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Chapter 15 Selecting Employees

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One of the definitions of a supervisor is a person who gets things done through other people. Viewed
through this perspective, a supervisor must have well-qualified, or knowledgeable, skilled employees
to accomplish his or her goals and objectives. Building a well-qualified employee team starts with
selecting the right people.

Selecting the right people for the job begins with knowing what the job is and what it takes to get the
job done. A job description specifies the characteristics of each job, and a job specification indicates
the desirable characteristics of the person performing each job. It may be the responsibility of the
supervisor to develop the job description and job specifications, or at least to make sure they are
correct. These documents become the basis for the selection process.

The selection process will be handled by the human resources department and the supervisor. The first
step is to identify sources for recruiting employees for a specific job. Current employees may be
promoted or transferred to fill job openings. Outside sources, such as help-wanted advertisements,
employment agencies, and schools, may be used to find employees.

Based on the employment applications or resumes, the staff of the human resources department
screens out unqualified candidates. The next step is for the human resources department and/or the
supervisor to interview candidates. The organization may also administer employment tests to
determine the suitability of the candidate. For candidates the organization is still interested in,
background and reference checks are conducted. The supervisor makes a selection decision, after
which the candidate may take a physical examination.

The interview is an important part of the selection process. It is where the supervisor has a chance to
obtain additional information to determine if the candidate will meet the qualifications of the job. It is
also an opportunity for the candidate to find out more about the organization. This chapter includes
details of how to interview job candidates.

The supervisor must be knowledgeable about the law and what questions cannot be asked in the
interview process. There are antidiscrimination laws that require organizations to avoid asking for
certain information. The organization, including the supervisor, must avoid actions that discriminate
on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and physical or mental disability,
including pregnancy-related disabilities. These laws apply to recruiting, hiring, paying, firing, and
laying off employees and to any other employment practices.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of mental or physical
disability against people who can perform the essential functions of a job. Supervisors should avoid
asking about disabilities and the candidates health history. Employers must make accommodations
handicapped employees if necessary and if it is readily achievable. To comply with the law,
supervisors should review and revise job descriptions to make sure they indicate what functions of the
job are essential.

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Learning Objective 15.1: Discuss common roles for supervisors in the selection process.

1. Teaching notes.

A supervisors role in the selection process can vary greatly from one organization to another. In
smaller organizations, a supervisor may have great latitude in selecting employees. Other
organizations may expect supervisors to work more closely with the staff of the human resources
department throughout the process. In still other organizations where employees work on teams,
the supervisors role may be to coach team members on what is involved in the selection process
so that the team members may decide who will fill vacancies on their work teams.

2. Teaching example.

When Nucor Corporation opened its new steel mill operation in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1988,
the company had to make many hiring decisions. The mill has approximately 225 who work on
steel production, 115 in maintenance jobs, and 105 in such areas as sales, finance, clerical, and
guard positions. Vincent Schiavoni, hot mill manager, describes the selection process used: We
[managers] had to decide how to approach this enormous job on our own--almost all of us had
come from mills and did not have any human resources experience. We brainstormed a game plan
with the general manager. We were all there when people came in to apply. We wanted to ensure
that people filled out their applications themselves and we saw how people presented themselves.
There was a short test given assessing basic math skills. In groups of two or three, we prescreened
the applications.

When people were asked back for an interview, they met a manager and two foremen. Schiavoni
noted . . . For a person to move to the next step, he had to have the strong approval of at least two
of us, and most often, all three of us would be very positive. For applicants that met the
requirements, the next step was an interview by a psychologist to determine whether the applicant
was interested and capable of participating on a team and whether he or she would be motivated
by the bonus system of Nucor.

The final decisions on the candidates were made by the team of managers and foremen that
interviewed the candidates. Schiavoni notes, I was pleased by the process. Although it was very
time consuming at a point when we were all busy with a lot of issues related to start-up, we knew
the time invested would be worth it for the future. We knew the success of the plant was just as
dependent on the attitudes and abilities of the people as it was on the new technology.

Raymond A. Noe, et al, Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage (Burr
Ridge, IL: Austen Press/Irwin, 1994), pp. 411-413.
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Learning Objective 15.2: Distinguish between job descriptions and job specifications and explain
how they help in selecting employees.

1. Key terms.

Job Description: A listing of the characteristics of the job, including the title, duties involved, and
working conditions.

Job Specification: A listing of the characteristics desirable in the person performing a given job;
these include educational and work background, physical characteristics, and personal strengths.

2. Teaching notes.

The supervisors role in the selection process can vary greatly from one organization to another. In
a small office or business, the supervisor may have great latitude in selecting employees to fill
vacant positions. Larger organizations have formal procedures requiring the human resources
department to do most of the work.

To select the right employees, the supervisor and the human resources department have to be clear
about what jobs need to be filled and what kind of people can best fill those jobs.

The supervisors role in the selection process will vary, depending on the organization.
Supervisors may complete most of the hiring procedure, or they may have one or more qualified
applicants sent to them from the human resources department for final approval.

The supervisors organization may or may not have adequate job descriptions, and job
specifications. The task of creating or modifying job descriptions and job specifications may be
the responsibility of the supervisor. Because supervisors are closer to the positions in their area of
control, they are in a good position to evaluate job and personnel requirements.

3. Teaching examples to explain how supervisors use job descriptions and job specifications to work
with the human resources department in selecting employees.

