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Monday, July 8, 2019

Grievances and the Hiring Process

Units of local government have the responsibility to conduct business in the most transparent manner possible.  This includes the hiring process. Applicants for public jobs should feel confident that the selection process was fair and designed so that the most qualified candidate was chosen.  In addition, in some cases internal applicants for vacancies may have appeal rights through the grievance process covered in the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA).   It is important to always follow the appropriate article in the CBA that details hiring, so make sure you double check before filling any union covered position. If followed, the chance of having a grievance filed will be diminished.

However, grievances can happen after the selection process has concluded. Both internal and external candidates for positions can file complaints.  External candidates are most likely to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

As a result, it is vital to have a well-documented hiring process.  With thorough documentation, management should be able to demonstrate that the candidate who best met the requirements detailed in the position description was selected for the position.

What makes a well-documented hiring process?

·       Current and accurate position descriptions.  Ensuring the accuracy of your position descriptions is the basis for screening, interviewing questions and later, for evaluations.

·       Create interview questions based off the position description.  Questions should:

o   Assess whether the candidate has the required level of job knowledge that is both essential to job performance and constitutes the minimum that must be known prior to entering the position.

o   Determine the extent to which the candidate has, in fact, ever performed the major duties of the position for which she/he is applying.

o   For those jobs with few or only very basic minimum requirements, as well as for jobs with some unpleasant or monotonous working conditions, questions should be prepared regarding the candidate’s understanding of, and willingness to perform the major duties.

o   Be accurate, complete and easily understood.

o   Clearly and strictly job-related and directly linked to the position’s major duties

o   Not be leading in order to avoid biasing a candidate’s response

o   Should be stated in terms of sample position duties, and should be designed to elicit information on job-related behaviors

o   Should be geared to the appropriate complexity level of the position

o   Should be carefully reviewed to eliminate any possible reference to prohibited areas of inquiry.

·       Create a scoring method for the interview process.  A numeric rating enables the calculation of an overall score for ranking purposes. Carefully document the candidate’s response to each question. Write up a justification as to why the final candidate was selected.

Establishing a formal hiring process that is well documented will help ensure that all hiring decisions are based on merit and qualification and will help management demonstrate the reasoning behind hiring decisions should a grievance or litigation ever occur.