most common example is counting the years of job experience that job candidates have, where zero is a meaningful number (indicating no job experience).

Objective and Subjective Measures Frequently, staffing measures are described as either objective or subjective. The term “subjective” is often used in disparaging ways (“I can’t believe how subjective that interview was; there’s no way they can rate me fairly on the basis of it”). Exactly what is the difference between so-called objective and subjective measures?

The difference, in large part, pertains to the rules used to assign numbers to the attribute being assessed. With objective measures, the rules are predetermined and usually communicated and applied through some sort of scoring key or system. For example, consider a basketball game, where the total points a team receives is an objective measure. In employment contexts, most paper-and-pencil tests are considered objective. The scoring systems in subjective measures are more elusive and often involve a rater or judge who assigns the numbers. For example, consider a gymnastics


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competition, where the total points a team receives is a more subjective measure, depending on how the gymnasts are rated by each judge. In employment contexts, many employment interviews fall into this category, especially those wherein the interviewer has an idiosyncratic way of evaluating people’s responses, one that is not known or shared by other interviewers.

In principle, any attribute can be measured objectively or subjectively, and sometimes both are used. Research shows that when an attribute is measured by both objective and subjective means, there is often relatively low agreement between scores from the two types of measures. A case in point pertains to the attribute of job performance. Performance may be measured objectively through quantity of output, and it may be measured subjectively through performance appraisal ratings, yet these two types of measures correlate only weakly with each other.8 Undoubtedly, the raters’ lack of sound scoring systems for rating job performance is a major contributor to the lack of obtained agreement. Furthermore, the use of subjective measures for performance has been subject to much dialogue and scrutiny, given the effects of rater liking and other types of biases.9 Various forms of rater training, including ensuring that all raters adopt the same “frame of reference” prior to undertaking ratings, have shown promise in ameliorating these issues.10

It appears that whatever type of measure is used to assess attributes in staffing, serious attention should be paid to the scoring system or key. In a sense, this requires nothing more than having a firm knowledge of exactly what the organization is trying to measure. This is true for both paper-and- pencil (objective) measures and judgmental (subjective) measures, such as the employment interview. It is simply another way of emphasizing the importance of standardization in measurement.

Scores Measures yield numbers or scores to represent the amount of the attribute being assessed. Scores are thus the numerical indicator of the attribute. Once scores have been derived, they can be manipulated in various ways to give them even greater meaning and to better describe characteristics of the objects being scored.11

Central Tendency and Variability Assume that a group of job applicants were administered a test of their knowledge of programming languages. The test is scored using a scoring key, and each applicant receives a score, known as a raw score. These are shown in Exhibit 7.2.


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Some features of this set of scores may be summarized through the calculation of summary statistics. These pertain to central tendency and variability in the scores and are also shown in Exhibit 7.2.

The indicators of central tendency are the mean, the median, and the mode. Since it was assumed that the data are interval-level data, it is permissible to compute all three indicators of central tendency. Had the data been ordinal, the mean should not be computed. For nominal data, only the mode would be appropriate. This is because it does not make sense to compute the average of the number of customer service employees (assigned the number “1”) and clerical employees (assigned the number “2”)—only the most frequently occurring category is useful information.

EXHIBIT 7.2 Central Tendency and Variability: Summary Statistics

The variability indicators consist of the range and the standard deviation. The range shows the lowest to highest actual scores for the job applicants.


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The standard deviation shows, in essence, the average amount of deviation of individual scores from the average score. It summarizes the amount of spread in the scores. The larger the standard deviation, the greater the variability, or spread, in the data.

Percentiles A percentile score for an individual is the percentage of people scoring below the individual in a distribution of scores. Refer to the “Data” columns in Exhibit 7.2 (where the applicants are ranked by test score from smallest to largest) and consider applicant B. That applicant’s percentile score is in the 10th percentile, given that he or she had the second-lowest score of all applicants (2/20 × 100); this means that 90% of the applicants scored better than applicant B. Applicant R is in the 90th percentile (18/20 × 100), meaning that only 10% of the applicants scored better than applicant R.

Standard Scores When interpreting scores, it is natural to compare individuals’ raw scores with the mean, that is, to ask whether scores are above, at, or below the mean. However, a true understanding of how well an individual did relative to the mean takes into account the amount of variability in scores around the mean (the standard deviation). That is, the calculation must be “corrected” or controlled for the amount of variability in a score distribution to accurately present how well a person scored relative to the mean. Calculation of the standard score for an individual is the way to accomplish this correction. The standard score thus answers the question, “How many standard deviations above or below the mean did a given person score?”

The formula for calculating the standard score, or Z, is as follows:

Applicant S in Exhibit 7.2 had a raw score of 23 on the test; the mean is 16.9 and the standard deviation is 3.52. Plugging the data into the above formula, applicant S has a Z score of 1.7. Thus, applicant S scored about 1.7 standard deviations above the mean.

Standard scores are also useful for determining how a person performed, in a relative sense, on two or more tests. For example, assume the following data for a particular applicant:

Test 1 Test 2


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Raw score 50 48 Mean 48 46 SD 2.5 .80

On which test did the applicant do better? To answer this question, simply calculate the applicant’s standard scores on the two tests. The Z score on test 1 is .80, and the Z score on test 2 is 2.5. Thus, while the applicant got a higher raw score on test 1 than on test 2, the applicant got a higher Z score on test 2 than on test 1. Viewed in this way, it is apparent that the applicant did better on test 2, relatively speaking.

It should now be apparent that a person with a Z score of 0 scored at the mean. But what is a “high” Z score? What is a “low” Z score? When scores are normally distributed (with the mean, median, and mode all the same), the data for applicants resemble a bell curve (half the people scored above the mean, and half scored below the mean). In this case, a Z score of +1.0 means that the applicant scored in the 84th percentile (at −1.0, the applicant scored in the 16th percentile). A Z score of +2.0 means that the applicant scored in the 98th percentile (at −2.0, the applicant scored in the 2nd percentile). Thus, scoring even one standard deviation above the mean is a relatively high score.

Correlation Between Scores Frequently in staffing there are scores on two or more measures for a group of individuals. One common occurrence is to have scores on two (or often, more than two) KSAO measures. For example, there could be a score on the test of knowledge of programming languages and also an overall rating of the applicant’s probable job success based on the employment interview. In such instances, it is logical to ask whether the two sets of scores are related. Does an increase in knowledge test scores tend to be accompanied by an increase in interview ratings? Put more simply, is there a relationship between the two measures?

As another example, an organization may have scores on a particular KSAO measure (e.g., the knowledge test) and on a measure of job performance (e.g., performance appraisal ratings) for a group of individuals. Is there a correlation between these two sets of scores? In other words, does knowing an individual’s score on the knowledge test tell you something about his or her likely job performance? If it does, this would provide some evidence about the probable validity of the knowledge test as a predictor of job performance. This evidence would help the organization decide whether to incorporate the use of the test into the selection process for job applicants.

Investigation of the relationship between two sets of scores proceeds through the plotting of scatter diagrams and through calculation of the


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correlation coefficient.

Scatter Diagrams Assume two sets of scores for a group of people—scores on a test and scores on a measure of job performance. A scatter diagram is simply the plot of the joint distribution of the two sets of scores. Inspection of the plot provides a visual representation of the type of relationship that exists between the two sets of scores. Exhibit 7.3 provides three different scatter diagrams for the two sets of scores. Each X represents a test score (predictor) and job performance (criterion, or outcome) score combination for an individual.

Example A in Exhibit 7.3 suggests very little relationship between the two sets of scores. Example B shows a modest relationship between the scores, and example C shows a somewhat strong relationship between the two sets of scores.

Correlation Coefficient The relationship between two sets of scores may also be represented numerically through calculation of the correlation coefficient. The symbol for the correlation coefficient is r. Numerically, r values can range from r = −1.0 to r = 1.0. An r value of 0 indicates there is no relationship between the two sets of scores. The larger the absolute value of r, the stronger the relationship. So, r = −.55 is stronger in magnitude than r = .30. When an r value is shown without a sign (plus or minus), the value is assumed to be positive.

EXHIBIT 7.3 Scatter Diagrams and Corresponding Correlations


page 324The sign of the correlation coefficient is arbitrary. One could say that job satisfaction is positively related to job performance


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(a positive r), just as one could say that job dissatisfaction is negatively related to job performance (a negative r). Thus, whether r is positive or negative simply depends on how the relationship is worded or considered (and how the measures are scored).

Naturally, the value of r bears a close resemblance to the relationship shown in the scatter diagram. To demonstrate this, Exhibit 7.3 also shows the approximate r value for each of the three scatter diagrams. The r in example A is low (r = .10), the r in example B is moderate (r = .25), and the r in example C is high (r = .60).

Calculation of the correlation coefficient is straightforward, even by hand. An example of this calculation and the formula for r are shown in Exhibit 7.4. In the exhibit there are two sets of scores for 20 people. The first set is the test scores for the 20 individuals in Exhibit 7.2. The second set of scores is an overall job performance rating (on a 1–5 rating scale) for these people. As can be seen from the calculation, there is a correlation of r = .58 between the two sets of scores. The resultant value of r succinctly summarizes both the strength of the relationship between the two sets of scores and the direction of the relationship.

While the formula for the correlation is good to know, correlations are easily calculated by a variety of computer programs, including Microsoft Excel. With Excel, scores on each variable are placed in adjacent columns, and Excel’s correlate function “(=Correl)” calculates r.

Despite the simplicity of its calculation, there are several notes of caution regarding the correlation. First, the correlation does not connote a proportion or percentage. An r = .50 between variables X and Y does not mean that X is 50% of Y or that Y can be predicted from X with 50% accuracy. However, if the value of r is squared (r × r, or r2), then that squared value represents the percentage of common variation in the X and Y scores. Thus, one could interpret r = .50 as indicating that the two variables share 25% (.52 × 100) common variation in their scores. As an example, if X was a test of intelligence and Y was a measure of job performance, then one could say that, of all the reasons why individuals’ job performance scores differ, intelligence explains 25% of those differences (hence leaving 75% unexplained and due to other factors).

Second, the value of r is affected by the amount of variation in each set of scores. Other things being equal, the less variation there is in one or both sets of scores, the smaller the calculated value of r will be. At the extreme, if one set of scores has no variation, the correlation will be r = .00 (technically, it is undefined). That is, for there to be a correlation, there must be variation in both sets of scores. The lack of variation in scores is called the problem of restriction of range.


EXHIBIT 7.4 Calculation of Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient

Third, the formula used to calculate the correlation in Exhibit 7.4 is based on the assumption that there is a linear relationship between the two sets of scores. This may not always be a good assumption; something other than a straight line may best capture the true nature of the relationship between scores. For example, a new training program may initially be associated with a rapid increase in trainee performance, but repeated exposure to that program may begin to provide diminished returns. To the extent that two sets of scores are not related in a linear fashion, use of the formula for calculating the correlation will yield a value of r that understates the actual strength of the relationship.

Finally, the correlation between two variables does not imply causation between them. A correlation simply states how two variables covary or relate to each other; it says nothing about one variable necessarily causing


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the other one.