Both job descriptions and job specifications should be defined as clearly as possible. If math skills
are required to do the job properly, determine what specific math skills are required. For example,
will the employee be expected to add, subtract, and multiply, or will he or she be expected to do
geometric calculations? Resist the temptation to specify a high school or college diploma as an
alternative to specific job requirements. A diploma may not assure that specific skills have been
mastered. If years of experience are desirable, include the level of mastery required for specific

Organizations also achieve their goals and objectives through the personal characteristics of their
employees. A company that uses teams for continuous improvement will benefit from hiring
people who work effectively in a team environment and are team players. If innovations are
required to hold a competitive edge, then job descriptions and specifications may include
requirements related to a persons ability to create new products and processes, or to consider new
ways to accomplish assignments.

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Recently there has been some resistance to writing job descriptions. In the video, The Change
Masters: Understanding the Theory, Rosabeth Moss Kanter uses the phrase whatever it takes to
get the job done. In rapidly changing organizations or industries, job requirements may include
the needs of today as well as future needs.

4. Exercise to explain how supervisors use job descriptions and job specifications to work with the
human resources department in selecting employees.

The purpose of this exercise is to give the students practice in writing job descriptions and job
specifications. (Make a copy of Figure 15.1 for each student.) The exercise is to be used for small
groups in the classroom. Allow 30 minutes for the exercise. Divide the class up into small groups
to determine the following:

a. Select a specific position, such as waitperson or an attendant at a self-serve gas station, and
have the class determine both the job description and job specifications..
b. When considering the desired skills, indicate whether each skill is absolutely necessary or
would be nice to have.
c. List the requirements to be given to the human resources department.
d. Prioritize the list. Indicate what your highest priority is and why. Group the other requirements
into three categories. Make 1 the high priority, 2 the medium priority, and 3 the low
priority. The nice-to-have skills will likely fall into the number 3 category.
e. When the requirements have been determined, have the groups report to the class what they
want in the new person to be hired. Use a flip chart or black (white) board to list the
characteristics suggested by the students. Previous experience and perception of what is
required to be successful in these positions will vary from person to person and group to
group. It will become obvious that the position is dependent on the specific type of
organization. Generalizations of what job a waitperson will do are not sufficient. For example,
a waitperson at a fashionable French restaurant will require different skills and ability than one
who will work at the local diner.

Determine a common set of characteristics to be sent to the human resources department.

Learning Objective 15.3: List possible sources of employees.

1. Key Term.

Recruitment: A process of identifying people interested in holding a particular job or working for
the organization.

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Job Description and Job Specifications ____________________________
(Indicate position)

Job Description (Tasks)

Job Specifications


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2. Teaching notes.

Finding new employees may be as simple and informal as asking present employees if they know
anyone who is looking for a job. On the other hand, an organization may go through a national
search utilizing agencies that specialize in finding specific types of personnel. Company policy
will likely dictate the type of search required to meet company goals and applicable regulations
such as those related to fair employment opportunities for specific classifications of people. Some
organizations prefer hiring family members of present employees, people who are known and
know the present employees, or local folks. Other organizations specifically refrain from hiring
new personnel with close ties to present members, or prefer to draw new employees from a broad
geographic area.

As a matter of policy, some companies provide opportunities for advancement or lateral
movement within the company as the preferred way of filling vacancies. This method may have a
positive effect on employee morale. Selecting internal personnel for a position may reduce the
training and skill mastery time. On the other hand, these organizations may forfeit an opportunity
for bringing in fresh ideas. A supervisors role in the internal recruitment process is to keep upper
management and the human resources department informed about the skills and ability of their
employees. They can also recommend an employee in their department when a job is posted.

A wide search for employees will likely increase the cost of hiring. When potential employees are
recruited from outside the local area, companies often pay for part or all of the costs incurred by
the potential employee.

Advertising in newspapers is a common way of letting the general public know about job
openings. Placing an advertisement in association journals and magazines will target a specific
audience. This will limit the type of candidates to a specific background or interest in the relevant

Employment agencies seek to match applicants with job requirements. These agencies can be
government run, such as state employment (unemployment) offices, or privately owned agencies.
There may be a charge for a private agency. If a specific requirement for a job is gained through
formal education, an organization may contact a university, college, or technical school for

3. Teaching examples to describe possible sources of employees.

Supervisors may not have any influence on organizational policy for recruitment of employees.
However, they may have a lot of influence on who is considered for internal promotions and
lateral assignments. They may also have influence on the final choice of employees who will be
working for them, and the employees with whom they will be working. Supervisors are also able
to pass along information about employees who have the qualities to do a different job or good
candidates for promotion.

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Each method of finding or recruiting new employees has advantages and disadvantages. Internal
recruiting has the advantage of improving morale because employees have the opportunity of
seeing other employees getting better jobs and perceiving they will have a similar opportunity.
The internal person also has the advantage of understanding at least part of the procedures, product
information, service requirements, and other organization-specific information. The amount of
early training will probably be unnecessary or shortened because of this knowledge.

A disadvantage to internal recruitment is that the person may repeat or reinforce old behaviors and
procedures that are no longer the best for the company. Many companies are faced with the need
to change to remain competitive. In this case, it may be useful to get new skills and ideas from the
outside. At the very least, a new employee from the outside may not have developed the obsolete
behaviors of an internal recruit. Obviously, an organization will try to balance maintaining high
morale among its employees and facilitate the change necessary to remain competitive.

