One of the tricky things about being in the pre-employment testing business is dealing with adverse impact. It is true that some demographic groups tend to score better on some tests than others, which can lead to problems. Some companies decide that the best solution is either lowering the passing score on the test or getting rid of the assessment all together. In both instances, they are shooting themselves in the foot as they are allowing a solvable issue to reduce the economic effectiveness of their selection process. A better approach is to draw better talent to your organization.

This article talks about how one high tech company approached the diversity issue. Rather than using quotas or dumbing down their hiring process, it made itself more attractive to female applicants so it had a more talented pool of candidates from which to draw.

One thing that helped their approach was that they had a very specific focus (females, particularly software engineers). There wasn’t a reference to a “right” number of hires, which I think is good. This means that they are concentrating on getting diverse talent and not jumping through a numeric hoop.

To recruit a diverse and talented pool of candidates, you also need to know where your process is excluding people disproportionately. That will tell you whether is a recruiting issues (we’re just not getting enough talented people in the pipeline) or potentially a bias issue (why do our interview outcomes look this way?).

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