Significance of the Correlation Coefficient The statistical significance refers to the likelihood that a correlation exists in a population, based on knowledge of the actual value of r in a sample from that population. Concluding that a correlation is indeed statistically significant means that there is most likely a correlation in the population. That means if the organization were to use a selection measure based on a statistically significant correlation, the correlation is likely to be significant when used again to select another sample (e.g., future job applicants).

More formally, r is calculated in an initial group, called a sample. From this piece of information, the question arises whether to infer that there is also a correlation in the population. For example, one might want to know whether a correlation calculated in a sample of 200 information technology analysts would also be found in the population (all information technology analysts). To answer this, compute the t value of our correlation using the following formula:

where r is the value of the correlation, and n is the size of the sample. A t distribution table, which can be found in any elementary statistics

book as well as online, shows the significance level of r.12 The significance level is expressed as p < some value, for example, p < .05. The p level tells the probability of concluding that there is a correlation in the population when in fact there is not a relationship. Thus, a correlation with p < .05 means there are fewer than 5 chances in 100 of concluding that there is a relationship in the population when in fact there is not. This is a relatively small probability and usually leads to the conclusion that a correlation is indeed statistically significant.

An example might help clarify this idea. Taking our previous example of 200 information technology analysts, let’s say that we found a correlation of r = .20 between a measure of programming language knowledge and job performance. How likely is it that we would obtain a correlation of .20 if the “true” correlation between those variables in the population was actually r = 0? The t value of our correlation would be 2.87, with a p < .05 (actually the p value would be .005). This means that if we took 100 additional different samples of 200 information technology analysts and computed the correlation in each sample, and the true correlation in the population was actually r = 0, we would expect to find a correlation of .20 in only half a


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percent (.005) of those samples. In other words, a correlation of .20 would be extremely rare when the true correlation was actually 0, and so we conclude that the true correlation is not r = 0. The correlation of r = .20 is thus deemed “statistically significant.”

It is important to avoid concluding that there is a relationship in the population when in fact there is not one (consider the ramifications of concluding that a new drug with harmful side effects drastically reduces the risk of cancer, yet in fact the drug does nothing to reduce that risk). Therefore, one usually chooses a fairly conservative or stringent level of significance that the correlation must attain before concluding that it is significant. Typically, a standard of p < .05 or less (another common standard is p < .01) is chosen. The actual significance level (based on the t value for the correlation) is then compared with the desired significance level, and a decision is reached as to whether the correlation is statistically significant. Here are some examples:

Desired Level

Actual Level

Conclusion About Correlation

p < .05 p < .23      Not significan p < .05 p < .02 Significant p < .01 p < .07       Not significant p < .01 p < .009 Significant

Although statistical significance is important in judging the usefulness of a selection measure, caution should be exercised in placing too much weight on this significance. With very large sample sizes, even very small correlations will be significant, and with very small sample sizes, even strong correlations will fail to be significant. The absolute size of the correlation matters as well.

QUALITY OF MEASURES Measures are developed and used to gauge attributes of objects. Results of measures are expressed in the form of scores, and various manipulations may be done to them. Such manipulations lead to better understanding and interpretation of the scores, and thus the attribute represented by the scores.

In staffing, for practical reasons, the scores of individuals are treated as if they were the attribute itself rather than merely indicators of the attribute. For example, scores on a mental ability test (e.g., IQ scores) are interpreted as being synonymous with how intelligent individuals are. Alternatively, individuals’ job performance ratings from their supervisors are viewed as


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indicators of their true performance. Treated in this way, scores become a major input to decision making

about individuals. For example, scores on the mental ability test are used and weighted heavily to decide which job applicants will receive a job offer. Alternatively, performance ratings may serve as a key factor in deciding which individuals will be eligible for an internal staffing move, such as a promotion. In these and numerous other ways, management uses these scores to guide the conduct of staffing activities in the organization.

The quality of the decisions made and the actions taken is unlikely to be any better than the quality of the measures on which they are based. Thus, a lot is at stake in the quality of the measures used in staffing. Such concerns are best viewed in terms of reliability and validity of measures.13

Reliability of Measures Reliability of measurement refers to the consistency of measurement of an attribute.14 A measure is reliable to the extent that it provides a consistent set of scores to represent an attribute. Rarely is perfect reliability achieved, because of the occurrence of measurement error. Reliability is thus a matter of degree.

Reliability of measurement is of concern both within a single time period in which the attribute is being measured and between time periods. Moreover, reliability is of concern for both objective and subjective measures. These two concerns help create a general framework for better understanding reliability.

The key concepts for the framework are shown in Exhibit 7.5. In the exhibit, a single attribute, “A” (e.g., knowledge of programming languages), is being measured. Scores (ranging from 1 to 5) are available for 15 individuals. Attribute A is being measured in time period 1 (T1) and time period 2 (T2). In each time period, attribute A may be measured objectively, with two test items, or subjectively, with two raters. The same two items or raters are used in each time period (in reality, more than two items or raters would probably be used to measure attribute A, but for simplicity only two are used here). Each test item or rater in each time period is a sub-measure of attribute A. There are thus four sub-measures of A—designated X1, X2, Y1, and Y2—as well as a score for each. In terms of reliability of measurement, the concern is with the consistency or similarity in the sets of scores. This requires various comparisons of the scores.

EXHIBIT 7.5 Framework for Reliability of Measures


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NOTE: X1 and X2 are the same test item or rater; Y1 and Y2 are the same test item or rater. The subscript “1” refers to T1, and the subscript “2” refers to T2.

As mentioned earlier, the subjective rater-based form of measurement comes with its own assumptions concerning the raters themselves. It is worth mentioning that miscellaneous, contextual elements might impact the degree of agreement and reliability between raters. Research within the last two decades suggests that agreement is enhanced when raters share the same goals, have common perceptions of the purposes of the appraisal system, have the same frame of reference in evaluating candidates, and have similar relationships with the ratees. On the other hand, differences are likely to arise when there are systematic differences in what was observed (e.g., when raters observe different aspects of a ratee’s behavior, have differential access to information about who is being rated, vary in their expertise in what is being observed, and use different evaluation processes).15 Special care should be taken to account for these issues while designing measurement systems and evaluating interrater agreement or reliability.

Comparisons Within T1 or T2 Consider the four sets of scores as coming from the objective measure,


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which used test items. Comparing sets of scores from these items in either T1 or T2 is called internal consistency reliability. The relevant comparisons are X1 and Y1, and X2 and Y2. It is hoped that the comparisons will show high similarity, because both items are intended to measure attribute A within the same time period.

Now treat the four sets of scores as coming from the subjective measure, which relied on raters. Comparisons of these scores involve what is called interrater reliability. The relevant comparisons are the same as with the objective measure scores, namely, X1 and Y1, and X2 and Y2. Again, it is hoped that there will be high agreement between the raters, because they are focusing on a single attribute at a single moment in time.

Comparisons Between T1 and T2 Comparisons of scores between time periods involve assessment of measurement stability. When scores from an objective measure are used, this is referred to as test–retest reliability. The relevant comparisons are X1 and X2, and Y1 and Y2. To the extent that attribute A is not expected to change between T1 and T2, there should be high test–retest reliability.

When subjective scores are compared between T1 and T2, the concern is with intrarater reliability. Here, the same rater evaluates individuals in terms of attribute A in two different time periods. To the extent that attribute A is not expected to change, there should be high intrarater reliability.

EXHIBIT 7.6 Summary of Types of Reliability

In summary, reliability is concerned with consistency of measurement. There are multiple ways of treating reliability, depending on whether scores


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from a measure are being compared for consistency within or between time periods and whether the scores are from objective or subjective measures. These points are summarized in Exhibit 7.6. Ways of computing agreement between scores will be covered shortly, after the concept of measurement error is explored.

Measurement Error Rarely will any of the comparisons among scores discussed previously yield perfect similarity or reliability. Indeed, none of the comparisons in Exhibit 7.6 visually shows complete agreement among the scores. The lack of agreement among the scores may be due to the occurrence of measurement error. This type of error represents “noise” in the measure and measurement process. Its occurrence means that the measure did not yield perfectly consistent scores, or so-called true scores, for the attribute.

The scores actually obtained from the measure thus have two components to them, a true score and measurement error. That is,

actual score = true score + error

The error component of any actual score, or set of scores, represents unreliability of measurement. Unfortunately, unreliability is a fact of life for the types of measures used in staffing. To help understand why this is the case, the various types or sources of error that can occur in a staffing context must be explored. These errors may be grouped under the categories of deficiency error and contamination error.16

Deficiency Error. Deficiency error occurs when there is failure to measure some portion or aspect of the attribute assessed. For example, if knowledge of programming languages should involve Java and our test does not have any items (or an insufficient number of items) covering this aspect, the test is deficient. As another example, if an attribute of job performance is “planning and setting work priorities” and the raters fail to rate people on that dimension during their performance appraisal, the performance measure is deficient.

Deficiency error can occur in several related ways. First, the attribute may have been inadequately defined in the first place. Thus, the test of knowledge of programming languages may fail to address Java because multi-paradigm languages were never included in the initial definition of programming knowledge. Alternatively, the performance measure may fail to require raters to rate their employees on “planning and setting work priorities” because this attribute was never considered an important dimension of their work.


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A second way that deficiency error occurs is in the construction of measures used to assess the attribute. Here, the attribute may be well defined and understood, but there is a failure to construct a measure that adequately gets at the totality of the attribute. This is akin to poor measurement by oversight, which happens when measures are constructed in a hurried, ad hoc fashion.

Finally, deficiency error occurs when the organization opts to use whatever measures are available because of ease, cost considerations, sales pitches and promotional claims, and so forth. The measures so chosen may turn out to be deficient.

Contamination Error. Contamination error represents the occurrence of unwanted or undesirable influence on the measure and on individuals for whom the measure is being used. These influences muddy the scores and make them difficult to interpret.

Sources of contamination abound, as do examples of them. Several of these sources and examples are shown in Exhibit 7.7, along with some suggestions for how they might be controlled. These examples show that contamination error is multifaceted, making it difficult to minimize and control.

Calculation of Reliability Estimates Numerous procedures are available for calculating actual estimates of the degree of reliability of measurement.17 The first two of these—coefficient alpha and interrater agreement—assess reliability within a single time period. The other two procedures—test–retest and intrarater agreement— assess reliability between time periods. Reliability scores range from 0 (indicating that there is nothing but error in the actual scores) to 1.0 (indicating that the actual scores are the “true” scores). As with the squared correlation (r2), you can think of reliability estimates as the percentage of variation in a given measure that is “true” as opposed to “error.”

EXHIBIT 7.7 Sources of Contamination Error and Suggestions for Control

Source of Contamination Example

Suggestion for Control

Content domain

Irrelevant material on test

Define domain of test material to be


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covered Standardization Different time limits for

same test Have same time limits

for everyone Chance

response tendencies

Guessing by test taker Impossible to control in advance

Rater Rater gives inflated ratings to people

Train rater in rating accuracy

Rating situation Interviewees are asked different questions

Ask all interviewees the same questions

Coefficient Alpha. Coefficient alpha may be calculated in instances in which there are two or more items (or raters) for a particular attribute. Its formula is

where is the average intercorrelation among the items (raters) and n is the number of items (raters). For example, if there are five items (n = 5) and the average correlation among those five items is = .80, coefficient alpha is .95.