Looking outside the organization can be facilitated by current employees. Bringing in the friends
and family members of current employees can have the advantage of using existing relationships
to build teamwork. It may also be less time consuming and less costly than other methods of
recruiting. Some of the disadvantages are similar to problems in a family. For example, if a friend
or family member is terminated, what will be the reaction of remaining friends and family? Will
loyalty be to the company or to family members?

4. Exercise to describe possible sources of employees.

The purpose of this exercise is to have students consider advantages and disadvantages of getting
employees from specific sources. The exercise may utilize small groups or the large group
discussion format. Allow about 10 minutes for this exercise.

a. List the advantages and disadvantages for giving priority to internal personnel moves. (Ask for
ideas other than those already discussed. For example, if two employees want the same job,
will this reduce morale?)
b. List the advantages and disadvantages for hiring family members or local folks. (For family
events, several employees may want to have the same time off from work.)
c. List the advantages and disadvantages for searching widely for potential employees.
d. List circumstances when it is advantageous to hire locally, and when it is advantageous to
search widely for potential employees.

Remind the students that the selection process will proceed more smoothly when there is a clear
idea of what characteristics the ideal candidate should have as determined by well-conceived job
descriptions and job specifications. Matching candidates to the specifications will speed the

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Learning Objective 15.4: Identify the steps in the selection process.

1. Teaching notes.

In recent years, organizations typically have had many more candidates than they needed in order
to fill the organizations vacant positions. Most organizations have a formal procedure to select the
best candidate for its purposes. Candidates for a job respond to recruitment by filling out an
employment application or sending in a resume. These are reviewed to screen out candidates who
are unqualified or who are less qualified than others. The pool of applicants may be narrowed
down through various tests; for example, if math skills are identified a math test may be given. A
relatively small number of applicants are selected for personal interviews for the job by the human
resources department and/or the supervisor.

2. Teaching example to identify the steps in the selection process.

See text Figure 15.2. There are several steps to the recruitment process. It may seem expedient to
keep the numbers to a minimum in each step to reduce the cost. However, organizations and
supervisors will want to assure that the pool of applicants is large enough at each step to make
sure a good choice will be available to the company. The initial recruitment should assure a
diverse population is reached providing an adequate pool for the screening process. At each step of
the process a smaller group of acceptable applicants will go on to the next step. At each step the
company will determine if the applicant is qualified, and some individuals will decide they are not
interested in the job as they learn more about it. An attempt to limit the number going into the first
phase of recruitment will reduce the number of choices at the later step and may prevent the
company from hiring employees who can best help it achieve its goals.

3. Exercise to identify the steps in the selection process.

The purpose of this exercise is to have students go through the selection process of an employee
for which they have developed a job description and job specification. Use this exercise for a large
group discussion. Estimated time to complete the exercise is 5 to 10 minutes. Use the list of
characteristics developed in Learning Objective 15.2. Ask the following questions:
a. What method(s) is (are) appropriate for recruiting this person?
b. How many applicants are necessary at this point to assure an excellent choice for the
c. What characteristics are you going to look for on resumes and applications? (This should be
answered with the ones on the job description and job specification.))
d. What kinds of screening tests will be useful? Are they related to the job requirements?

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Learning Objective 15.5: Discuss how supervisors should go about interviewing candidates for a

1. Key terms.

Structured Interview: An interview based on questions the interviewer prepared in advance.

The same questions are covered with each candidate.

Unstructured Interview: An interview in which the interviewer has no list of questions prepared
in advance but asks questions based on the applicants response.

The questions are directed by responses to previous questions. This type of interview allows for
more flexibility.

Open-ended Question: A question that gives the person responding broad control over the

This type of question can be asked as a single question, for example, List for me all of the
associations you belong toy It may also be used as a follow-up question to a yes or no question,
for example, Did you attend classes that included the legal requirements of the human resources
department? Yes. What were the classes, and what topics were covered?

Closed-ended Question: A question that requires a simple answer such as yes or no.

Closed-ended questions also include those that are answered by a number, such as the number of
years at one job. Closed-ended questions are easy to answer and easy to use for comparisons.
However, in really getting to know the candidate for a job, they limit the depth of information that
can be obtained.

Halo Effect: The practice of forming an overall opinion on the basis of one outstanding

An example of this effect is if the person has been a winner in debating, he or she must have other
excellent skills that are not related to debating.

2. Teaching notes.

When the human resources department has narrowed down the list of candidates to a few people,
the next step is to interview them. Objectives of interviewing include narrowing the search for an
employee by assessing each candidates interpersonal and communication skills, seeing whether
the supervisor and employee are comfortable with one another, and learning details about
information of the application or resume. The candidate also has an opportunity to learn about the

To prepare for the interview, the interviewer should review the job description, develop a realistic
way to describe the job to candidates, and review the applicants resume or job application.
Questions should be developed to expand the amount of information included in these documents.
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Most job candidates feel at least a little bit nervous, making it difficult to tell what the person
would be like on the job. Put the candidate at ease by using a comfortable setting with privacy.
Offer the candidate a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to talk about noncontroversial subjects
such as the weather.

The interview should determine the suitability of the candidate for the position. It is also an
opportunity to let the candidate find out about the company. In addition to the description given by
the interviewer, the candidate should be given an opportunity to ask questions.

