PDC Test - Strategic Staffing

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Strategic Staffing

by Mary Ann Lufkin

Whether your freelance firm is staffed with independent contractors and employees or strictly employees, these guidelines for hiring will apply. For consistency, the example of an office manager position is used throughout.

Legal requirement of hiring

The recordkeeping policies for firms with more than 15 employees are mandated by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act: employment records, including forms created during the hiring process, must be maintained for six months (Wendover, 2002). Records relating to a discrimination charge must be maintained until the disposition of the complaint (Wendover, 2002). It is simpler to maintain all hiring records for one year to comply with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Once an applicant is hired, however, all compensation records must be preserved for two years to comply with the Equal Pay Act.

After all the legal bases are covered, a hiring team consisting of members from your support staff should be assembled. It is important to diversity the composition of this team. An interviewer may relate more readily to an applicant of similar age and personality, a phenomenon known as the “halo effect.” Conversely, an interviewer may not relate to an applicant of different age and personality, a phenomenon known as the “horn effect.” Hiring decisions made by more than one person are less likely to be influenced by the Halo or Horn Effect and may be easier to defend if a complaint is filed.

Meet with the hiring team to discuss the laws regarding the following job-related sets:

  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Appearance and dress
  • Criminal record
  • Handicap.

Definitions of hiring laws should be provided to the hiring team to ensure they have a strong working knowledge of:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Equal Pay Act
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Economizing the recruiting budget

To help reduce the cost per hire, attend a career day at a court reporting school. Many agencies hire reporting students as support staff on a part-time basis. After the students pass the RPR, you will know whether the new reporters are behavioral and cultural fits.

Listing job vacancies on your Web site rather than a job-search engine is also economical. However, if you receive fewer responses than anticipated, the content should be modified. If inappropriate candidates are applying, the specificity of the job qualifications should be increased. An additional benefit is that applications received through your Web site allow the hiring team to prescreen for education and experience.

If you budget for a job-search engine, create a list of keywords associated with the court reporting industry and a hotlink to your Web site to enhance the efficiency of your advertisement. Sample keywords for an office manager are “leadership,” “problem solving,” and “team player.” Results of the postings should be tracked to discontinue sites that are not providing a sufficient number of leads or the appropriate candidates (Wendover, 2022). Investigate employment agencies to determine their success rates before engaging their services.

Recruiting basics

The labor requirements of your firm can be outlined by creating a staffing forecast (Reference “Does Your Freelance Firm Need an HR Plan?” Feb. 2009 JCR, pp. 42 and 43). A checklist of recruiting basics, which might include the following, will help to guide your specific staffing needs:

  • Recruit from within
  • Budget for recruiting
  • Track referrals
  • Ensure your postings do not contain any potentially discriminatory statements or inference
  • Consider senior workers and individuals with disabilities
  • Examine alternative work plans such as flexible scheduling and telecommuting
  • Create an internship program (Wendover, 2002)

Evaluation of resumes

Career progression and salary history should be studied to prioritize individual applicants. Members of the hiring team should prescreen résumés and rate each one as:

  • Exceeds criteria
  • Meets criteria
  • Does not meet criteria

The team should meet to discuss discrepancies in their scores and develop a priority list of candidates to interview. Candidates classified as one and two should be interviewed once the application deadline has passed. If the pay scale is at the market level, consider whether the candidates categorized as two, “meets criteria,” will be a organizational fit and, when fostered, are likely to evolve to a one, “exceeds criteria.” Criteria for judging if applicants are a good organizational fit include:

  • Integrity<
  • Positive attitude
  • Passion to listen, learn, and grow
  • Competent and confident (Mitchell, 2008)

Background Checks

It is more effective to perform the background checks after the interview process is completed (Outlaw, 1998). Background checks include confirmation of employment, education, licensing, and criminal history. They help eliminate the specter of negligent hiring, where an employee can sue for wrongful termination, claiming the employer was negligent during the hiring process. Therefore, it is important that an employment contract contain a clause averring that false statements on an application are grounds for termination.

There are federal laws relating to reference checking. An applicant’s age, race, sex, religious, national origin, marital status, or sexual orientation should never be asked. The person interviewing should be the person to telephone the references, because the interviewer possesses the optimum knowledge of the job requirements and challenges as well as the personalities of the potential employee’s coworkers (Barada, 2004.)

A background check should catch whether a résumé may be false and if an applicant was terminated for cause. Also, a background check is useful when checking on candidates who were self-employed or worked for family. To comply with privacy laws, clearly state on the application that pre-employment background checks will be instituted (Outlaw, 1998). A signed application is mandated if background investigations are outsourced.