It can be seen from the formula and the example that coefficient alpha depends on just two things—the number of items and the amount of correlation between them. This suggests two basic strategies for increasing the internal consistency reliability of a measure—increase the number of items and increase the amount of agreement between the items (raters). It is generally recommended that coefficient alpha be at least .80 for a measure to have an acceptable degree of reliability. That means that 80% of the variation in scores is “true” variation and 20% is “error.”

Interrater Agreement. When raters serve as the measure, it is often convenient to talk about interrater agreement, or the amount of agreement among them. For example, if members of a group or panel interview independently rate a set of job applicants on a 1–5 scale, it is logical to ask how much they agreed with one another.

EXHIBIT 7.8 Calculation of Percentage Agreement Among Raters


A simple way to determine this is to calculate the percentage of agreement among the raters. An example of this is shown in Exhibit 7.8.

There is no commonly accepted minimum level of interrater agreement that must be met in order to consider the raters sufficiently reliable. Normally, a fairly high level should be set—75% or higher. The more important the end use of the ratings, the greater the agreement required should be. Critical uses, such as hiring decisions, demand very high levels of reliability, well in excess of 75% agreement.

Interrater Agreement Versus Coefficient Alpha. It is important to note that reliability (as assessed by coefficient alpha) and interrater agreement can be quite different. Specifically, one can have a high coefficient alpha but low agreement, and vice versa. To understand this, consider the data shown in Exhibit 7.9, which, like Exhibit 7.8, has three raters. However, instead of rating five different applicants, the three raters are rating one applicant on five different skills. Here, there are five items (skills), and the average correlation among those five items (e.g., the correlation between ratings on skill A and skill B; the correlation between ratings on skill A and skill C) is 1.0. This is the case because the ratings are proportionally consistent (although rater 1’s ratings are always lower than rater 2’s, they differ by the same magnitude each time). Consequently, coefficient alpha is 1.0. However, the raters do not agree at all on how much skill the applicant possesses. Rater 1’s average across the five skills is 1.6, rater 2’s average is 3.6, and rater 3’s average is 4.6.

Now consider Exhibit 7.10. The raters exhibit perfect agreement in their assessment of the candidate. However, coefficient alpha is 0 (technically, it is undefined). Why? Remember that the strength of the correlation


page 334coefficient depends on how much variation there is in the items (in this case, skills). Since there is no variation in the items (e.g., skill A is rated 2 by all three raters, as is skill B), the average correlation among the items is 0 and coefficient alpha is 0.

EXHIBIT 7.9 High Coefficient Alpha but Low Agreement

Skill Rater 1 Rater 2 Rater 3

Skill A 1 3 4 Skill B 2 4 5 Skill C 2 4 5 Skill D 1 3 4 Skill E 2 4 5

EXHIBIT 7.10 Low Coefficient Alpha but High Agreement

Skill Rater 1 Rater 2 Rater 3

Skill A 2 2 2 Skill B 2 2 2 Skill C 3 3 3 Skill D 2 2 2 Skill E 2 2 2

When assessing the reliability of scores where multiple raters are assessing candidates on multiple items, keep in mind that coefficient alpha and interrater agreement are tapping into different aspects of reliability. Therefore, it is important to consider both.

Test–Retest Reliability. To assess test–retest reliability, the test scores from two different time periods are correlated through calculation of the correlation coefficient. The r may be calculated on total test scores, or a separate r may be calculated for scores on each item. The resultant r indicates the stability of measurement—the higher the r, the more stable the measure.


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Interpretation of the r value is made difficult by the fact that the scores are gathered at two different points in time. Between those two time points, the attribute being measured has an opportunity to change. Interpretation of test–retest reliability thus requires some sense of how much the attribute may be expected to change, and what the appropriate time interval between tests is. Usually, for very short time intervals (hours or days), most attributes are quite stable, and a large test–retest r (r = .90 or higher) should be expected. Over longer time intervals, it is common to expect much lower r’s, depending on the attribute being measured. For example, over six months or a year, individuals’ knowledge of programming languages might change. If so, there will be lower test–retest reliabilities (e.g., r = .50).

Intrarater Agreement. To calculate intrarater agreement, scores that the rater assigns to the same people in two different time periods are compared. The calculation could involve either computing the correlation between the two sets of scores or using the same formula as for interrater agreement (see Exhibit 7.8).

Interpretation of intrarater agreement is made difficult by the time factor. For short time intervals between measures, a fairly high relationship is expected (e.g., r = .80, or percentage agreement = 90%). For longer time intervals, the level of reliability may reasonably be expected to be lower.

Implications of Reliability The degree of reliability of a measure has two implications. The first of these pertains to interpreting individuals’ scores on the measure and the standard error of measurement. The second implication pertains to the effect that reliability has on the measure’s validity.

Standard Error of Measurement. Measures yield scores, which in turn are used as critical inputs for decision making in staffing activities. For example, in Exhibit 7.1 a test of knowledge of programming languages was developed and administered to job applicants. The applicants’ scores were used as a basis for making hiring decisions.

The discussion of reliability suggests that measures and scores will usually have some amount of error in them. Hence, scores on the test of knowledge of programming languages most likely reflect both true knowledge and error. Since only a single score is obtained from each applicant, the critical issue is how accurately that particular score indicates the applicant’s true level of knowledge of programming languages alone.

The standard error of measurement (SEM) addresses this issue. It provides a way to state, within limits, a person’s likely score on a measure.


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The formula for the SEM is

where SDx is the standard deviation of scores on the measure and rxx is an estimate of the measure’s reliability. For example, if SDx = 10 and rxx = .75 (based on coefficient alpha), SEM = 5.

With the SEM known, the range within which any individual’s true score is likely to fall can be estimated. This range is known as a confidence interval or limit. There is a 95% chance that a person’s true score lies within ±2 SEM of his or her actual score. Thus, if an applicant received a score of 22 on the test of knowledge of programming languages, the applicant’s true score is most likely to be within the range of 22 ± 2(5), or 12–32.

Recognition and use of the SEM allow for care in interpreting people’s scores, as well as differences between individuals in terms of their scores. For example, using the preceding data, if the test score for applicant 1 is 22 and the score for applicant 2 is 19, what should be made of the difference between the two applicants? Is applicant 1 truly more knowledgeable of programming languages than applicant 2? The answer is probably not. This is because of the SEM and the large amount of overlap between the two applicants’ intervals (12–32 for applicant 1, and 9–29 for applicant 2).

In short, there is not a one-to-one correspondence between actual scores and true scores. Most measures used in staffing are unreliable to some degree, meaning that small differences in scores are probably due to error of measurement and should be ignored.

Relationship to Validity. The validity of a measure is defined as the degree to which it measures the attribute it is supposed to be measuring. For example, the validity of the test of knowledge of programming languages is the degree to which it measures that knowledge. There are specific ways to investigate validity, and these are discussed in the next section. Here, it simply needs to be recognized that the reliability with which an attribute is measured has direct implications for the validity of the measure.

The relationship between the reliability and the validity of a measure is

where rxy is the validity of the measure and rxx is the reliability of the measure. For example, it had been assumed previously that the reliability of the test of knowledge of programming languages was r = .75. The validity of that test thus cannot exceed .


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Thus, the reliability of a measure places an upper limit on the possible validity of a measure. It should be emphasized that this is only an upper limit. A highly reliable measure is not necessarily valid. Reliability does not guarantee validity; it only makes validity possible.

Validity of Measures The validity of a measure is defined as the degree to which it measures the attribute it is intended to measure.18 Refer to Exhibit 7.1, which involves the development of a test of knowledge of programming languages that was to be used in selecting job applicants. The validity of this test is the degree to which it truly measures the attribute or construct “knowledge of programming languages.”

Judgments about the validity of a measure occur through the process of gathering data and evidence about the measure to assess how it was developed and whether accurate inferences can be made from scores on the measure. This process can be illustrated in terms of concepts pertaining to accuracy of measurement and accuracy of prediction. These concepts may then be used to demonstrate how validation of measures occurs in staffing.

Accuracy of Measurement How accurate is the test of knowledge of programming languages? This question asks for evidence about the accuracy with which the test portrays individuals’ true levels of that knowledge. This is akin to asking about the degree of overlap between the attribute being measured and the actual measure of the attribute.

Exhibit 7.11 shows the concept of accuracy of measurement in Venn diagram form. The circle on the left represents the construct “knowledge of programming languages,” and the circle on the right represents the actual test of knowledge of programming languages. The overlap between the two circles represents the degree of accuracy of measurement for the test. The greater the overlap, the greater the accuracy of measurement.

EXHIBIT 7.11 Accuracy of Measurement


page 338Notice that perfect overlap is not shown in Exhibit 7.11. This signifies the occurrence of measurement error with the use of the test. These errors, as indicated in the exhibit, are the errors of deficiency and contamination previously discussed.

So how does accuracy of measurement differ from reliability of measurement since both are concerned with deficiency and contamination? There is disagreement among people on the answer to this question. Generally, the difference may be thought of as follows. Reliability refers to consistency among the scores on the test, as determined by comparing scores as previously described. Accuracy of measurement goes beyond this to assess the extent to which the scores truly reflect the attribute being measured—the overlap shown in Exhibit 7.11. Accuracy requires reliability, but it also requires more by way of evidence. For example, accuracy requires knowing something about how the test was developed. Accuracy also requires some evidence concerning how test scores are influenced by other factors—for example, how do test scores change as a result of employees attending a training program devoted to providing instruction on programming languages? Accuracy thus demands greater evidence than reliability.

Accuracy of Prediction


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Measures are often developed because they provide information about people that can be used to make predictions about them. In Exhibit 7.1, the knowledge test was to be used to help make hiring decisions, which are actually predictions about which people will be successful at a job. Knowing something about the accuracy with which a test predicts future job success requires examining the relationship between scores on the test and scores on some measure of job success for a group of people.

Accuracy of prediction is illustrated in the top half of Exhibit 7.12. Where there is an actual job success outcome (criterion) to predict, the test (predictor) will be used to predict the criterion. Each person is classified as high or low on the predictor and high or low on the criterion, based on predictor and criterion scores. Individuals falling into cells A and C represent correct predictions, and individuals falling into cells B and D represent errors in prediction. Accuracy of prediction is the percentage of total correct predictions and can range from 0% to 100%.

The bottom half of Exhibit 7.12 shows an example of the determination of accuracy of prediction using a selection example. The predictor is the test of knowledge of programming languages, and the criterion is an overall measure of job performance. Scores on the predictor and criterion measures are gathered for 100 job applicants and are dichotomized into high or low scores on each. Each individual is placed into one of the four cells. The accuracy of prediction for the test is 70%.

EXHIBIT 7.12 Accuracy of Prediction


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Validation of Measures in Staffing In staffing, there is concern with the validity of predictors in terms of both accuracy of measurement and accuracy of prediction. It is important to have and use predictors that accurately represent the KSAOs to be measured, and those predictors need to be accurate in their predictions of job success. The validity of predictors is explored by conducting validation studies.

Three types of validation studies are typically conducted: (1) construct validation, (2) criterion-related validation, and (3) content validation. Together, construct, criterion-related, and content validation evidence should be amassed to provide various forms of evidence to support the selection and use of predictors and their measures.19


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We will discuss construct validation briefly here (given that it primarily draws on correlation and reliability evidence, as discussed earlier), followed by discussions of criterion-related validation and content validation.

