Promoting Fair and Responsible Use: Adverse Impact & Bias

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Assessments, such as those utilized through PI Hire, can help hiring managers gather more information about job candidates than they would with a simple interview process. 

But with great power comes great responsibility. It’s critical to use assessments in an equitable and responsible manner. Your aim is to ensure useful results with minimal unintended side effects.

Behavioral assessments represent just one data point in a larger set, used to collectively inform a fairer, more thorough, better hiring experience—for all involved.

What exactly does that responsibility entail, exactly? Let’s hit on some common questions and points of emphasis:

How are PI’s assessments designed for fairness?

PI’s assessments were designed with workplace decision-making (such as hiring) in mind, and were carefully developed according to the standards and best practices described in Uniform Guidelines and Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. They have well-established validity, reliability, and fairness. The assessments are continuously monitored to ensure the psychometric properties remain strong and the assessments are overall appropriate for use. Assessments can be used to make hiring decisions so long as they are used for job-related purposes, and are not purposefully discriminatory.

What is the organization’s responsibility to promote fairness?

While PI takes numerous measures to ensure its assessments are free of statistical bias, organizations play a major role in ensuring a fair assessment process beyond the choice of assessment. As an administrator of the PI Behavioral Assessment, it is your responsibility to ensure: 

  1. Candidates are properly informed about the assessment process. 
  2. The assessment is administered fairly and in compliance with your organization’s standards as well as all applicable laws.
  3. The confidentiality of participants’ scores and proper overall use of the assessment is ensured across your organization.

How do you reduce the risk of bias?

There are a few steps you can take to promote the responsible use of assessments. Please note that the suggestions below should not be interpreted as legal advice, and PI strongly recommends consulting with your own legal counsel prior to implementing assessments.

  1. Set a clear testing policy. PI recommends using assessments as one of many data points. Prior to implementing assessments in your hiring practices, document exactly how assessments will be used. For more information, see the PI Cognitive Assessment Administrator’s Guide.
  2. Be responsible throughout your selection process. Being a good steward starts at the very beginning of the hiring process. Conduct a job analysis to identify what knowledge, skills, or abilities are needed on the job. Use that information when writing the job description, choosing the assessments, and planning the interview process.
  3. Monitor the selection process through documentation. By conducting internal adverse impact and fairness analyses, organizations can look at each step of the hiring process individually, starting with resume reviews and phone screening. Make sure data are carefully recorded (according to local or national guidelines) and that you know how to conduct an adverse impact analysis.  
  4. Use validated and reliable assessments. Assessments should be built according to professional standards and have strong evidence that they work as intended. You should only use assessments from a responsible test publisher who is proactively monitoring reliability, validity, and fairness.

What should you prioritize when establishing a testing policy?

While assessments can be extremely valuable tools in evaluating candidates’ potential success, it’s important that these assessments are implemented appropriately. For example, no single assessment alone should be used to make hiring decisions. In addition, it’s important for employers to set clear internal testing policies prior to implementing assessments, in the interest of objectivity and fair treatment of candidates. 

A testing policy can include details such as:

  • When certain assessments are implemented
  • Who has access to assessment results
  • Processes for candidates to request reasonable accommodations

How will you address requests for reasonable accommodation?

In cases where a disability might prevent the participant from understanding the content of the assessment, use of the PI Behavioral Assessment is not recommended. Reasonable accommodations address the specific disability and its potential interaction with aspects of the assessment design and administration. PI cannot provide advice on how to structure your reasonable accommodation request process and recommends consulting your employment counsel to make such decisions.

Primary sources

PI Behavioral Assessment Admin Guide V1 Support Article: Legality and Compliance of PI Assessments Responsible Use of Hire 2.0 Outline
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