Perform Individualized Assessments - Screening Potential Employees

 by Joe Killinger

If you get results that are unsettling to you should consider performing a personal assessment. Inform the candidate of the results and inquire further about the results. Once you have gained more insight to the situation you are better prepared to make your decision. When you come across an applicant that has a criminal record you should be aware that ¼ of the American population has some sort of record, it is certain that you will come across applicants whose criminal records you’ll have to consider. If you decide to exclude an applicant because of a criminal background check, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has established that the right approach is to take into account individual circumstances through the practice of individualized assessments.

Employers need a written policy that sets the baseline for how its individualized assessment process will take place. This action can save you a lot of time and headache as this policy will definitely but a main topic in any discrimination lawsuit brought forward.

Employers should create a position-specific matrix to match specific kinds of criminal records with job disqualifiers and ensure consistency in application.

While matrices should not be used as an automatic disqualifier in many cases, with the exception generally being regulated industries, they can be useful tools in ensuring consistent application across a business.  For example, if there is a minor crime that you believe is not job-related to a specific position, that can be listed as a ‘pass’ or ‘clear’ on a matrix. If there are other crimes that you believe may be job-related, however, those could be highlighted as ‘needs review’ and escalated to a centralized authority.

The matrix should produce a documented, consistent rationale behind the types of offenses that would or would not preclude someone with a criminal history from filling a particular position. But a one-size-fits-all matrix with blanket disqualifiers for criminal records could lead to disparate impact claims.

Another important aspect of conducting compliant individualized assessments is ensuring consistency across business units and locations. Many employers create a centralized review process so that the practice becomes more efficient, generally faster and promotes consistency throughout your company.