Construct Validation Construct validation involves collecting information that shows a test or assessment measures what it was intended to measure. First, reliability evidence assesses the stability and consistency of a measure of a psychological construct (thus, a measure cannot be valid without first being reliable). Second, patterns of correlations between what the measure should be related to and what it should not be related to help provide evidence that the assessment is measuring what it should be measuring. For example, the personality trait of extraversion should be related to sociable behavior, but should not be related to problem-solving behavior. Third, patterns of correlations between different kinds of assessments targeted toward different constructs should provide evidence for construct validity. For example, a survey, structured interview question, and situational judgment test that are all intended to assess the personality trait of conscientiousness should be correlated with one another.

Criterion-Related Validation Criterion-related validity evidence, which also involves correlational evidence for a similar function, also provides support for the validity of a predictor. Exhibit 7.13 shows the components of criterion-related validation and their usual sequencing.20 The process begins with job analysis. Results of job analysis are fed into criterion and predictor measures. Scores on the predictor and criterion are obtained for a sample of individuals; the relationship between the scores is then examined to make a judgment about the predictor’s validity.

Job Analysis. Job analysis is undertaken to identify and define important tasks (and broader task dimensions) of the job. The KSAOs and motivation thought to be necessary for performance of these tasks are then inferred. Results of the process of identifying tasks and underlying KSAOs are expressed in the form of the job requirements matrix. The matrix is a task × KSAO matrix; it shows the tasks required and the relevant KSAOs for each task.

Criterion Measures. Measures of performance on tasks and task dimensions are needed. These may already be available as part of an ongoing performance appraisal system, or they may have to be


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developed. In whatever manner these measures are gathered, it is critical that they be as free from measurement error as possible.

EXHIBIT 7.13 Criterion-Related Validation

Criterion measures need not be restricted to performance measures. Others may be used, such as measures of attendance, retention, safety, and customer service. As with performance-based criterion measures, these alternative criterion measures should also be as error-free as possible.

Predictor Measure. The predictor measure is the measure


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whose criterion-related validity is being investigated. Ideally, it taps into one or more of the KSAOs identified in job analysis. Also, it should be the type of measure most suitable to assess the KSAOs. Knowledge of programming languages, for example, is probably best assessed with some form of written, objective test.

Predictor–Criterion Scores. Predictor and criterion scores must be gathered from a sample of current employees or job applicants. If current employees are used, a concurrent validation design is used. Alternatively, if job applicants are used, a predictive validation design is used. The nature of these two designs is shown in Exhibit 7.14.

EXHIBIT 7.14 Concurrent and Predictive Validation Designs

Concurrent validation definitely has some appeal.


Administratively, it is convenient and can often be done quickly. Moreover, results of the validation study will be available soon after the predictor and criterion scores have been gathered.

Unfortunately, some serious problems can arise with use of a concurrent validation design. One problem is that if the predictor is a test, current employees may not be motivated in the same way that job applicants would be in terms of the desire to perform well. Yet, it is future applicants for whom the test is intended to be used.

In a related vein, current employees may not be similar to, or representative of, future job applicants. Current employees may differ in terms of demographics such as age, race, sex, disability status, education level, and previous job experience. Hence, it is by no means certain that the results of the study will generalize to future job applicants. In addition, some unsatisfactory employees will have been terminated, and some high performers may have been promoted. This leads to restriction of range on the criterion scores (i.e., most employees are high performers), which in turn will lower the correlation between the predictor and criterion scores.

Finally, current employees’ predictor scores may be influenced by the amount of experience and/or success they have had in their current job. For example, scores on the test of knowledge of programming languages may reflect not only that knowledge but also how long people have been on the job and how well they have performed it. This is undesirable because one wants predictor scores to be predictive of the criterion rather than a result of it.

Predictive validation overcomes the potential limitations of concurrent validation since the predictor scores are obtained from job applicants. Applicants will be motivated to do well on the predictor, and they are more likely to be representative of future job applicants. Applicants’ scores on the predictor cannot be influenced by success and/or experience on the job, because the scores are gathered prior to their being on the job. Predictive validation also is subject to its own limitations. It is neither administratively easy nor quick. Therefore, results will not be available immediately, as some time must lapse before criterion scores can be obtained. Despite these limitations, predictive validation is considered the sounder of the two designs.

Altogether, however, the use of concurrent or predictive designs should also be based on the goals of the validation efforts. For example, research suggests that there are degrees of susceptibility to threats to validity based on each type of design, and taking into account the validation goals, the selection of a predictive or concurrent validation study may be more or less appropriate given the situation. Thus, there are certain times when concurrent designs will be more preferable than predictive designs. For


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example, concurrent designs are best used when the goal is to assess a current skill or when time-related changes may be a severe threat to the validation efforts. Predictive designs, on the other hand, should be used to test aptitudes and validity stability.21

Predictor–Criterion Relationship. Once predictor and criterion scores have been obtained, the correlation r, or some variation of it, must be calculated. The value of r is then referred to as the validity of the scores on the predictor. For example, if an r = .35 was found, the predictor would be referred to as having a validity of .35. Then, the practical and statistical significance of the r should be determined. Only if the r meets desired levels of practical and statistical significance should the predictor be considered valid and thus potentially usable in the selection system.

Illustrative Study. A state university civil service system covering 20 institutions sought to identify predictors of job performance for clerical employees. The clerical job existed within different schools (e.g., engineering, humanities) and nonacademic departments (e.g., payroll, data processing). The goal of the study was to have a valid clerical test in two parallel forms that could be administered to job applicants in one hour.

The starting point was to conduct a job analysis, the results of which would be used as the basis for constructing the clerical tests (predictors) and the job performance ratings (criteria). Subject matter experts (SMEs) used job observation and previous job descriptions to construct a task-based questionnaire that was administered to clerical incumbents and their supervisors throughout the system. Task statements were rated in terms of importance, frequency, and essentialness (if it was essential for a newly hired employee to know how to do this task). From a statistical analysis of the ratings’ means and standard deviations, 25 of the 188 task statements were retained as critical task statements. These critical task statements were the key input to the identification of key KSAOs and the dimension of job performance.

Analysis of the 25 critical task statements indicated there were five KSAO components of the job: knowledge of computer hardware and software, ability to follow instructions and prioritize tasks, knowledge and skill in responding to telephone and reception scenarios, knowledge of English language, and ability to file items in alphabetical order. A test was constructed to measure these KSAOs as follows:

Computer hardware and software—17 questions Prioritize tasks—18 questions


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Route and transfer calls—14 questions Record messages—20 questions Give information on the phone—20 questions Correct sentences with errors—22 questions Identify errors in sentences—71 questions File documents—44 questions Type documents—number of questions not reported

To develop the job performance (criterion) measure, a behavioral performance rating scale (1–7 rating) was constructed for each of the nine areas, ensuring a high content correspondence between the tests and the performance criteria they sought to predict. Scores on these nine scales were summed to yield an overall performance score.

The nine tests were administered to 108 current clerical employees to obtain predictor scores. A separate score on each of the nine tests was computed, along with a total score for all tests. In addition, total scores on two short (50-question) forms of the total test were created (Form A and Form B).

Performance ratings of these 108 employees were obtained from their supervisors, who were unaware of their employees’ test scores. The performance ratings were summed to form an overall performance rating. Scores on each of the nine tests, on the total test, and on Forms A and B of the test were correlated with the overall performance ratings.

Results of the concurrent validation study are shown in Exhibit 7.15. It can be seen that seven of the nine specific tests had statistically significant correlations with overall performance (filing and typing did not). Total test scores were significantly correlated with overall performance, as were scores on the two short forms of the total test. The sizes of the statistically significant correlations suggest favorable practical significance of the correlations as well.

EXHIBIT 7.15 Clerical Test Concurrent Validation Results

Test Correlation With Overall

Performance Computer software and

hardware .37**

Prioritize tasks .29*   Route and transfer calls .19*   Record messages .31** Give information on phone .35** Correct sentences with .32**


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errors Identify errors in sentences .44** File documents .22    Type documents .10    Total test .45** Form A .55** Form B .49**

NOTE: *p < .05, **p < .01

SOURCE: Adapted from J. E. Pynes, E. J. Harrick, and D. Schaefer, “A Concurrent Validation Study Applied to a Secretarial Position in a State University Civil Service System,” Journal of Business and Psychology, 1997, 12, pp. 3–18.

Content Validation Content validity primarily focuses on the extent to which the content of the measures represents the attribute of interest and the content of the job. Content validation is most likely to be found in two circumstances: (1) when there are too few people to form a sample for purposes of criterion- related validation, and (2) when criterion measures are not available, or they are available but are of highly questionable quality. At an absolute minimum, an n = 30 is necessary for criterion-related validation.

Exhibit 7.16 shows the two basic steps in content validation: conducting a job analysis and developing a predictor. These steps are commented on next. Comparing the steps in content validation with those in criterion- related validation (see Exhibit 7.13) shows that they are similar. Because of this, the two types of validation should be thought of as complementary, with content validation being a subset of criterion-related validation. Content validation can be examined along with criterion-related validation to provide separate pieces of the puzzle of validity in staffing.

Job Analysis. Like criterion-related validation, content validation begins with job analysis, which, in both cases, is undertaken to identify and define tasks and task dimensions and to infer the necessary KSAOs and motivation for those tasks. Results are expressed in the job requirements matrix.

Predictor Measures. Sometimes the predictor will be one that has already been developed and is in use. An example here is a commercially available test, interviewing process, or biographical information questionnaire. Other times, such a measure will not be available. This occurs frequently in the case of job knowledge, which is usually very specific to the


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particular job involved in the validation.

EXHIBIT 7.16 Content Validation

Lacking a readily available or modifiable predictor means that the organization will have to construct its own predictors. At this point, the organization has built predictor construction into the predictor validation process. Now, content validation and the predictor development processes occur simultaneously. The organization becomes engaged in test construction, a topic beyond the scope of this book.22

With content validation, it is important to continually pay attention to the overlap between the attribute and the measurement of that attribute as in Exhibit 7.11. If the measure does not adequately tap into the content domain (deficiency), or if it taps into extraneous, irrelevant content, the measurement will be limited in degree of content validity. Furthermore, content validity plays into issues of judgments of face validity on the part of organizational stakeholders. Both applicants and staffing professionals alike judge the content of the measure and make a connection to eventual job performance. If the content does not contain what it is supposed to or contains attributes that are irrelevant, it will not seem valid, prima facie.