The interview should close by telling the candidate what to expect, such as a phone call in a week
or a letter by the end of the month. As soon as the candidate has left, jot down notes of his or her

3. Teaching examples to discuss how supervisors should go about interviewing candidates for a job.

Interviewing candidates has grown in importance recently because it is becoming more difficult to
get information through references. Specific organizational needs may be determined only through
the skill of the interviewer. Again, a clear picture of the requirements of the current and future
skill needs of the job is a prerequisite. Interviewing should result in answers to the questions
related to the fit of the applicant to the job. Remember, the candidate has already gone through
much of the screening process and has reached you as a potential to fine tune your knowledge
about this person.

The text includes a list of general questions about candidates background and qualifications. In
addition the interviewer should try to determine if the applicant has the ability to meet the specific
requirements of the job. The job description and the job specification can act as a guide for the
questions to be asked of the applicant For example, if team skills are preferred for the person
selected, then interview questions about experience and attitude toward teamwork should be
included. Whether the interview is structured or not, planning and listing the information you need
to determine the fit of the candidate is helpful in the interview situation.

Take notes during the interview. After you have set the candidate at ease, tell him or her you will
be taking notes during the interview. Explain to the candidate that you cannot possibly remember
all that is discussed during the interview and, to be fair to him or her, you will be taking notes.
This may result in asking the candidate to repeat answers and allow for short breaks when you are
writing the details of the interview. If applicants express concern or seem apprehensive, set them
at ease by expressing your desire to help them have a successful interview.

Some questions asked in an interview will help determine objective skills and result in a
straightforward answer, such as, How many years have you been in your current position. It is
easy to ask questions and interpret answers to the amount of formal education and specific classes

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It is more difficult to interview and obtain satisfactory information regarding subjective skills,
such as the candidates ability to be a good team player. To obtain this type of information, it
may be useful to start off with a request to have the applicant tell you about a personal experience
of working on or with a team. Past experience will be a good indicator of whether a person has
developed skills required for the job. To determine whether the applicant has problem-solving
skills, ask him or her to describe a specific problem in a previous job and how a satisfactory
solution was reached. If the answer is that he or she told the supervisor, probe to find out if he or
she was satisfied with the outcome. If not, what did he or she do next If the supervisor did take
care of the problem, ask him or her for another example in which he or she played a more active

Applicants may have no previous experience in the type of position for which you are
interviewing. Ask them to think about experiences in school, organized activities such as sports or
scouts, or volunteer positions that may be used to answer the questions.

4. Exercise to discuss how supervisors should go about interviewing candidates for a job.

The purpose of this exercise is to give students practice in interviewing potential employees. Role-
play job interviews. Select teams of an interviewer and applicant for a position. Include as many
teams as time allows. It may be useful to keep interview teams out of the room until their turn to
avoid the influence of previous interviews. It will also be more realistic since interviewees do not
usually know what other applicants say.

a. Provide the students with a list of skills required for a potential employee or use the list
suggested below. Have students role play the interview process and have other students
determine whether they are convinced that the applicant has the desired skills.

Suggested skills requirements:
(1) Reading ability to be able to interpret technical information. (Specify what type if
(2) Ability to get along with others.
(3) Ability to take responsibility to get the job done.
(4) Help others when they get behind in their work.

b. Give both the interviewer and interviewee several minutes to read over the list of skills
required and make notes to indicate how they will respond. The interviewee should not make
it too easy for the interviewer; he or she should make the interviewer ask probing questions..
The candidate, however, should be truthful and actually have the skills described.

Coach the role players as necessary.

Allow the role players 5 to 10 minutes to act out the interview.

c. Give the other class members a list of the skills required. They should take notes relative to
what specific information was obtained to convince them that the candidate has the necessary

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If they do not have enough information, they should indicate what questions need to be asked
to obtain the information necessary. Allow class members to ask the interviewee questions to
satisfy their need for more information.

d. Classroom discussion questions:

(1) Determine how many class members are satisfied with the information received and
whether they can make a specific recommendation about each of the criteria.

As a supervisor they will be expected to make a recommendation to either go forward
with the hiring process or to eliminate the person for consideration.

(2) How easy is it to formulate questions to get the desired information?

(3) If hypothetical situations are used to determine what an applicant will do, discuss the
advantages and disadvantages of using this technique. Of applicants have not had the
experience how can they be sure how they will react? Also, can supervisors know the
candidate will actually act like they think they wills)

(4) Which skills were the easiest to determine and why?

(5) How would you restructure the interview process for future interviews?

Learning Objective 15.6: Define types of employment tests.

1. Key terms.

Aptitude Test: A test that measures a persons ability to learn skills related to the job.

Proficiency Test: A test that measures whether the person has the skills needed to perform a job.

There are many types of proficiency tests. They may test motor and cognitive skills. The
distinguishing characteristic of these tests is that they measure skills. Examples of these types of
test are math, typing, and reading.

Psychomotor Test: A test that measures a persons strength, dexterity, and coordination..

2. Teaching notes.

Information about applicants background can be obtained from resumes and applications.
However, it is necessary to match specific required skills with actual candidates. This is
accomplished through testing. For example, if manual dexterity is a requirement of the job, there
are tests that screen specifically for this skill. If the job requires a certain level of math skills, there
are tests that indicate the applicants level of math proficiency. The types of test include ability to
learn or aptitude tests, specific skills tests such as typing tests, physical skills, and personality
types. In addition, many companies use drug screening tests for all applicants selected in the final
pool of potential employees.

