Category Archives: Employment Screening

Suddenly, the Unemployable Are Finding Jobs

Source: Meagan Day, Jacobin, March 14, 2018

With a tightening labor market, CEOs are chasing after the same workers they once derided as unemployable. ….

The post-2008 recession and slow recovery witnessed a spate of reporting and commentary on the so-called “skills gap”. The gist of the argument was that if rates of joblessness remained stubbornly high, it was because workers weren’t good enough for existing jobs: they needed better education, better preparatory training, better skills, and resumes. The bottom line was that workers needed to fix themselves to fit into the economy — not the other way around.

As the economic recovery accelerates, the spuriousness of that argument comes into ever-sharper relief. It turns out corporations were just being picky, taking advantage of a slack labor market and weak demand for their products to discard twenty or a hundred job applications at a time in search of the one perfect employee who — beleaguered by competition and desperate for employment — would work for the wages of an imperfect one.

How do we know that was happening? Because it’s starting to not happen anymore. The labor market is tightening, and companies’ hiring standards are plummeting — showing just how cooked-up those standards were to begin with…..

The Coming Decline of the Employment Drug Test

Source: Rebecca Greenfield, Jennifer Kaplan, Bloomberg, March 5, 2018

Employers are struggling to hire workers in the tightening U.S. job market. Marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., meaning more than one in five American adults can eat, drink, smoke or vape as they please. The result is the slow decline of pre-employment drug tests, which for decades had been a requirement for new recruits in industries ranging from manufacturing to finance…..

Predictive algorithms are no better at telling the future than a crystal ball

Source: Uri Gal, The Conversation, February 11, 2018

An increasing number of businesses invest in advanced technologies that can help them forecast the future of their workforce and gain a competitive advantage.

Many analysts and professional practitioners believe that, with enough data, algorithms embedded in People Analytics (PA) applications can predict all aspects of employee behavior: from productivity, to engagement, to interactions and emotional states.

Predictive analytics powered by algorithms are designed to help managers make decisions that favourably impact the bottom line. The global market for this technology is expected to grow from US$3.9 billion in 2016 to US$14.9 billion by 2023.

Despite the promise, predictive algorithms are as mythical as the crystal ball of ancient times….

How to Hire

Source: Patty McCord, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2018

…. Making great hires is about recognizing great matches—and often they’re not what you’d expect. ….

…. In this article I’ll describe what I’ve learned about making great hires during my 14 years at Netflix and in subsequent consulting on culture and leadership. The process requires probing beneath the surface of people and their résumés; engaging managers in every aspect of hiring; treating your in-house recruiters as true business partners; adopting a mindset in which you’re always recruiting; and coming up with compensation that suits the performance you need and the future you aspire to. My observations may be especially relevant to fast-growing tech-based firms, whose rapid innovation means a continual need for new talent. But organizations of all types can benefit from taking a fresh look at their hiring and compensation practices. ….

Smoky Lines: Whether to Accommodate Employees’ Use of Medicinal Marijuana May Now Depend on State Law

Source: Lindsey A. White, Shelby Skeabeck, and Jeremy Himmelstein, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 68, Issue No. 4, Winter 2017
(subscription required)

The interplay between federal law–which bans marijuana for any purpose–and state law, which increasingly permits marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes, is presenting a challenging legal landscape for employers. Following a handful of recent court decisions, the general advice that employers could flatly prohibit marijuana use and did not have to provide accommodations has gone up in smoke.

Who Gets Hired? The Importance of Competition among Applicants

Source: Edward P. Lazear, Kathryn L. Shaw, Christopher T. Stanton, Journal of Labor Economics, Volume 36, Number S1, January 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Being hired into a job depends not only on one’s own skill but also on that of other applicants. When another able applicant applies, a well-suited worker may be forced into unemployment or into accepting an inferior job. A model of this process defines over- and underqualification and provides predictions on its prevalence and on the wages of mismatched workers. It also implies that unemployment is concentrated among the least skilled workers, while vacancies are concentrated among high-skilled jobs. Four data sets are used to confirm the implications and establish that the hiring probability is low when competing applicants are able.

Are Zero Tolerance Drug Testing Policies About to Go Up in Smoke?

Source: Nathaniel M. Glasser, Employee Benefit Plan Review, Vol. 72 no. 2, October 2017
(subscription required)

In an important recent decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held that a qualifying patient who has been terminated from employment for testing positive for marijuana as a result of her lawful medical marijuana use may state a claim of disability discrimination under that state’s anti-discrimination statute. Much like a similar decision in Rhode Island, this holding has significant implications for employers that drug test for marijuana use because 29 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted legislation legalizing medical or recreational marijuana use, or both.

Can You Fire Someone for Attending a Rally of Racists?

Source: Jon Steingart, Daily Labor Report, August 14, 2017

A campaign to publicly identify participants in white supremacist rallies has been met with calls for employers to fire the protesters. That’s the dilemma Top Dogs in Berkeley, Calif., faced after Twitter user @YesYoureRacist shared a photo it said showed one of the hot dog restaurant’s employees at a demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. Participants carried torches and reportedly chanted “white lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.” The next day, participants showed up carrying Nazi swastikas, Confederate battle flags, and insignia of white supremacist groups…..

Given a test to apply for a job? Watch out if you are not a white man

Source: Will Evans, Reveal, May 23, 2017

There’s a hidden form of discrimination blocking job seekers across the country.

It’s not a cabal of racist, sexist hiring managers colluding to give white men an advantage – though it can have the same effect.

It’s the misuse of employment tests – which measure reading, math and other cognitive skills – that can unfairly disadvantage minorities and women without the employers or the job applicants even realizing it…..