Though content validation has its benefits, including ease of administration, favorable applicant reactions to measures, and legal defensibility, it is not without drawbacks. Critics of content validation argue that, despite the transparent match between job content and measurement content, there is little empirical evidence that content-validated measures correlate with the criteria they are supposed to predict (e.g., job performance) and thus they are not as valid as they are made out to be.23

Illustrative Study. The Maryland Department of Transportation sought


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to develop a series of assessment methods for identifying supervisory potential among candidates for promotion to a first-level supervising position anywhere within the department. The content validation process and outputs are shown in Exhibit 7.17. As shown in the exhibit, job analysis was first conducted to identify and define a set of performance dimensions and then infer the KSAOs necessary for successful performance in those dimensions. Several SMEs met to develop a tentative set of task dimensions and underlying KSAOs. The underlying KSAOs were in essence general competencies required of all first-level supervisors, regardless of work unit within the department. Their results were sent to a panel of experienced human resource (HR) managers within the department for revision and finalization. Three assessment method specialists then set about developing a set of assessments that would (1) be efficiently administered at locations throughout the state, (2) be reliably scored by people at those locations, (3) emphasize the interpersonal skills important for this job, and most importantly, (4) maximize the correspondence between the selected assessments, the KSAOs needed to perform the job successfully, and the content of the job itself. As shown in Exhibit 7.17, five assessment methods were developed: multiple-choice in-basket exercise, structured panel interview, presentation exercise, writing sample, and training and experience evaluation exercise. These assessment methods matched the content of the performance dimensions, tasks, and KSAOs.

EXHIBIT 7.17 Content Validation Study

Job Analysis: First-Level Supervisor—Maryland Department of Transportation

Seven performance dimensions and task statements: Organizing work; assigning work; monitoring work; managing consequences; counseling, efficiency reviews, and discipline; setting an example; employee development

Fourteen KSAOs and definitions: Organizing; analysis and decision making; planning; communication (oral and written); delegation; work habits; carefulness; interpersonal skill; job knowledge; organizational knowledge; toughness; integrity; development of others; listening

Predictor Measures: Five Assessment Methods Multiple-choice in-basket exercise     (assume role of new supervisor and work through in-basket on


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desk) Structured panel interview     (predetermined questions about past experiences relevant to the KSAOs) Presentation exercise     (make presentation to a simulated work group about change in their work hours) Writing sample     (prepare a written reprimand for a fictitious employee) Training and experience evaluation exercise     (give examples of training and work achievements relevant to certain KSAOs)

SOURCE: Adapted from M. A. Cooper, G. Kaufman, and W. Hughes, “Measuring Supervisory Potential,” IPMA News, December 1996, pp. 8–18. Reprinted with permission of IPMA News, published by the International Personnel Management Association (IPMA;

Candidates’ performance on the exercises was to be evaluated by specially chosen assessors at the location where the exercises were administered. To ensure that candidates’ performance was skillfully observed and reliably evaluated by the assessors, an intensive training program was developed. The program provided both a written user’s manual and specific skill training.

Validity Generalization In the preceding discussions of validity and validation, an implicit premise is being made that validity is situation specific, and therefore validation of predictors must occur in each specific situation. All of the examples involve specific types of measures, jobs, individuals, and so forth. Nothing is said about generalizing validity across those jobs and individuals. For example, if a predictor is valid for a particular job in organization A, would it be valid for the same type of job in organization B? Or is validity specific to the particular job and organization?

The situation-specific premise is based on the following scenario, which has its origins in findings from decades of previous research. Assume that 10 criterion-related validation studies have been conducted. Each study involves various predictor measures of a common KSAO attribute (e.g., general mental ability) and various criterion measures of a common outcome attribute (e.g., job performance). The predictor will be designated x, and the criterion will be designated y. The studies are conducted in different


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situations (types of jobs, types of organizations), and they involve different samples (with different sample sizes [n]). In each study, the reliability of the predictor (rxx) and the criterion (ryy), as well as the validity coefficient (rxy), is calculated. These results are provided in Exhibit 7.18. At first blush, the results, because of the wide range of rxy values, would seem to support situational specificity. These results suggest that while, on average, there seems to be some validity to x, the validity varies substantially from situation to situation.

The concept of validity generalization questions this premise.24 It says that much of the variation in the rxy values is due to the occurrence of several “artifacts”—methodological and statistical differences across the studies (e.g., differences in reliability of x and y). If these differences were controlled statistically, the variation in values would shrink and converge toward an estimate of the true validity of x. If that true r is significant (practically and statistically), one can indeed generalize validity of x across situations. Validity thus is not viewed as situation specific.

EXHIBIT 7.18 Hypothetical Validity Generalization Example

Indeed, the results in the exhibit reveal that the average (weighted by sample size) uncorrected validity is = .30, and


the average (weighted by sample size) validity corrected for unreliability in the predictor and criterion is = .36. In this example, fully two-thirds (66.62%) of the variance in the correlations was due to study artifacts (differences in sample size and differences in reliability of the predictor or the criterion). Put another way, the variability in the correlations is lower once they are corrected for artifacts, and the validities do generalize.

An enormous amount of evidence supporting the validity generalization premise has accumulated. Some experts argue that validity generalization reduces or even eliminates the need for an organization to conduct its own validation study. If validity generalization shows that a selection measure has a statistically significant and practically meaningful correlation with job performance, the reasoning goes, why go to the considerable time and expense to reinvent the wheel (to conduct a validation study when evidence clearly supports use of the measure in the first place)? There are two caveats to keep in mind in accepting this logic. First, organizations or specific jobs (for which the selection measure in question is intended) can sometimes be unusual. To the extent that the organization or job was not reflected in the validity generalization effort, the results may be inapplicable to the specific organization or job. Second, validity generalization efforts, while undoubtedly offering more evidence than a single study, are not perfect. For example, validity generalization results can be susceptible to “publication bias,” where test vendors may report only statistically significant correlations. Although procedures exist for correcting this bias, they assume evidence and expertise usually not readily available to an organization.25 Thus, as promising as validity generalization is, we think organizations, especially if they think the job in question differs from that in comparable organizations, may still wish to conduct validation studies of their own.

A particular form of validity generalization that has proved useful is meta-analysis. Returning to Exhibit 7.18, meta-analysis reveals that the average correlation between x and y (i.e., ) is = .36, that most of the variability in the correlations is due to statistical artifacts (and not due to true substantive differences in validity across studies), and that the validity appears to generalize. Meta-analysis is very useful in comparing the relative validity of selection measures, which is precisely what we do in Chapters 8 and 9.

However, future validity generalization work using meta-analysis should pay critical attention to the studies that comprise the meta-analytic databases. Notably, a review of 14 meta-analyses on the validities of cognitive ability and personality traits found that a sizable portion of the meta-analyses did not account for between-study differences in predictive versus concurrent validation, the period of time between measuring the predictor and the criterion, the age of the studies included (most of the


page 351 studies were conducted in the 1960s or earlier), sample demographics, the culture of the samples, information about the organizations or industries providing the samples, relationships at different levels of analysis (e.g., team-level, department-level relationships), or even reliability information from the primary studies and resultant construction of measurement artifact distributions.26 Clearly, this information would greatly improve validity generalization efforts and help practitioners determine whether they might expect the validities to be replicated in their own contexts.

Staffing Metrics and Benchmarks For some time now, HR as a business area has sought to prove its value through the use of metrics, or quantifiable measures that demonstrate the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of a particular practice or procedure. Staffing is no exception. Fortunately, many of the measurement processes described in this chapter represent excellent metrics. Unfortunately, most HR managers, including many in staffing, may have limited (or no) knowledge of job analysis, validation, and measurement. The reader of this book can “show his or her stuff” by educating other organizational members about these metrics in an accessible and nonthreatening way. The result may be a more rigorous staffing process that produces higher levels of validity, higher-performing employees, and kudos for you.

Many who work in staffing are likely more familiar with another type of metric, namely, benchmarking. Benchmarking is a process where organizations evaluate their practices (in this case, staffing practices) against those used by industry leaders. Some commonly used benchmarks include cost per hire, forecasted hiring, and vacancies filled. Traditionally, most benchmarking efforts have focused on quantity of employees hired and cost. That situation is beginning to change. For example, Reuters and Dell are tracking “quality of hire,” or the performance levels of those hired. Eventually, if enough organizations track such information, they can form a consortium so they can benchmark off one another’s metrics for both quantity and quality.27 More generally, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) regularly offers conferences and mini-conferences on staffing as well as customizable reports that provide benchmarks of current organizational practices.

Such benchmarks can be a useful means of measuring important aspects of staffing methods or the entire staffing process. However, they are no substitute for the other measurement principles described in this chapter, including reliability and validity. Reliability, validity, utility, and measurement principles are more enduring, and more fundamental, metrics


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of staffing effectiveness.

COLLECTION OF ASSESSMENT DATA In staffing decisions, the process of measurement is put into practice by collecting assessment data on external or internal applicants. To this point in this chapter, we have discussed how selection measures can be evaluated. To be sure, thorough evaluation of selection measures is important. Selection decision makers must be knowledgeable about how to use the assessment data that have been collected; otherwise, the potential value of the data will lie dormant. On the other hand, to put these somewhat theoretical concepts to use in practice, selection decision makers must know how to collect the assessment data. Otherwise, the decision maker may find himself or herself in the unenviable “big hat, no cattle” situation—knowing how to analyze and evaluate assessment data but not knowing where to find the data in the first place.

In collecting assessment data, if a predictor is purchased, support services are needed. Consulting firms and test publishers can provide support for scoring of tests. Also necessary is legal support to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Validity studies are important to ensure the effectiveness of the measures. Training on how to administer the predictor is also needed.

Furthermore, practical considerations in staffing should also be taken into account. For example, recent research from Glassdoor suggests that employers are taking longer to hire new workers.28 Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, recognizes that although this careful evaluation can lead to better hires, “employers could be losing out on top talent because … their process is longer than other companies.” Therefore, it is important to recognize both mechanical and practical issues when developing a staffing measurement and evaluation system.

Beyond these general principles, which apply no matter what assessment data are collected, there is other information that the selection decision maker must know about the tangible process of collecting assessment data. Collection of data with respect to testing procedures, tests and test manuals, and professional standards is discussed.

Testing Procedures Regardless of whether paper-and-pencil or computerized tests are given, certain guidelines need to be kept in mind.



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Predictors cannot always be purchased by any firm that wants to use them; many test publishers require the purchaser to have certain expertise, to ensure that the test is used properly. For example, test publishers may want the user to hold a PhD in a field of study related to the test and its use. For smaller organizations, this means hiring the consulting services of a specialist in order to use a particular test.

Security Care must be taken to ensure that correct answers for predictors are not shared with job applicants in advance of administration of the predictor. Any person who has access to the predictor answers should be fully trained and should sign a predictor security agreement. In addition, applicants should be instructed not to share information about the test with fellow applicants. Alternative forms of the test should be considered if the security of the test is in question.

Not only should the predictor itself be kept secure, but also the results of the predictor in order to ensure the privacy of the individual. The results of the predictor should be used only for the intended purposes and by persons qualified to interpret them. Though feedback can be given to the candidate concerning the results, the individual should not be given a copy of the predictor or the scoring key.

Standardization Finally, it is imperative that all applicants be assessed with standardized procedures. This means that not only should the same or a psychometrically equivalent predictor be used, but individuals should take the test under the same circumstances. The purpose of the predictor should be explained to applicants, and they should be put at ease, be held to the same time requirements to complete the predictor, and take the predictor in the same location.

Internet-Based Test Administration Increasingly, selection measures are being administered on the Internet. For example, job applicants for hourly positions at Kmart, Albertson’s, and Best Buy take an electronic assessment at in-store kiosks. The test vendor, Unicru, forwards the test scores to selection decision makers. Some organizations may develop their own tests and administer them online.