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3. Teaching examples to identify types of employment tests.

Tests may be useful for screening applicants. Applicants who lack specific technical or personal
skills required for a position can be screened out. On the other hand, applicants who pass the test
can be considered for the next phase of the hiring process.

There are many tests available that claim to be able to determine a specific level of competence or
predict future success. However, the validity and reliability of a test should be verified to avoid
legal problems later.

Tests may be written, such as basic intelligence or math skills tests. Others focus on the
performance of the applicant, such as in-basket tests where the applicant is required to sort,
prioritize, and respond to memos or described conditions. Assessment centers may put applicants
through a series of situations that include role-playing and group interaction to solve specific

4. Exercise to identify types of employment tests.

The purpose of the exercise is to give the students an opportunity to decide how they might
determine the level of skills and ability of applicants to meet job requirements. The exercise is a
small group activity. Divide the class into small groups of 4 to 7 people.

a. Assign one or more job skills to each group and have them design a test to determine if the
applicant has a sufficient level of the skill.

Include skills such as:
(1) math and reading (for which standard tests are available)
(2) neat handwriting or written communication skills (observable skills that can be
determined by having the applicant demonstrate them)
(3) interpersonal skills (which may be observable in role playing)

b. Have groups share their methods with the chess.

c. Discuss some of the issues related to whether the methods are reliable for determining the
required skills.

Learning Objective 15.7: Summarize the requirements of antidiscrimination laws.

1. Key terms.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: The federal government agency charged with
enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Affirmative Action: Plans designed to increase opportunities for groups that have traditionally
been discriminated against.

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2. Teaching notes.

Congress has passed laws that restrict employment decisions. These laws are designed to give
people fair and equal access to jobs based on their skills, rather than on such personal traits as race
or physical disabilities. While some people will argue that these laws are a burden to employers,
keep in mind the benefits to the organization of making employment decisions based on peoples
skills rather than their personal traits. Some of the laws introduced in the text include:

a. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids employment discrimination on the basis of race,
color, religion, sex, or national origin in recruiting, hiring, paying, firing, or laying off
employees, or in any other employment practices. It is enforced by the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
b. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended in 1978 and 1986, prohibits
employers from discriminating on the basis of age against people over 40 years old.
c. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 makes it illegal to refuse a job to a disabled person if the
persons disability does not interfere with his or her ability to do the job.
d. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of
pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
e. Disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam War receive protection under the Vietnam Era
Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, which requires federal contractors to make special efforts
to recruit these people. In deciding whether a veteran is qualified, an employer may consider
the military record only to the extent it is directly related to the specified qualifications of the

See text Figure 15.6, which summarizes the categories of workers protected by the
antidiscrimination laws.

Many organizations have established affirmative-action programs that move beyond simply
obeying antidiscrimination laws. Affirmative action refers to plans designed to increase
opportunities for groups that have traditionally been discriminated against these plans are an active
attempt to promote diversity in the organization.

Some people mistakenly think that affirmative action involves setting up artificial quotas that
favor some groups at the expense of others. However, people who favor affirmative-action
policies argue that since there are often several candidates with the qualifications to fill any given
job, it makes sense to intentionally give some jobs to people from disadvantaged groups. This not
only helps to correct past injustices, but also benefits the organization by building a diverse work

3. Teaching examples to describe the requirements of antidiscrimination laws.

Organizations must be aware of and comply with antidiscrimination laws. Policies may be put in
place to assure compliance. For example, positions may be widely advertised to assure all groups
are aware of vacancies, providing a list of diverse applicants. Organizations may also strive to
make up for previous hiring and promotion practices that have intentionally excluded specific
groups of people.

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Supervisors also must be sensitive to the need to comply with antidiscrimination laws. Because of
their role in the selection process, they need to understand laws and their role in assuring
compliance. It is also useful for them to examine their own biases and how stereotyping of groups
of people influences their perception of who is a desirable employee. It is useful to focus on
specific skill needs of the position rather than on personal characteristics that reinforce
stereotypes, such as hairstyle or language or speaking differences. After people are hired,
supervisors are in a critical position to make sure diverse groups are treated fairly.

4. Exercise to describe the requirements of antidiscrimination laws.

Students can benefit from exercises and discussions of individual biases and stereotyping of
various groups. The following include a source of exercises and discussion topics:

a. There are a number of exercises in human resource and training materials. These can be used
to highlight the values of individuals and how they affect decision-making.

A series of volumes, The (date) Annual: Developing Human Resources, edited by J.
William Pfeifer, Ph.D., J.D., is available from University Associates, Inc. 8517 Production
Avenue, San Diego, California 92121. These volumes include a number of exercises that will
sensitize individuals to individual biases and stereotypes.

b. Discuss groups that may experience discrimination in your local area or the area from which
your students are drawn. Make a list of these groups. Be sure the list includes various ethnic
and religious groups, women, and older people. It may also be useful to include people who
have visible physical characteristics, such as red-haired people, and those who are unusually
tall or short.
(1) What characteristics are associated with these groups? Have students discuss and list these
characteristics. Discuss how these associated characteristics are derived.
(2) List characteristics that are the same in all of the groups.
(3) Make a list of criteria for job descriptions and job specifications and compare it to the list
of stereotyped characteristics. Which groups, based on their characteristics, will fit the
criteria or be excluded because they cant possibly do the job?

