The services help weed out applicants who appear to lack qualifications. But this convenient shortcut can create hidden liability.
If the screening results show a disproportionately negative impact on minority applicants or applicants over age 40, your company (not the screening service) could be liable under job anti-discrimination laws.
You typically can prevent disparate-impact lawsuits — those in which your hiring practices appear to be neutral but actually have an unequal impact on a “protected” group of people — by monitoring the results of any pre-employment test.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suggests that you use the “80 percent” rule: If minority-pass rates for a test are less than 80 percent of the rate for majority applicants, the test is considered to exert a disparate impact on minorities.
But remember: That’s a general rule, not a government regulation.
Key point: It’s best to use pre-hire tests that show no disparate impact. But just because a test doesn’t exert a discriminatory impact on minorities, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically legal. Employers can avoid liability in such cases by showing that the test serves a legitimate business purpose.
You must test how applicants will respond to real conditions on the job.