In general, research suggests that web-based tests work as well as paper- and-pencil tests, as long as special care is taken to ensure that the actual applicant is the test taker and that the tests are validated in the same manner as other selection measures. Test security becomes even more of a concern


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when using Internet testing, but can be ameliorated with the previously mentioned best practices, along with developing a security plan, preventing and detecting cheating, and engaging in punitive actions.29 More modern approaches to assessment have utilized mobile assessment modalities. Research here also suggests equivalence between mobile and non-mobile devices for assessment in staffing, although effects may differ depending on applicant anxiety with mobile devices.30 Some new advancements in technology are also vastly automating scoring procedures that would take much longer and many more resources to accomplish effectively using paper-and-pencil testing formats.31

Some organizations, in their rush to use such tests, fail to validate them. The results can be disastrous. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was criticized for an “inane” online test. The answers to many questions on the test were obvious to a grade-school student. For example, one question read as follows:

Why is it important to screen bags for improvised explosive devices (IEDs)?

a. The IED batteries could leak and damage other passenger bags. b. The wires in the IED could cause a short to the aircraft wires. c. IEDs can cause loss of lives, property and aircraft. d. The ticking timer could worry other passengers.

Obviously, the correct answer is “c.” The TSA farmed out the test to a vendor without asking for validation evidence. The TSA’s justification was, “We administered the test the way we were told to [by the vendor].” Thus, Internet-based testing can work well and has many advantages, but organizations need to ensure that the tests are rigorously developed and validated.32

Acquisition of Tests and Test Manuals The process of acquiring tests and test manuals, whether digital versions or print versions, requires some start-up costs in terms of the time and effort needed to contact test publishers. Once the selection decision maker is on an e-mail or mailing list, however, he or she can stay up to date on the latest developments.

Publishers of selection tests include Wonderlic, Consulting Psychologists Press, Institute for Personality and Ability Testing, Psychological Assessment Resources, Hogan Assessment Systems, and Psychological Services, Inc. All these organizations have information on their websites that describes the products available for purchase.

Most publishers provide sample copies of the tests and a user’s manual that selection decision makers may consult before purchasing the test. Test


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costs vary widely depending on the test and the number of times the test is given. Discounts are thus available for testing larger numbers of applicants.

Any test worth using will be accompanied by a professional user’s manual (whether in print or online). This manual should describe the development and validation of the test, including validity evidence in selection contexts. A test manual should also include administration instructions, scoring instructions or information, interpretation information, and normative data. All of this information is crucial to make sure that the test is appropriate and that it is used in an appropriate (valid, legal) manner. Avoid using a test that has no professional manual, as it is unlikely to have been validated. Using a test without a proven track record is akin to hiring an applicant sight unseen. The Wonderlic Personnel Test User’s Manual is an excellent example of a professional user’s manual. It contains information about various forms of the Wonderlic Personnel Test (see Chapter 9), how to administer the test and interpret and use the scores, validity and fairness of the test, and various norms by age, race, gender, and so on. The SHRM has launched the SHRM Testing Center, whereby SHRM members can review and receive discounts on more than 200 web-based tests.33

Professional Standards Revised in 2003 by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and approved by the American Psychological Association (APA), Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures is a guidebook that provides testing standards for use in selection decisions. It covers test choice, development, evaluation, and use of personnel selection procedures in employment settings. Specific topics covered include the various ways selection measures should be validated, how to conduct validation studies, which sources can be used to determine validity, generalizing validation evidence from one source to another, test fairness and bias, how to understand worker requirements, data collection for validity studies, ways in which validity information can be analyzed, and the appropriate uses of selection measures; an administration guide is included.

Principles was developed by many of the world’s leading experts on selection, and therefore any selection decision maker would be well advised to consult this important document, which is written in practical, nontechnical language. This guidebook is free and can be ordered from SIOP by visiting its website.

A related set of standards has been promulgated by the APA. Formulated by the Joint Committee on Testing Practices, The Rights and


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Responsibilities of Test Takers: Guidelines and Expectations enumerates 10 rights and 10 responsibilities of test takers. One of the rights is for the applicant to be treated with courtesy, respect, and impartiality. Another right is to receive prior explanation for the purpose(s) of the testing. One responsibility is to follow the test instructions as given. In addition to enumerating test-taker rights and responsibilities, the document also provides guidelines for organizations administering the tests. For example, the standards stipulate that organizations should inform test takers about the purpose of the test. Organizations testing applicants should consult these guidelines to ensure that these rights are provided wherever possible.

LEGAL ISSUES Staffing laws and regulations, particularly EEO/AA laws and regulations, place great reliance on the use of measurement concepts and processes. Three key topics are determining adverse impact, standardization of measurement, and best practices suggested by the EEOC.

Determining Adverse Impact In Chapter 2, adverse (disparate) impact was introduced as a way of determining whether staffing practices have potentially illegal impacts on individuals because of race, sex, and so forth. Such a determination requires the compilation and analysis of statistical evidence, primarily applicant flow and applicant stock statistics.

Applicant Flow Statistics Applicant flow statistical analysis requires the calculation of selection rates (proportions or percentages of applicants hired) for groups and the subsequent comparison of those rates to determine whether they are significantly different from one another. This may be illustrated by taking the example from Exhibit 2.5:

Applicants Hires Selection Rate

Men 50 25 .50 or 50% Women 45   5 .11 or 11%

This example shows a sizable difference in selection rates between men and women (.50 as opposed to .11). Does this difference indicate adverse impact? The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP) speak directly to this question. Several points need to be made regarding the determination of disparate impact analysis.


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First, the UGESP require the organization to keep records that will permit calculation of such selection rates, also referred to as applicant flow statistics. These statistics are the primary vehicle by which compliance with the law (Civil Rights Act) is judged.

Second, the UGESP require calculation of selection rates (1) for each job category, (2) for both external and internal selection decisions, (3) for each step in the selection process, and (4) by race and sex of applicants. To meet this requirement, the organization must keep detailed records of its staffing activities and decisions. Such record keeping should be built directly into the organization’s staffing system routines.

Third, comparisons of selection rates among groups in a job category for purposes of compliance determination should be based on the 80% rule in the UGESP, which states that “a selection rate for any race, sex or ethnic group which is less than four-fifths (4/5) (or eighty percent) of the rate for the group with the highest rate will generally be regarded by federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact, while a greater than four-fifths rate will generally not be regarded by federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact.”

If this rule is applied to the previous example, the group with the highest selection rate is men (.50). The rate for women should be within 80% of this rate, or .40 (.50 × .80 = .40). Since the actual rate for women is .11, this suggests the occurrence of adverse impact.

Fourth, the 80% rule is truly only a guideline. Note the use of the word “generally” in the rule with regard to differences in selection rates. Also, the 80% rule provides for other exceptions, based on sample size considerations and issues surrounding statistical and practical significance of difference in selection rates. Moreover, there are many other technical measurement and legal issues in determining whether adverse impact is occurring. Examples include deciding exactly who is considered an applicant and whether it is meaningful to pool applicant counts for different minority groups into a “total minority” group. Best-practice recommendations for handling such issues are available.34

Applicant Stock Statistics Applicant stock statistics require the calculation of the percentages of women and minorities in two areas: (1) employed and (2) available for employment in the population. These percentages are compared in order to identify disparities. This is referred to as utilization analysis.

To illustrate, the example from Exhibit 2.5 is shown here:

Employed Availability


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Nonminority 90% 70% Minority 10% 30%

It can be seen that 10% of employees are minorities, whereas their availability is 30%. A comparison of these two percentages suggests an underutilization of minorities.

Utilization analysis of this sort is an integral part of not only compliance assessment but also affirmative action plans (AAPs). Indeed, utilization analysis is the starting point for the development of AAPs. This may be illustrated by reference to the Affirmative Action Programs Regulations.

The regulations require the organization to conduct a formal utilization analysis of its workforce. That analysis must be (1) conducted by job group and (2) done separately for women and minorities. Though calculation of the numbers and percentages of persons employed is relatively straightforward, determination of their availability is not. The regulations require that the availabilities take into account at least the following factors: (1) the percentage of women or minorities with requisite skills in the recruitment area, and (2) the percentage of women or minorities among those promotable, transferable, and trainable within the organization. Accurate measurement and/or estimation of availabilities that consider these factors is difficult.

Despite these measurement problems, the regulations require comparison of the percentages of women and minorities employed with their availability. When the percentage of minorities or women in a job group is less than would reasonably be expected given their availability, underutilization exists and placement (hiring and promotion) goals must be set. Thus, the organization must exercise considerable discretion in the determination of adverse impact through the use of applicant stock statistics. It would be wise to seek technical and/or legal assistance for conducting utilization analysis (see also “Affirmative Action Plans” in Chapter 3).

Differential Prediction of Selection Measures The use of selection measures themselves may also lead employers to discriminate in selection decisions. Specific types of selection tests and assessments have been shown to exhibit “differential prediction,” in which the measure is predictive for one group when compared with another, resulting in selection decisions exhibiting adverse impact.35 This differential prediction has resulted in the “diversity- validity” dilemma, in which the best predictors of individual performance and effectiveness (e.g., cognitive ability) are often the ones that are associated with the most adverse impact.36 Indeed, a review of the meta- analytic literature suggests that many predictors exhibit moderate to large


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amounts of adverse impact (with the least amount of adverse impact observed for personality tests).37 One solution has been to design “Pareto- optimal selection systems,” in which the selection measures, rules, staging, measurement sequencing, predictor weighting, and flow statistics are all optimized to reduce adverse impact.38 Furthermore, some research suggests that a combination of low adverse impact predictors (e.g., personality test, structured interview, and biodata) can meet or exceed the validity of a cognitive ability test.39

Standardization A lack of consistency in treatment of applicants is one of the major factors contributing to the occurrence of discrimination in staffing. This is partly due to a lack of standardization in measurement, in terms of both what is measured and how it is evaluated or scored.

An example of inconsistency in what is measured is that the type of background information required of minority applicants may differ from that required of nonminority applicants. Minority applicants may be asked about credit ratings and criminal conviction records, while nonminority applicants are not. Alternatively, the type of interview questions asked of male applicants may be different from those asked of female applicants.

Even if information is consistently gathered from all applicants, it may not be evaluated the same for all applicants. A male applicant who has a history of holding several different jobs may be viewed as a career builder, while a female with the same history may be evaluated as an unstable job- hopper. In essence, different scoring keys are being used for men and women applicants.

Reducing, and hopefully eliminating, such inconsistency requires a straightforward application of the three properties of standardized measures discussed previously. Through standardization of measurement comes consistent treatment of applicants and, with it, the possibility of lessened adverse impact.