Learning Objective 15.8: Explain how hiring decisions are affected by the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA).

1. Teaching notes.

In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law prohibits employers from
discriminating on the basis of mental or physical disability in hiring and promotion. Organizations
must also avoid discrimination in public accommodations, transportation, government services,
and telecommunications.

Employers must make accommodations for handicapped employees if the necessary
accommodations are readily achievable--that is, easy to carry out and possible to accomplish
without much difficulty or expense. This law extends beyond wheelchair accessibility to require
for any eligible disabled employee including those with impaired sight or hearing, arthritis, high
blood pressure, and heart disease.
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Supervisors can take several steps to comply with ADA. One is to review and revise job
descriptions. Job descriptions should focus on the results the employee must achieve, rather than
the process for achieving those results. When interviewing candidates, the supervisor should be
careful not to ask whether they have a physical or mental condition that would prevent them from
performing the job. Rather, after making a job offer, the organization will seek to accommodate
any impairments the person may have.

2. Teaching examples to explain how hiring decisions are affected by the Americans with
Disabilities Act

Supervisors may experience, for the first time or in increasing numbers, working with persons
defined as having physical or mental disabilities. Stereotyping and perceived liability have
prevented the serious consideration of hiring persons with disabilities in the past

Supervisors will be required first to give serious consideration to whether a person has the
required technical and personal skills to do a job during the screening process. Second, jobs may
require specific modifications to accommodate a person with disabilities..

3. Exercise to explain how hiring decisions are affected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This exercise will give students the opportunity to experience thinking through accommodations
that may be required with hiring a person with disabilities. This exercise can be a homework
assignment or in-class assignment for individuals or small groups. For small groups, allow the
group about 10 to 15 minutes to complete their decisions for accommodations.

Steps to using this exercise:
a. Make a copy of Figure 15.2 for each student
b. Have the students determine what accommodations can be made for each of the conditions. If
a small group is working on the assignment, have them reach consensus on the type(s) of
accommodation(s) that can be made.
c. Have students share their ideas with the rest of the class. Determine the following: How many
different ideas are contributed for each of the situations? Which ideas do students think are the
least costly?

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Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities

Determine the types of accommodation that can be made for the following situations.

1. Situation: One of the applicants in the final phase of filling a position for computer programmer
has been identified as being blind. The applicant has recently graduated from college with a degree
in computer programming. What accommodations can be made to help the applicant be successful
in the position?

2. Situation: A sales clerk who is four feet tall has been hired for a clothing store. This person has
two years of experience in merchandising and has good recommendations from previous
employers. Many of the items sold are on racks that cannot be reached by this person. Also, the
cash register is on a counter 31 inches high with a shelf that is 36 inches high on which the
customers merchandise is placed. What accommodations can be made to help the applicant be
successful in the position?

3. Situation: A person with one hand missing has been hired to fill the position of receiving clerk.
The position requires that packing slips and other forms be processed and small packages
delivered to one of four storage areas. Forms must be completed with information required for
various records kept in accounting, purchasing, and the master project file. After processing,
packages are immediately moved to the designated area. What accommodations can be made to
help the applicant be successful in the position?

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Learning Objective 15.9: Describe the requirements of the Immigration Reform and Control
Act (IRCA) of 1986.

1. Teaching notes.

Under ICRA, employers are responsible for helping to discourage illegal immigration. They
may not hire people who are not authorized to work in the U.S., yet they may not discriminate
against people who simply appear to be foreigners. Thus, employers must verify the identity
and work authorization of every new employee.

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1. Think of your current job or a job you recently held. Write a job description and a job
specification for the job. How well do (or did) you match the requirements of the job?

Answers will vary.

2. A business executive said that people tend to make the mistake of hiring in their own image. What
does this mean? How does this tendency make it more difficult for organizations to build a diverse
work force?

People tend to hire people who have similar characteristics such as race, gender, interests, and
skills. It is difficult to recruit and hire a diverse work force if the selection mechanism is built on
personal characteristics rather than ability to do the job.

3. In recruiting for each of the following positions, what source or sources of candidates would you
recommend using? Explain your choice.

a. A receptionist for a city government office.

Local newspaper and state employment office. These methods reach a diverse population that
reflects the population of the city. Sometimes there are local rules or policies that encourage
hiring of employees from city residents.

b. A printing press operator.

This may be a skill that is difficult to recruit. Advertise in local newspapers and in areas that
have printing press companies.

c. A graphic artist for an advertising agency.

Colleges where graphic art and advertising are taught. This is a skill that requires specific

d. A nurse for an adult day care facility.

Ask employees if they know someone who would like to work in this environment. Advertise
in a local newspaper. This is a skill that is widely distributed, but the working environment is
one that may attract a limited number of applicants. New employees who are unfamiliar with
the work may not stay long.

4. Describe what happens during the screening process. What does the human resources department
look for when reading employment applications and resumes?

The human resources department screens out unqualified candidates. Next the human resources
department and/or the supervisor interview candidates. The organization may administer
employment tests. The next step is to do background and reference checks. Then the supervisor
makes a selection decision, after which the candidate may take a physical examination.
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5. Supervisor Lisa Kitzinger is interviewing candidates for a job as computer operator. Kitzinger
works in a cubicle, and she has a secretary who could help out during the interview process. What
can Lisa do to put candidates at ease?

