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To reduce employee related lawsuits as well as fraudulent worker’s compensation claims, it helps to build hiring procedures on a firm legal (and predictive) foundation. The ability to consistently predict candidate quality offers robust legal protection. Predicting candidate quality starts with a comprehensive job analysis. 

Why is job analysis an important first step in developing a predictive and legally defensible hiring process? The Federal Hiring Guidelines state that a job analysis "identifies the competencies directly related to performance on the job. It is a systematic procedure for gathering, documenting and analyzing information about the content, context and requirements of the job. It demonstrates that there is a clear relationship between the tasks performed on the job and the competencies required to perform the tasks." In other words, whatever criteria companies are using to make hiring decisions, they need to be able to demonstrate they are job related.

The problem is few construction companies have the time or expertise to conduct a comprehensive job analysis much less create effective hiring tools. Does the hiring process consist of ad hoc interviews that rely on a manager’s subjective impression of the candidate? The downside of this approach is that it’s 50/50 at best. Worse, the courts have been clear that an interview is in fact a test, albeit one that isn’t valid or consistent in most cases.

Judges look favorably on selection criteria that comes from a job analysis. This isn’t surprising given the fact that the Federal Hiring Guidelines stipulate, “Job analysis is a foundation for identifying and/or developing assessment tools such as occupational questionnaires, structured interviews and job knowledge tests. The information (tasks and competencies) gathered during a job analysis can also be applied to other employment practices such as performance appraisals, promotions and employee development.”

Selection tools developed from a job analysis tend to be extremely predictive of candidate potential because the resulting criteria is directly related to behaviors that account for success in the job. 

Why is predicting candidate quality so important? Because top performers tend not to engage in frivolous lawsuits. Top performers do tend to respect their employer and enjoy greater levels of job satisfaction. It’s no coincidence that most legal issues related to employees come from the low end of the performance spectrum. Poor performers tend to look for a way out, often at their employer’s expense. 

Selection tools that start with a job analysis are an effective way to avoid poor hires. More importantly, they help positively identify candidates who will be a long-term asset to the company.

In both construction and hiring it’s important to start with a strong foundation.

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