Selection, Fit and Lawful AI Testing in Recruiting

Selection is the process of choosing the best-qualified applicant who was recruited for a given job (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 167).  Since employees are the most important asset in a business, due to the fact that the success of the company comes from the effectiveness of the employees, it is of utmost importance to make sure there is a good fit between the person and the job or else a mismatch will potentially cause any number of different problems (p. 168).  Bad hires cost time and money, they result in lower productivity, and it can cause a company to incur liability for negligence in hiring a bad enough of a hire (p. 168).

Being a supervisor in a private patrol business myself, I have multiple years of first-hand experience with the reality of how a bad hire costs time and money.  Not being involved with the finance side of the private patrol business where I work, I have had to train new people who are too quickly being hired to replace the last people who were too quickly hired, and it becomes a type of burnout and feels like a waste of time.  I think it makes my personal productivity go lower and sometimes I am tempted to cut corners and might not always invest as much time in training different private patrol officers because they just seem rather quickly like they will probably become the next to quickly quit.  It’s a bad cycle and I myself as a supervisor work to be more motivated and focus in on what specific things each new trainee needs help with, but if there were some sort of way to better vet people for the type of private patrol post we operate, it would be a very welcome respite.  This fits exactly congruently with the idea that rushing leads to higher turnover rate and then more time and money must be spent to select and replace the bad hires (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 168).

It is also true that bad hires result in lower productivity (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 168).  Employees who exhibit bad work attitudes and do the minimum amount of work, ignore client requests, tend to personal conversations rather than work tasks, and don’t go out of their way to accomplish tasks really do begin to rub off on the other employees and they also become tiresome to supervisors who can end up putting up with lower work standards simply to keep hours filled, and then take on more work themselves (p. 168).  It can wear out every other employee who does do their work properly because they also, not just management, have to pick up the slack (p. 168).  Selection is so many times over one of the most important parts of business because not hiring the right person can become way too burdensome on the rest of the workers in a business (p. 168).

A bad hire can also cause the employer to be held liable for the actions of the employee in a basic liability case (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 168).  Negligence has four parts to it: Duty, Breach, Causation and Damages.  An employer has the basic duty to hire an employee who can properly discharge their work duties without damaging the client or other people.  If they then hire a person who poses an actual threat and it should be known by the employer that they have different red flags that indicate this, and this bad hire then in fact causes damage to somebody then negligence has occurred, and the employer can be found liable (p. 168).  It is then therefore required that an employer work to cover all lawful bases in their efforts to properly and thoroughly research the backgrounds of their new hires so that the new employee does not injure and/or damage anybody (p. 168).

Screening for fit involves a number of steps (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 169).  For most businesses the process starts when a person submits a job application after the company first posts a job opening, then recruiting professionals generally either do or do not have a test that an applicant must pass before they conduct an interview (p. 169).  HR then also does background checks and follows up on references before sending the most qualified job applicants to the department manager under whom they will potentially be working (p. 169).  Managers then either offer a conditional job offer or not which then entails maybe a drug test and maybe a physical test (p. 169).  Then an applicant is hired after this point.  AI is used by HR at every step in the process to evaluate who the best candidates for a job are (p. 169).

Putting job candidates into positions based on personality traits after first identifying a job candidates personality type is called personality-job fit (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 170).  How we act and react has to do with personality and it largely determines how we respond to situations at work and make decisions about work tasks (p. 170).  Around 60%-70% of job applicants in the U.S. take personality tests which points to the importance of personality-job fit and this is largely due to the fact that personality is a predictor of job performance (p. 170).  It is important to have experience and skills in job positions, but objectively categorizing personality traits and matching them with job requirements has shown a better correlation with long-term success and staying interested and engaged with work (p. 170).  AI powered games from businesses like Pymetrics are used to assess personality traits (p. 170).

Ability-job fit has a double set of slippery slopes with underqualified people in one direction becoming frustrated and quitting because they cannot perform to standards (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 170).  On the opposite end of the spectrum, overqualified people in the other direction not being sufficiently motivated to perform at a higher level with respect to tasks and duties that are too easy for them (p. 170).  Every person has a set of physical and intellectual skills and capabilities and as close of a fit as possible is the best thing to do for maximum efficiency and performance (p. 170).

Businesses want people who can work well together in different team groupings, and this has largely to do with a person’s cultural fit or what is called person-organization fit (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 170-171).  Person-organization fit reflects the alignment between the values of an employee and the values of an organization.  Consequently, a proper fit can foster commitment and job satisfaction, while a mismatch may lead to feeling like an outsider even when the person is in their perfect industry (Dust, Online Article). It is a balancing act to give all people a chance to grow inside of a business while at the same time hiring people who are a really good person-organization fit for the culture of the business.

“In 1978, the EEOC, Civil Service Commission, and the U.S. Labor Department issued guidelines for the legal use of employee selection procedures. Those guidelines, the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, describe in detail how organizations can legally use tests and other selection methods” (GreggU, YouTube).  As previously mentioned, HR in our modern business world uses AI in every step of the selection process and the UGESP has set guidelines on what an employment test is, and what are valid and reliable measures in tests that utilize proper criterion, proper content, proper construct and are reliable (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 172-173).  The specifics of how testing guidelines work is beyond the scope of this paper but suffice it to say it consists of the specific legalities of how in general appropriate and unbiased methodologies are used to determine the best fit for job openings in businesses and fit inside of the context of selection can make or break a company.  Hiring must always be done with the different elements of fit we have discussed in this paper with the thought in mind that not everybody is going to be exactly the same and we would not want that to be the case in any type of business.  Different people bring different value to each business.


Bibliographic Information

Lussier and Hendon (2022). Human Resource Management, Functions, Applications, and Skill Development (4th ed., pp. 167-173). Sage.

Dust, S. (2020). What is Job Fit and Why Does It Matter?  A breakdown of job fit, its implications, and how to obtain it.

GreggU. (2019, March 13). Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures [Video]. YouTube.