Best Practices Based on its long and in-depth involvement in measurement and selection procedures, the EEOC provides guidance to employers in the form of several best practices for testing and selection.40 These practices apply to a wide range of tests and selection procedures, including cognitive and physical ability tests, sample job tasks, medical inquiries and physical exams, personality and integrity tests, criminal and credit background checks, performance appraisals, and English proficiency tests. The best practices are the following:


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Employers should administer tests and other selection procedures without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age (40 or older), or disability. Employers should ensure that employment tests and other selection procedures are properly validated for the positions and purposes for which they are used. The test or selection procedure must be job related and its results appropriate for the employer’s purpose. While a test vendor’s documentation supporting the validity of a test may be helpful, the employer is still responsible for ensuring that its tests are valid under the UGESP (discussed in Chapter 9). If a selection procedure screens out a protected group, the employer should determine whether there is an equally effective alternative selection procedure that has less adverse impact and, if so, adopt the alternative procedure. For example, if the selection procedure is a test, the employer should determine whether another test would predict job performance but not disproportionately exclude the protected group. To ensure that a test or selection procedure remains predictive of success in a job, employers should keep abreast of changes in job requirements and should update the test specifications or selection procedures accordingly. Employers should ensure that tests and selection procedures are not adopted casually by managers who know little about these processes. A test or selection procedure can be an effective management tool, but no test or selection procedure should be implemented without an understanding of its effectiveness and limitations for the organization, its appropriateness for a specific job, and whether it can be appropriately administered and scored.

Note that these best practices apply to virtually all selection procedures or tools, not just tests. They emphasize the need for fair administration of these tools, the importance of the procedures being job related, usage of alternative valid selection procedures that have less adverse impact, and the updating of job requirements (KSAOs) and selection tools. In addition, casual usage of selection tools by uninformed managers is to be avoided.

SUMMARY Measurement, defined as the process of using rules to assign numbers to objects to represent quantities of an attribute of the objects, is an integral part of the foundation of staffing activities. Standardization of the measurement process is sought. This applies to each of the four levels of measurement: nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.


Standardization is also sought for both objective and subjective measures. Measures yield scores that represent the amount of the attribute being

measured. Scores are manipulated in various ways to aid in their interpretation. Typical manipulations involve central tendency and variability, percentiles, and standard scores. Scores are also correlated to learn about the strength and direction of the relationship between two attributes. The significance of the resultant correlation coefficient is then assessed.

The quality of measures involves issues of reliability and validity. Reliability refers to consistency of measurement, both at a moment in time and between time periods. Various procedures are used to estimate reliability, including coefficient alpha, interrater and intrarater agreement, and test–retest. Reliability places an upper limit on the validity of a measure.

Validity refers to accuracy of measurement and accuracy of prediction, as reflected by the scores obtained from a measure. Criterion-related and content validation studies are conducted to help learn about the validity of a measure. In criterion-related validation, scores on a predictor (KSAO) measure are correlated with scores on a criterion (HR outcome) measure. In content validation, there is no criterion measure, so judgments are made about the content of a predictor relative to the attribute that is intended to be measured as well as the content of the job itself. Traditionally, results of validation studies were treated as situation specific, meaning that the organization ideally should conduct a new and separate validation study for any predictor in any situation in which the predictor is to be used. Recently, however, studies have suggested that the validity of predictors may generalize across situations, meaning that the requirement of conducting costly and time-consuming validation studies in each specific situation could be relaxed. Staffing metrics such as cost per hire and benchmarks, representing how leading organizations staff positions, can be useful measures, but they are not substitutes for reliability and validity.

Various practical aspects of the collection of assessment data were described. Decisions about testing procedures and the acquisition of tests and test manuals require the attention of organizational decision makers. The collection of assessment data and the acquisition of tests and test manuals vary depending on whether paper-and-pencil or computerized selection measures are used. Finally, organizations need to attend to professional standards that govern the proper use of the collection of assessment data.

Measurement is also said to be an integral part of an organization’s EEO/AA compliance activities. When adverse impact is found, changes in measurement practices may be legally necessary. These changes will involve movement toward standardization of measurement and the methods


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for determining adverse impact.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Imagine and describe a staffing system for a job in which no measures

are used. 2. Describe how you might go about determining scores for applicants’

responses to (a) interview questions, (b) letters of recommendation, and (c) questions about previous work experience.

3. Give examples of when you would want the following for a written job knowledge test: (a) a low coefficient alpha (e.g., α = .35) and (b) a low test–retest reliability.

4. Assume you gave a general ability test, measuring both verbal and computational skills, to a group of applicants for a specific job. Also assume that because of severe hiring pressures, you hired all of the applicants, regardless of their test scores. How would you investigate the criterion-related validity of the test?

5. Using the same example as in question four, how would you go about investigating the content validity of the test?

6. What information does a selection decision maker need to collect in making staffing decisions? What are the ways in which this information can be collected?

ETHICAL ISSUES 1. Do individuals making staffing decisions have an ethical responsibility

to know measurement issues? Why or why not? 2. Is it unethical for an employer to use a selection measure that has high

empirical validity but lacks content validity? Explain.


Evaluation of Two New Assessment Methods for Selecting Telephone Customer Service Representatives

The Phonemin Company is a distributor of men’s and women’s casual clothing. It sells exclusively through its merchandise catalog, which is published four times per year to coincide with seasonal changes in customers’ apparel tastes. Customers may order merchandise from the catalog via mail or over the phone. Currently, 70% of orders are phone orders, and the organization expects this to increase to 85% within the next


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The success of the organization is obviously very dependent on the success of the telephone ordering system and the customer service representatives (CSRs) who staff the system. There are currently 185 CSRs; that number should increase to about 225 CSRs to handle the anticipated growth in phone order sales. Though the CSRs are trained to use standardized methods and procedures for handling phone orders, there are still seemingly large differences among them in their job performance. CSR performance is routinely measured in terms of error rate, speed of order taking, and customer complaints. The top 25% and lowest 25% of performers on each of these measures differ by a factor of at least three (i.e., the error rate of the bottom group is three times as high as that of the top group). Strategically, the organization knows that it could substantially enhance CSR performance (and ultimately sales) if it could improve its staffing “batting average” by more accurately identifying and hiring new CSRs who are likely to be top performers.

The current staffing system for CSRs is straightforward. Applicants are recruited through a combination of employee referrals and newspaper ads. Because turnover among CSRs is so high (50% annually), recruitment is a continuous process at the organization. Applicants complete a standard application blank, which asks for information about education and previous work experience. The information is reviewed by the staffing specialist in the HR department. Only obvious misfits are rejected at this point; the others (95%) are asked to have an interview with the specialist. The interview lasts 20–30 minutes, and at the conclusion the applicant is either rejected or offered a job. Due to the tightness of the labor market and the constant presence of vacancies to be filled, 90% of the interviewees receive job offers. Most of those offers (95%) are accepted, and the new hires attend a one-week training program before being placed on the job.

The organization has decided to investigate the possibilities of increasing CSR effectiveness through sounder staffing practices. In particular, it is not pleased with its current methods of assessing job applicants; it feels that neither the application blank nor the interview provides an accurate and in- depth assessment of the applicant KSAOs that are truly needed to be an effective CSR. Consequently, it engaged the services of a consulting firm that offers various methods of KSAO assessment, along with validation and installation services. In cooperation with the HR staffing specialist, the consulting firm conducted the following study for the organization.

A special job analysis led to the identification of several specific KSAOs likely to be necessary for successful performance as a CSR. Three of these (clerical speed, clerical accuracy, and interpersonal skills) were singled out for further consideration because of their seemingly high impact on job


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performance. Two new methods of assessment provided by the consulting firm were chosen for experimentation. The first is a paper-and-pencil clerical test assessing clerical speed and accuracy. It contains 50 items and has a 30-minute time limit. The second is a brief work sample that could be administered as part of the interview process. In the work sample, the applicant must respond to four different phone calls: a customer who is irate about an out-of-stock item, a customer who wants more product information about an item than was provided in the catalog, a customer who wants to change an order placed yesterday, and a customer who has a routine order to place. Using a 1–5 rating scale, the interviewer rates the applicant on tactfulness (T) and concern for customers (C). The interviewer is provided with a rating manual containing examples of exceptional (5), average (3), and unacceptable (1) responses by the applicant.

A random sample of 50 current CSRs were chosen to participate in the study. At Time 1 they were administered the clerical test and the work sample; performance data were also gathered from company records for error rate (number of errors per 100 orders), speed (number of orders filled per hour), and customer complaints (number of complaints per week). At Time 2, one week later, the clerical test and the work sample were re- administered to the CSRs. A member of the consulting firm sat in on all the interviews and served as a second rater of performance on the work sample at Time 1 and Time 2. It is expected that the clerical test and work sample will have positive correlations with speed and negative correlations with error rate and customer complaints.

Results for Clerical Test

Time 1 Time 2 Mean score 31.61 31.22 Standard deviation   4.70   5.11 Coefficient alpha     .85     .86 Test–retest r       .92* r with error rate     –.31*     –.37* r with speed       .41*       .39* r with complaints   –.11   –.08 r with work sample (T)     .21     .17 r with work sample (C)     .07     .15

Results for Work Sample (T)

Time 1 Time 2 Mean score 3.15 3.11 Standard deviation   .93 1.01


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% agreement (raters)       88%       79% r with work sample (C)      .81*      .77* r with error rate  –.13  –.12 r with speed    .11    .15 r with complaints    –.37*    –.35*

Results for Work Sample (C)

Time 1 Time 2 Mean score 2.91 3.07 Standard deviation   .99 1.10 % agreement (raters)       80%       82% r with work sample (T)     .81*     .77* r with error rate –.04 –.11 r with speed   .15   .14 r with complaints   –.40*   –.31* (Note: * means that r was significant at p < .05)

After reading the description of the study and observing the results above,

1. How do you interpret the reliability results for the clerical test and work sample? Are they favorable enough for Phonemin to consider using them “for keeps” in selecting new job applicants?

2. How do you interpret the validity results for the clerical test and work sample? Are they favorable enough for Phonemin to consider using them “for keeps” in selecting new job applicants?

3. What limitations in the above study should be kept in mind when interpreting the results and deciding whether to use the clerical test and work sample?

Conducting Empirical Validation and Adverse Impact Analysis Yellow Blaze Candle Shops provides a full line of various types of candles and accessories such as candleholders. Yellow Blaze has 150 shops in shopping malls and strip malls throughout the country. Over 600 salespeople staff these stores, each of which has a full-time manager. Staffing the manager’s position, by policy, must occur by promotion from within the sales ranks. The organization is interested in improving its identification of salespeople most likely to be successful store managers. It has developed a special technique for assessing and rating the suitability of salespeople for the manager’s job.

To experiment with this technique, the regional HR department


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representative reviewed and rated the promotion suitability of each store’s salespeople. They reviewed sales results, customer service orientation, and knowledge of store operations for each salesperson and then assigned a 1–3 promotion suitability rating (1 = not suitable, 2 = may be suitable, 3 = definitely suitable) on each of these three factors. Customer service orientation was rated based on supervisor and coworker observations of work behavior. These ratings incorporated evaluations of how often salespeople asked customers how they could help, how effectively salespeople were able to suggest products that matched customer requests, and how well salespeople ensured that customers were happy with their intended purchases at the end of the encounter. In most cases, ratings of customer service orientation were similar across managers and assistant managers, but there were some discrepancies. Knowledge of store operations was evaluated based on a standardized exam consisting of a variety of questions on managerial practices and procedures, refund and exchange policies, and record-keeping requirements. A total promotion suitability (PS) score, ranging from 3 to 9, was then computed for each salesperson.