Interview candidates in a conference room. Engage in some small talk. Offer the candidate a cup
of coffee or cold drink.

6. Which of the following questions is (are) appropriate for a job interview for the position of office
manager for an automobile dealership?

a. Do you attend church regularly?

When it is a BFOQ or to determine whether the candidate can comply with the work

b. Do you know how to use our computer and telecommunications systems?

Appropriate question.

c. Are you familiar with our line of cars?


d. Are you married?


e. Arent you close to retirement age?


f. What skills did you develop at your previous job that you feel would be helpful in this job?


7. How can an interviewer combine the techniques of the structured and unstructured interview?

A structured interview question may be asked first, such as, Describe your past experiences
working in a department store, and followed by an additional or unstructured question as a way to
expand on the information learned from the first question.

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8. Donald Menck, the supervisor on a boatbuilding line, interviews a male job candidate who comes
to the interview dressed in a jacket and tie. Menck is surprised by the candidates clothing, which is
more formal than what is needed on the job; he is also impressed. He assumes that the candidate is
intelligent and motivated. What common error in judgment is Menck making? What steps should
he take during the interview to overcome it?

Donald Menck is falling prey to the halo effect, basing a positive overall opinion based on one
outstanding characteristic. He should make certain he asks relevant questions about the job and the
candidates experience and qualifications; the way the candidate dresses does not necessarily
indicate that he is either intelligent or motivated.

9. An airline has a policy that all its employees must receive a physical examination before they start
working for the company. At what point in the selection process should the company request the
examination? How may the airline use this information?

After a job offer has been made. The information can be used to make accommodations if physical
or mental limitations are uncovered.

10. Which of the following actions would be considered discriminatory under federal laws? Explain
your answers.

a. A company creates a policy that all employees must retire by age 65.

Not discriminatory.

b. A supervisor gives the biggest raises to men, because they have families to support.

An employer may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
in recruiting, hiring, paying, firing, or laying off employees, or any other employment

c. A company that recruits at colleges and universities has a practice of making at least 20
percent of its visits to schools that are historically black.

Not discriminatory.

d. In a department where employees must do a lot of overtime work on Saturday, the supervisor
avoids hiring Jews because Saturday is their day of rest and worship.

Discriminatory. The candidate for a job should be asked if he or she can comply with the work
schedule and let the candidate make the decision. Membership in a religious group will not
necessarily determine a persons work-related choices.

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11. Joel Trueheart supervises customer service representatives for a toy company. The employees
handle complaints and questions from customers calling the companys toll-free telephone
number. To fill a vacancy in the department, Trueheart has reviewed many resumes and is in the
process of interviewing a few candidates. One of the most impressive resumes is for Sophia
Ahmad, but when Trueheart meets her, he is startled to observe that she is blind. What should Joel
do in order to make sure he is complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Equipment controls and reference material may have to be written in braille.

12. What steps must employers take to ensure that they are complying with the Immigration Reform
and Control Act?

The employer must screen all candidates (not just those who appear to be foreign) to make sure
that they are authorized to work in the United States, verifying identity and work authorization.
The employer can ask each new employee to show documentation such as a valid U.S. passport,
unexpired Immigration Authorization Service document, unexpired work permit, birth certificate,
drivers license, or social security card.

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You Solve The Problem

1. Discuss with your group members how you might feel as an applicant auditioning for a job as a
server at Cold Stone Creamery. Would you be enthusiastic about this process?

Answers will vary.

2. Working together and on the basis of your experiences as customers (and perhaps employees) of
ice cream parlors, list the duties and standards of this job. Then list the qualities you think are
important in a person holding this job. Use this list to develop a job description and job
specification for this position.

Answers will vary.

3. Which of the requirements from your job description and job specification does the Cold Stone
Creamery audition evaluate? What else should a Cold Stone Creamery supervisor do to select
qualified, motivated employees?

Answers will vary. Stone Cold Creamery supervisors should also review an applicants previous
work history for a service related background, especially in the food-industry. Also, supervisors
would want to have one-on-one interviews with applicants to view their individual skills.

Case: Wanted by Honda: Engineers Who Love Small-Town Living

Answers to Case Questions

1. Suggest three ways Honda R&D Americas could recruit engineers to fill jobs at research and
development facility in Raymond, Ohio.

Answers will vary. Honda R&D Americas could pay employees an efficiency wage, offer more
fringe benefits, or recruit recent graduates situated in a small town setting.

2. If you were interviewing a candidate for a job at this facility, what would you ask to determine
whether the candidate would be satisfied to stay at Honda?

Answers may vary. You could ask, Do you prefer to live in a small town atmosphere or a large

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3. How would Honda R&Ds emphasis on recruiting recent graduates, rather than experienced
automotive engineers, affect your job if you were the supervisor of these employees? Would you
want Honda to change its recruiting strategy? Why or why not.

Answers will vary. This may affect your job as the supervisor of these employees, because you
will have to train a majority of younger workers and possibly re-adjust your current organizational
culture to include a more diverse workforce. Honda should consider to change its recruiting
strategy in order to higher the best and the brightest to hopefully give Honda a competitive
advantage in the automotive industry.