Job postings should specifically request professional references with telephone numbers. The applicant should provide a list of at least three people with whom he or she has worked on a professional basis. At least one of the references should be from a former superior (Barada, 2004). Personal references are less useful than professional ones.
 
If a candidate has worked at the current place of employment for more than five years, a call to the candidate’s supervisor may cause difficulty for the potential hire. Encourage the applicant to discuss providing a confidential reference with his or her current supervisor. There are waivers that grant permission from prospective employees for you to contact their references (Barada, 2004).
 
When vetting an applicant, telephonic reference checks may be more illuminating than mailed questionnaires. If the answers are terse, the checker can ask a follow-up questions. Asking the reference to compare the employee’s performance to others’ performance, rather than asking them to rate the employee’s performance, decreases the incidence of one-word answers. An open-ended question such as “Would you describe the applicant’s style of management?” may increase the information provided.

Scorecard

A scorecard should be developed to help define the desired cultural fit for your company and should encompass the job’s mission, outcomes, and competencies (Smart, 2008). Think of it as a triangle with the job’s mission at the apex, outcomes supporting the mission, and competencies supporting the outcomes. A scorecard enables an employee to know what to focus on, and enables managers or owners to measure performance. A scorecard differs from a job posting in that it does not list transactional responsibilities.

The mission section of a scorecard is a short statement describing why a role exists and should not be confused with the mission statement of the agency; it aligns with the business strategy. For example, the scorecard’s mission for an office manager might be: to increase market share and interact with clients while providing the highest level of courtesy (Smart, 2008). A positions’ mission does not need to be written in jargon. The hiring team will be more proficient following a simply written mission. Furthermore, a clear mission may lead to hiring a specialist who can solve a problem rather than a generalist who can merely identify a problem (Smart, 2008). The more responsibility a position entails – the responsibilities of an office manager for instance – the greater the need for a specialist. If the office manager is expected to increase the market share, the mission should include marketing. If the office manager position is purely transactional, the mission might read: “Responsible for the daily managing of the agency.” Every time a vacancy is filled, determine whether the mission is still apropos.

Basically, outcomes define what must be accomplished (Smart, 2008). Outcomes inform the applicants of the skills and goals upon which they will be reviewed. Outcomes also make it easier to monitor whether the employee is on track. The outcomes should be ranked in order of their importance. For example, the outcomes for an office manager might begin with increasing market share, followed by a specific deadline from the marketing plan, and end with transactional duties, such as generating monthly reports and cross-training of the support staff. Listing challenging outcomes will result both in having unqualified candidates deselect themselves from the hiring process and in attracting qualified candidates. This will effectively reduce the cost per hire. Outcomes depict the goals while leaving the employees free to choose the methods.

Competencies for an office manager are not easily measured, as opposed to those for support staff, such as keyboarding speed. Critical competencies for an office manager include:
 Efficiency
 Integrity
 Organization and planning
 Follow-through on commitments
 Analytical skills
 Proactivity (Smart, 2008)

Scorecards for different positions will have different competencies. As with the mission section of the scorecard, the competencies section should be revisited and revises to ensure its continued relevancy.

Cultural Competencies

Cultural competencies are harder to outline than job skills, because they are more abstract. Cultural fit cannot be measured until the company’s culture is evaluated (Smart, 2008). The hiring team should submit adjectives describing the company’s culture. Is the company’s culture collaborative or competitive? If it is collaborative, a candidate that “meets critieria” over a candidate that “exceeds criteria” is more likely to be a better cultural fit. The potential for an increase in morale and a decrease in employee turnover will compensate for any lower level of skills. If the culture is competitive, a candidate that “exceeds criteria” is likely to be a better cultural fit.

From Scorecard to strategy 

The hiring team should be enlisted for the final approval of the scorecard. The scorecard should not be archived after a position is filled. This is a dynamic link between strategy and execution (Smart, 2008). The scorecard’s strategy should be aligned with the strategy from the business plan. Service is integral to the strategy of a freelance firm. Therefore, the competencies should be service-related. Following these steps will economize the hiring process and maximize the potential output of the new hire and the entire company.

SOURCES
Barada, Paul Williams. Reference Checking for Everyone. McGraw-Hill. 2004.
Mitchell, Jack. Hug Your People. Hyperion. 2008. p. 14.
Outlaw, Wayne. Smart Staffing: How to Hire, Reward, and Keep Top Employees for Your Growing Company. Upstart Publishing Company. 1998. pp. 127, 128.
Smart, Geoff and Randy Street. Who. Ballantine Books. 2008. pp. 14, 21, 25, 27, 30, 34, and 39.
Wendover, Robert W. Smart Hiring: The Complete Guide to Finding and Hiring the Best Employees. Sourcebooks, Inc. 2002. pp. 17, 30, 74, 84.

