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State Hiring Practices Need Reform

The current problems within the Probation Department should encourage the Legislature to consider a more comprehensive reform of state government's hiring practices. The state's recruiting and hiring goals should be designed to seek competent and qualified candidates who will successfully contribute to accomplishing the tasks within their position and work unit. Selecting individuals for any and all state jobs must be based upon a fair, objective, and transparent process. Many human resource managers suggest that traditional employment interviews are not very effective in helping to select the best candidate for the position. A study conducted at the University of Michigan on the predictors of job performance found that a typical job interview increased the likelihood of choosing the best candidate by less than 2 percent. Eliminating subjective factors from the hiring process and using multiple selection methods would improve the chances of choosing a qualified candidate. Knowing what the position requires, with an objective skill assessment and performance-based interviews, will also help to insure that all candidates are treated fairly during the selection process. Job references should be limited to the specific areas of the candidate's qualifications and character. The references should only come from organizations or individuals with direct knowledge of the candidate's skills, education, training, and prior work history. The State should consider, as part of hiring reform, a single-entry clearinghouse for all state employment applications. The clearinghouse could screen all applications to meet fair and equal employment standards as well as any inappropriate recommendations or assessments. If we are to continue our efforts to downsize state government while making it more cost effective, we will need more people who are capable of performing effectively. Brian Ashe State Representative 2nd Hampden District
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