Knowing Yourself: Would You Hire You?

This quiz provides students an opportunity to self-reflect on their own personal and institutional values
to see what kind of firm might want to hire them.

Class Exercise: Preparing to I nterview J ob Candidates


1. Review workplace challenges that require new skills in todays employees.
2. Make students aware of the sixteen job skills employers need in employees to meet new
workplace challenges.
3. Give students practice at developing interview questions that can help them assess job candidates
abilities in the sixteen job-skill areas.

Suggested Presentation

1. Review some of the challenges facing organizations today that require skills that go far beyond the
3 Rs.
2. Use PowerPoint slide 17.B to discuss the sixteen skills crucial to success. For a more thorough
review of these job skills, you may want to contact the American Society for Training and
Development, 1630 Duke Street, Box 1443, Alexandria, VA 22313, (703) 683 8100, for a copy of
the 33-page booklet entitled Workplace Basics: the Skills Employers Want.
3. Follow the instructions in the text. Emphasize that all questions should be job-related (textbook
instructions say BANK TELLER, but you may wish to use another job title).

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A brief summary of each skill area is provided below

Skill Category Specific Skills Skill Summary

Foundation knowing how to
The most basic of all skills because it is the key that
unlocks future success. Equipped with this skill, you can
achieve competency in the other fifteen basic workplace
skills. Without this skill, learning is not as rapid, nor as
efficient and comprehensive.

Competence reading Needed for locating information and for using higher-level
thinking strategies to solve problems.

writing Workplace writing relies on analysis; conceptualization;
synthesis and distillation of information; and clear,
succinct articulation of points and proposals.

computation Workplace math skills usually require problem
identification, reasoning, estimation, and problem solving
as they apply to specific job tasks.

Communication listening Listening style affects the transmission and receipt of
information. Five listening skills that are critical for
workplace success: listening for content; listening to
conversations; listening for long-term contexts; listening
for emotional meaning; and listening to follow directions.

You must recognize that the style you use when
communicating affect how you are perceived and what is

Adaptability creative thinking Thinking must extend beyond logical and sequential
thought patterns in order to generate new ways to
approach and to solve workplace problems.

problem solving You must be able to recognize and define problems,
invent and implement solutions, and track and evaluate

Raymond A. Noe, et al, Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage (Burr
Ridge, IL: Austen Press/Irwin, 1994), pp. 411-413.
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self-esteem Involved recognizing current skills and abilities, being
able to deal effectively with own limits, and recognizing
the need for and seeking new information to apply to
future job successes.

goal setting and
Understanding and expanding your own skills,
inventories, career planning, and career management.
Exploring the training and educational preparation needed
to meet career goals.

Group effectiveness interpersonal
The ability to interact easily with others through practicing
appropriate behavior, listening to others, and being an
effective communicator.

negotiation Major and minor conflicts are a fact of worklife. Being
able to resolve conflicts by separating people from the
problem, focusing on interests not positions, inventing
options for mutual gain, and insisting on the use of
objective criteria.

teamwork Interpersonal and negotiation skills are the cornerstones of
successful teamwork. You must be able to participate in a
group effort to accomplish vital tasks and goals.

Influence organizational You need a sense of the working of the organization and
how your actions affect organizational and strategic

leadership Being willing to assume responsibility and to influence
others to exemplary performance.

Suggested Answers

Answer Sample Interview Questions

i. self-esteem 1. Can you describe a task or project you completed in your last
job that you were particularly proud of?

h. problem solving 2. If you had a customer return to your teller window and claim,
in a rather loud and irritated voice, that you had made a
mistake, how would you handle the situation?

p. leadership 3. Give an example of a time when you took the initiative in your
group to motivate them to complete a task.

e. listening 4. What are some ways you can show customers that you are
listening to them?
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a. knowing how to learn 5. Describe the most difficult task you had to learn on your last
job and why you think it was so difficult to learn.

m. negotiation 6. Two employees want the same day off. How would you
handle this situation so both employees are satisfied?

k. personal/career development 7. Where would like to be working five years from now; and
how do you plan to get there.

d. computation 8. What is the difference between simple and compound interest?

n. teamwork 9. Do you enjoy working in a group, or do you prefer working
alone? Why?

f. oral communication 10. Give both a negative and positive example of how your voice
inflection or body language can affect how customers perceive

o. organizational effectiveness 11. How do you think you can fit into this company, and how can
you contribute to its success?

g. creative thinking 12. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) on your
creativity level. Why did you rate yourself as you did?

c. writing 13. Explain how you have used writing skills at previous jobs.

j. goal setting and motivation 14. Describe a recent goal you set for yourself and how you set
about to achieve it.

l. interpersonal skills 15. What do you feel is the most important skill you possess that
helps you deal effectively with co-workers? Give an example
of how you used that skill recently.

b. reading 16. Have you read any business-related books recently? If so,
which one was it? Describe one key idea you gleaned from
your reading.

Building Supervision Skills: I nterviewing and Selecting New Employees

This exercise simulates an abbreviated version of the selection process. The class develops a job
description and job specification. A list of interview questions is developed to indicate whether a
candidate is appropriate for this job. The students then role play the interview to select the best
candidate for the position. A set of questions is included for evaluating the interview including the
completeness of the interview, the type of questions used, the managers style of questioning, and the
inclusion of any illegal questions.