STRATEGIC STAFFING TEST

 

Mary Ann Lufkin, RDR, CRI

 

1. If your firm has fifteen or more employees, your recordkeeping policies are mandated by the:

A. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
B. Rehabilitation Act of 1973
C. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
D. Equal Pay Act

2. This act mandates the preservation of all hiring records for one year:

A    Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
A. Rehabilitation Act of 1973
B. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
C. Equal Pay Act

3. This act requires that all compensation records must be preserved for two years:

A. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
B. Rehabilitation Act of 1973
C. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
D. Equal Pay Act

4. The behavior of an interviewer when relating to an applicant of a similar age and personality is known as the :

A. Indirect Effect
B. Halo Effect
C. Horn Effect
D. Direct Effect

5. The presumption that the information voluntarily provided by a job seeker may be checked by the prospective employer, because it is a long-standing and standard business practice, is known as:

A. Implied waiver
B. Express waiver
C. Verbal waiver
D. None of the above

6. A signed release by a job seeker allowing an employer to contact references is a(n):

A. Implied waiver
B. Express waiver
C. Verbal waiver
D. None of the above

7. A valid waiver of the right to privacy that involves nothing more than asking a candidate’s permission to check the information provided on the job application or resume is a(n):

A. Implied waiver
B. Express waiver
C. Verbal waiver
D. None of the above

8. When an employee sues for wrongful termination, claiming the employer was negligent during the hiring process, it is known as:

A. Negligent hiring
B. Discriminatory hiring
C. Bona fide hiring
D. Strategic hiring

9. A chart/diagram listing a job’s mission, outcomes, and competencies is a (n):

A. Staffing forecast
B. Scorecard
C. Marketing plan
D. Human resources plan

10. A short statement describing why a job exists is covered in the scorecard’s:

A. Mission
B. Outcome
C. Competencies
D. None of the above

11. The part of the scorecard that describes what must get done in a job is the:

A. Mission
B. Outcome
C. Competencies
D. None of the above

12. A hotlink is the use of a linked object, often an image, from one site into a web page belonging to a second site.

A. True
B. False

13. The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

A. True
B. False

14. Under the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act, employers do not have to disclose in a separate document that consumer reporting will be used in connection with employment decisions.

A. True
B. False

15. A consumer report is simply any written or oral communication made to the employer regarding the applicant’s:

A. General creditworthiness
B. Credit standing
C. General reputation
D. All of the above

16. An investigative credit report has more information than a consumer report such as interviews with people who are close friends, neighbors, and associates.

A. True
B. False

17. The tools to identify and measure qualities of the individual to assist in matching the individual to the job are:

A. Benchmarks
B. Attitude surveys
C. Behavioral-style instruments
D. Acclimation plans

18. The observed traits and behaviors of successful and unsuccessful employees used to create a basis for measuring a candidate’s potential for success are:

A. Benchmarks
B. Attitude surveys
C. Behavioral style instruments
D. Acclimation plans

19. These are designed to assess and identify specific attitudes of employees regarding the organization, the work, the management, and the way they are treated:

A.  Benchmarks
B. Attitude surveys
C. Behavioral style instruments
D. Acclimation plans

20. These are designed to help new employees feel welcome and to incorporate them into the organization:

A. Benchmarks
B. Attitude surveys
C. Behavioral style instruments
D. Acclimation plans

21. A meeting with a candidate in which multiple interviewers take turns asking prepared questions:

A. Screening interview
B. In-depth interview
C. Executive interview
D. Panel interview

22. A meeting designed primarily to determine if the applicant meets the minimum requirements and is a candidate for further consideration:

A. Screening interview
B. In-depth interview
C. Executive interview
D. Panel interview

23. A question to which there is no one-word answer or limited response is a(n):

A. Hypothesis
B. Closed question
C. Open-ended question
D. Stonewall question

24. Tools designed to identify the candidate’s drive for recognition, economic benefits, power, and the need to follow rules and procedures are:

A. Integrity instruments
B. Value instruments
C. Drug tests
D. Attitude surveys

25. Tools to help determine applicants’ values and attitudes about theft, admission of employee theft, and other work-related wrongdoings are:

A. Integrity instruments
B. Value instruments
C. Drug tests
D. Attitude surveys