SOURCE: Growth Ventures, Inc.

Growth Ventures, Inc.

May 24, 2011 13:10 ET

With the Uptick in Private Sector Hiring, Cutting-Edge Recruiting and Hiring Tools Can Prompt Legal Problems

New and Effective Candidate Selection Techniques, Including Social Media, Carry Legal Risks, as Do Tactics Employers "Could Have Used but Didn't" -- Four Steps Can Help Avert Legal Headaches, Says Dr. David P. Jones, Author of Million-Dollar Hire and President of Growth Ventures, Inc.

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 24, 2011) - With job openings growing, hiring is on the increase -- March 2011 alone saw private sector employers hire 3.8 million workers -- and so is the risk for employer legal headaches, especially as new selection tools go into action at the same time enforcement shifts into a higher gear.

"More hiring is great news for the labor market, but increased recruiting and hiring means more risk, and a greater chance employers will face legal challenges to the hiring decisions they make," says Dr. David P. Jones, author of the new book Million-Dollar Hire: Build Your Bottom Line, One Employee at a Time (Jossey-Bass, April 2011 www.million-dollarhire.com).

"In fact, some of the very things employers are doing to improve their speed and quality of hiring, and reduce the costs, open the door for legal challenge," says Jones, a recruitment expert who is president of human capital advisory firm Growth Ventures, Inc. "And making mistakes brings the cost to defend the organization, judgments if you lose, bad press and even the loss of business... all things a CEO doesn't want," adds Jones.

There are lots of ways recruiting and hiring programs can go wrong, according to Jones, who frequently serves as an expert witness in challenges to employer hiring practices. He offers four steps that can help:

  • Understand that technologies, including social networking media, which help hiring also open up risks of breaking employment rules. "Today's exploding array of technology is serving up countless tools to drive recruiting and hiring programs. Most add speed or better 'quality of hire' to the process. But it's important that employers know the downside that comes with some of these tools. For example, not many employers know the increasingly popular use of technology to collect social networking information from Facebook, LinkedIn and similar sites to evaluate a candidate can actually violate terms of the federal government's Fair Credit Reporting Act," says Jones.

  • Examine the fine line between what a company is allowed to use a hiring technology for and what it's not. "It's not only what you use, but how you use it that can bring a legal challenge. For example, using technology solutions that assemble and 'read' resumes to identify candidates who meet a job's basic qualifications is fine. But using the same technology to rank-order and choose the top 10 out of 1,000 for interviews brings a whole different set of requirements. While the rules are pretty straightforward, many employers just do not know them," adds Jones.

  • Search early on for land mines in the results of a hiring program. "A host of regulations look at the bottom line results of employers' hiring efforts. Many monitor equal employment opportunity and affirmative action outcomes. Hiring programs whose results fall short of an employer's objectives or reflect barriers to certain candidate groups become targets for compliance agency review and challenge, or for litigation by outside parties. There's an increasing need to monitor results and look for land mines before someone else does," says Jones.

  • Realize that technologies and tactics the company doesn't use can matter from a legal standpoint -- "If you had done this, you wouldn't have run afoul of that..." "Some of the legal actions brought against employers these days challenge not what was done, but what might have been done. For example, a challenge might claim that an employer could have used different tools, or used them in different ways, and had a less negative effect on the employment opportunities of groups protected by equal employment opportunity laws. This is where things can get awfully complicated," Jones says.

In Million-Dollar Hire, Jones reviews some of the steps employers can take to avoid the courtroom, and still take advantage of today's best practices in recruiting and hiring. He explains how pulling the idea of job-relatedness into the recruiting and hiring process -- using tools and techniques that tap what's really important in the job -- is the best way to reduce legal risk.

"Most areas in an enterprise seek to balance risk and payoff. Recruiting and hiring are no different, and no single approach is bullet-proof," he says. "But there are ways to reduce risk, and still gain payoff from the best practices. It takes planning, and knowledge of what invites challenges, along with tracking results and staying alert to the red flags that wave now and then."

"The rules are changing, particularly as new technologies blossom and new decisions flow from the courts. A regular check-up is the best tool to make sure we draw the best financial payoff from the way we hire -- and avoid spending it all in court," he adds.

An example of a tool, HireCompliance,that can help employers monitor their recruiting and hiring practices is available for viewing at www.million-dollarhire.com. The tool was developed by Jones and labor and employment attorney Jeff Ross of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

For more information, or to arrange an interview or bylined article, contact Frank Lentini of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or lentini@sommerfield.com.

About David P. Jones, Ph. D.

David P. Jones, Ph.D., author of Million-Dollar Hire, is among the few HR strategists to found and develop a major business enterprise. He is the president of Growth Ventures, Inc., a human capital advisory firm. He has worked as an organizational psychologist for over thirty years, and launched HRStrategies, an international human resources consulting and outsourcing firm recognized as one of the fastest-growing consulting companies in the U.S. prior to its acquisition by Aon Corporation.

Million-Dollar Hire: Building Your Bottom Line, One Employee at a Time provides business leaders and HR executives with tools for translating recruiting and hiring decisions into financial returns.

Even in a down economy, U.S. business and government make millions of hiring decisions every year. Every decision carries risk. Every hire is an investment. Ideally, everyone pays a return. In today's demanding environment, companies no longer have room to get it wrong. Million-Dollar Hire shows how leading companies have re-invented themselves, beat their competition, and added millions to their bottom lines with re-engineered recruiting and hiring practices. Using practical, real world illustrations, it shows that there are tools to treat every hiring decision with the same focus a business applies in acquiring other high-value assets. Million-Dollar Hire was published April 5, 2011 by Jossey-Bass.

For more information, visit www.million-dollarhire.com.

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