The PS scores were gathered for all salespeople but were not formally used in promotion decisions. Over the past year, 30 salespeople were promoted to store manager. Now it is time for the organization to preliminarily investigate the validity of the PS scores and see whether their use results in adverse impact against women or minorities. Each store manager’s annual overall performance appraisal rating, ranging from 1 (low performance) to 5 (high performance), was used as the criterion measure in the validation study. The following data were available for analysis:

Employee ID

PS Score

Performance Rating

Sex M/F

Minority Status (M = Minority,

NM = Nonminority)

11 9 5 M NM 12 9 5 F NM 13 9 1 F NM 14 9 5 M M 15 8 4 F M 16 8 5 F M 17 8 4 M NM 18 8 5 M NM 19 8 3 F NM 20 8 4 M NM 21 7 5 F M


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22 7 3 M M 23 7 4 M NM 24 7 3 F NM 25 7 3 F NM 26 7 4 M NM 27 7 5 M M 28 6 4 F NM 29 6 4 M NM 30 6 2 F M 31 6 3 F NM 32 6 3 M NM 33 6 5 M NM 34 6 5 F NM 35 5 3 M NM 36 5 3 F M 37 5 2 M M 38 4 2 F NM 39 4 1 M NM 40 3 4 F NM

Using the data above, calculate the following:

1. Average PS scores for the whole sample, males, females, non- minorities, and minorities.

2. The correlation between PS scores and performance ratings, and its statistical significance (r = .37 or higher is needed for significance at p < .05).

3. Adverse impact (selection rate) statistics for males and females, and non-minorities and minorities. Use a PS score of 7 or higher as a hypothetical passing score (the score that might be used to determine who will or will not be promoted).

4. Average performance rating scores for the whole sample, males, females, non-minorities, and minorities. For each group, evaluate whether the performance rating scores are different for subgroups of employees. Also evaluate whether the magnitude of these differences is sizable enough to warrant concern for Yellow Blaze.

Using the data, results, and description of the study, answer the following questions:

1. Is the PS score a valid predictor of performance as a store manager? Do you see any potential reasons why either the customer service orientation measure or knowledge of store operations measure might be problematic? In answering, consider issues related to reliability and


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validity. 2. With a cut score of 7 on the PS, would its use lead to adverse impact

against women? Against minorities? If there is adverse impact, does the validity evidence justify use of the PS anyway?

3. What limitations do you see in the current study design? Do you think that the conclusions you would reach based on this sample of individuals who were promoted to store manager would generalize to the population of all salespeople who are being evaluated for promotion potential? Do you think that the method of rating performance is sufficient as a criterion, and if so, why? If not, what additional steps would you take to ensure that performance is measured adequately?

4. Would you recommend that Yellow Blaze use the PS score in making future promotion decisions? Why or why not? If you said yes, can you think of anything the company could do to make these measures even better than they are already? If you said no, can you think of any ways that this system might be improved?

5. One employee has raised questions regarding whether the performance ratings themselves are biased. This employee has not made a formal legal complaint against Yellow Blaze yet, but the organization wants to evaluate whether there is reason for concern. Based on the calculations you made regarding the differences for performance evaluation ratings for women relative to men, and for minorities relative to non-minorities, do you believe that there is reason for the organization to be concerned regarding this issue? In other words, do the data suggest that there is, in fact, a substantial difference in performance evaluation ratings for different groups of employees? How should the organization respond to this individual employee’s concerns?

ENDNOTES   1. E. E. Chen and S. P. Wojcik, “A Practical Guide to Big Data Research in

Psychology,” Psychological Methods, 2016, 21(4), pp. 458–474; J. Hugg, “Fast Data: The Next Step After Big Data,” InfoWorld, June 11, 2014 (; A. Lorentz, “Big Data, Fast Data, Smart Data,” Wired, Apr. 17, 2013 (; J. Spencer, “Which Do We Need More: Big Data or Fast Data?” Entrepreneur, Mar. 12, 2015 (; S. Tonidandel, E. B. King, and J. M. Cortina, “Big Data Methods: Leveraging Modern Data Analytic Techniques to Build Organizational Science,” Organizational Research Methods, in press, pp. 1–23.

  2. Chen and Wojcik, “A Practical Guide to Big Data Research in Psychology”; R. N. Landers, R. C. Brusso, K. J. Cavanaugh, and A. B. Collmus, “A Primer on


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Theory-Driven Web Scraping: Automatic Extraction of Big Data From the Internet for Use in Psychological Research,” Psychological Methods, 2016, 21(4), pp. 475–492; Tonidandel, King, and Cortina, “Big Data Methods: Leveraging Modern Data Analytic Techniques to Build Organizational Science.”

  3. D. Angrave, A. Charlwood, I. Kirkpatrick, M. Lawrence, and M. Stuart, “HR and Analytics: Why HR Is Set to Fail the Big Data Challenge,” Human Resource Management Journal [Provocation Series Paper], 2016, 26(1), pp. 1–11; J. D. Morrison, Jr., and J. D. Abraham, “Reasons for Enthusiasm and Caution Regarding Big Data in Applied Selection Research,” The Industrial- Organizational Psychologist, 2015, 52(3), pp. 134–139; T. Rasmussen and D. Ulrich, “Learning From Practice: How HR Analytics Avoids Being a Management Fad,” Organizational Dynamics, 2015, 44, pp. 236–242.

  4. E. F. Stone, Research Methods in Organizational Behavior (Santa Monica, CA: Goodyear, 1978), pp. 35–36.

  5. F. G. Brown, Principles of Educational and Psychological Testing (Hinsdale, IL: Dryden, 1970), pp. 38–45.

  6. Stone, Research Methods in Organizational Behavior, pp. 36–40.   7. F. P. Morgeson and J. D. Nahrgang, “Same as It Ever Was: Recognizing Stability

in the BusinessWeek Rankings,” Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2005, 7, pp. 26–41.

  8. W. H. Bommer, J. L. Johnson, G. A. Rich, P. M. Podsakoff, and S. B. McKenzie, “On the Interchangeability of Objective and Subjective Measures of Employee Performance: A Meta-Analysis,” Personnel Psychology, 1995, 48, pp. 587–606; R. L. Heneman, “The Relationship Between Supervisory Ratings and Results-Oriented Measures of Performance: A Meta-Analysis,” Personnel Psychology, 1986, 39, pp. 811–826.

  9. S. Adler, M. Campion, A. Colquitt, A. Grubb, K. Murphy, R. Ollander-Krane, and E. D. Pulakos, “Getting Rid of Performance Ratings: Genius or Folly? A Debate,” Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 2016, 9, pp. 219–252; J. P. Campbell and B. M. Wiernik, “The Modeling and Assessment of Work Performance,” Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2015, 2, 47–74; T. A. O’Neill, M. J. W. McLarnon, and J. J. Carswell, “Variance Components of Job Performance Ratings,” Human Performance, 2015, 28, pp. 66–91; A. W. Sutton, S. P. Baldwin, L. Wood, and B. J. Hoffman, “A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between Rater Liking and Performance Ratings,” Human Performance, 2013, 26, pp. 409–429.

10. E. C. Dierdorff, E. A. Surface, and K. G. Brown, “Frame-of-Reference Training Effectiveness: Effects of Goal Orientation and Self-Efficacy on Affective, Cognitive, Skill-Based, and Transfer Outcomes,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2010, 95, pp. 1181–1191; S. G. Roch, D. J. Woehr, V. Mishra, and U. Kieszczynska, “Rater Training Revisited: An Updated Meta-Analytic Review of Frame-of-Reference Training,” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 2012, 85, pp. 370–395; D. J. Woehr and A. I. Huffcutt, “Rater Training for Performance Appraisal: A Quantitative Review,” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 1994, 67, pp. 189–205.

11. This section draws on Brown, Principles of Educational and Psychological Testing, pp. 158–197; L. J. Cronbach, Essentials of Psychological Testing, 4th ed. (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), pp. 81–120; N. W. Schmitt and R. J. Klimoski, Research Methods in Human Resources Management (Cincinnati, OH: South-Western, 1991), pp. 41–87.


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12. J. T. McClave and P. G. Benson, Statistics for Business and Economics, 3rd ed. (San Francisco: Dellan, 1985); see “t Table” (

13. For an excellent review, see Schmitt and Klimoski, Research Methods in Human Resources Management, pp. 88–114.

14. This section draws on E. G. Carmines and R. A. Zeller, Reliability and Validity Assessment (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1979).

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19. J. F. Binning and G. V. Barrett, “Validity of Personnel Decisions: A Conceptual Analysis of the Inferential and Evidential Bases,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1989, 74, pp. 478–494; R. P. Bagozzi, Y. Yi, and L. W. Phillips, “Assessing Construct Validity in Organizational Research,” Administrative Science Quarterly, 1991, 36, pp. 421–458; J. R. Edwards, “Construct Validation in Organizational Behavior Research,” in J. Greenberg (ed.), Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science, 2nd ed. (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003), pp. 311–354.

20. Heneman, Schwab, Fossum, and Dyer, Personnel/Human Resource Management, pp. 300–310.

21. M. Sussmann and D. U. Robertson, “The Validity of Validity: An Analysis of Validation Study Designs,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1986, 71, pp. 461– 468.

22. R. S. Barrett, “Content Validation Form,” Public Personnel Management, 1992, 21, pp. 41–52; E. E. Ghiselli, J. P. Campbell, and S. Zedeck, Measurement Theory for the Behavioral Sciences (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1981).

23. K. R. Murphy, “Content Validation Is Useful for Many Things, but Validity Isn’t One of Them,” Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2009, 2, pp. 453–464.

24. F. Schmidt and J. Hunter, “History, Development, Evolution, and Impact of Validity Generalization and Meta-Analysis Methods, 1975–2001,” in K. R. Murphy (ed.), Validity Generalization: A Critical Review (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003), pp. 31–65; K. R. Murphy, “Synthetic Validity: A Great Idea Whose Time Never Came,” Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2010,


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3(3), pp. 356–359; K. R. Murphy, “Validity, Validation and Values,” Academy of Management Annals, 2009, 3, pp. 421–461.

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27. A. Whyte, “Hiring Goes From ‘Stat’ to Analyzing Stats,” Workforce Magazine, Oct. 2015, p. 10.

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32. J. A. Naglieri, F. Drasgow, M. Schmit, L. Handler, A. Prifitera, A. Margolis, and R. Velasquez, “Psychological Testing on the Internet,” American Psychologist, Apr. 2004, 59, pp. 150–162; R. E. Ployhart, J. A. Weekley, B. C. Holtz, and C. Kemp, “Web-Based and Paper-and-Pencil Testing of Applicants in a Proctored Setting: Are Personality, Biodata, and Situational Judgment Tests Comparable?” Personnel Psychology, 2003, 56, pp. 733–752; S. Power, “Federal Official Faults TSA Screener Testing as ‘Inane,’ ” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 9, 2003, pp. B1–B2.

33. See the Society for Human Resource Management Talent Assessment Center (

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36. R. E. Ployhart and B. C. Holtz, “The Diversity-Validity Dilemma: Strategies for Reducing Racioethnic and Sex Subgroup Differences and Adverse Impact in Selection,” Personnel Psychology, 2008, 61, pp. 153–172.

37. Bobko and Roth, “Reviewing, Categorizing, and Analyzing the Literature on Black-White Mean Differences for Predictor