2 Reasons Why One-Stop-Shop Employment Screenings Can Be Dangerous

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 7, 2016 8:00:00 AM / by Deborah Lechner

One stop shopping has become quite popular in many aspects of life, making many tedious tasks a lot more convenient. However, there are some areas of life where the one stop can cause more problems than it solves. This is certainly the case with pre employment screening, where mistaking efficiency for effectiveness can have serious consequences.

For that reason, using a specialist – a testing provider who has taken the time to master every aspect of just one category of employment screening – makes better business sense than relying on a firm that offers a one-stop-shop testing experience. To illustrate that point, here are two reasons why one-stop-shop employment screenings can be downright dangerous to your business.

Reason #1: Regulatory Compliance and Legal Defensibility are Complex Issues

Running afoul of local, state, or federal employment regulations can be an extremely costly mistake, leading to citations, substantial fines and, in many cases, lawsuits. Employment testing, whether it is used as part of the hiring process or as a tool to assess existing employees for transfers or promotions, is heavily regulated under employment law. Those regulations are not only quite complex, but they also differ significantly according to the particular type of testing in question.

For instance, some types of pre employment screenings can be done early in the hiring process – such as personality or integrity tests – while other assessments are forbidden until after a conditional offer of employment has been extended. These include drug testing, medical exams, health screenings, criminal background checks, and most job-specific Physical Ability Tests, among others.

Incorrect timing is not the only issue that can cost your company in terms of regulatory compliance. Even when a company is using pre employment screening tools that are permissible for use with preliminary applicants, certain topics and/or questions are off-limits.

Random drug testing programs, while permissible in most employment situations and required in some, can get you in hot water if proper procedures in choosing individuals for testing aren't in place. Medical exams, even when done post-offer, can lead to discrimination claims if they request or require genetic information about candidates or employees – including a family medical history.

These are just a few examples of the many complexities involved in ensuring that employment testing complies with employment law. Given the plethora of rules, regulations, exceptions, and gray areas surrounding each type of employment testing, it isn't likely that any one provider has mastered the legalities relevant to all of them. A provider who focuses on one specific area of employment screening, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to become intimately familiar with every aspect of law related to that specialty.

Reason #2: True Expertise is Essential to Effective Employment Screening

The end goal of employment screening is to help employers ensure that their workplaces are staffed with workers who are well-suited to their jobs. When testing programs are effective in meeting that goal, employment screening can yield benefits that include a faster, more accurate hiring process, decreased employee turnover, increased productivity, better workplace morale, fewer workplace injuries, and reduced workers' comp costs, among others. When they are not effective, they can be a drain on the bottom line, increasing costs without producing results.

Maximizing the effectiveness of a particular screening method takes both long experience and deep expertise. Physical Abilities Testing, to take one example, requires a range of skills and the judgment to apply it, including conducting the job analysis, designing the job-specific tests, training the clinicians who will be doing the testing, implementing the tests consistently across a variety of locations, testing incumbents to enhance the test’s validity, and conducting ongoing monitoring of the program’s results. It’s a unique set of skills the one-stop-shop isn’t likely to possess.

Hiring is one of the most tightly regulated and highly litigious areas of business today. Thus it's essential that expertise is backed by a reliable, accurate, and objective testing protocol. Testing protocols utilized by generalist providers can be quite subjective in nature – introducing evaluator bias, scoring inconsistency, and program-wide inaccuracy. That’s why it’s so important to choose a provider whose test has the validation research to support its accuracy should a legal challenge ever arise.

Given the necessary expertise and attention to detail required to do pre employment testing right (and after all, what’s the point of doing it wrong?), using testing providers who possess in-depth knowledge in one or two primary areas of expertise is sure to be a better strategy than using a one-stop-shop provider who knows a little bit about a lot of testing methods, but lacks the true expertise to deliver an accurate, effective, and truly defensible testing program.

When are Physical abilities test best performed

Topics: Pre Employment Screening

Deborah Lechner

Written by Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.