Thursday, April 03, 2008

2008 PTC-NC Conference, Day 1

On March 20th and 21st I was lucky enough to attend (and present) at the 2008 PTC-NC Conference. There were several great presentations and I'm going to break the summary up into two days for ya.

The conference started off with Michael Harris, professor of International Business at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, with an update on what the courts have been saying in the area of adverse impact and employment testing. Some major points:

- Although criterion-related validity has been discussed a lot lately, Dr. Harris predicted that a content validation strategy will continue to be the most popular choice of employers.

- They're not perfect, but courts will continue to rely on the Uniform Guidelines when judging employers' efforts to validate their tests.

- Employers should be prepared to answer what alternative tests they considered before choosing the ones they did (the third prong of this type of case).

The next session was a breakout, with Chris Wright and Louis Xavier (SF State) presenting on stereotype threat while I went over the results of a demographic analysis I conducted on applicants to an on-line T&E system. Bottom line of my presentation: there were some clear demographic differences in the jobs applied for but actual instances of adverse impact (using 4/5ths rule) were rare.

Next up was another breakout, with Jim Kuthy (Biddle) presenting on AutoGOJA while Shelley Langan (CPS) presented on succession planning. I attended Shelley's, which focused on the importance of workforce planning given current demographics and provided some practical tips on how to put together a successful plan. Some key takeaways: limit succession planning to certain positions, consider inviting everyone to apply, and conduct a future-oriented job analysis as part of your planning process.

The last breakout featured an introduction to competency modeling by Nathan Ainspan (independent consultant) and a presentation on using personality testing by Shelley Langan and Howard Fortson (CPS). I attended the latter, where we had a spirited discussion of the state of personality testing and how to introduce personality testing to your selection process (hint: rhymes with job analysis). Example business measures they mentioned included the CPI, HPI, NEO, and 16-PF. They also mentioned an upcoming article by Hough & Oswald where the authors list all of the various outcomes that personality tests have been able to successfully predict.

Last but not least that day was an outstanding keynote address by James Outtz, president of Outtz and Associates and international expert on employment testing and discrimination. Dr. Outtz went over a wide range of issues related to those subjects, including the balance between validity and adverse impact (so well covered in the most recent issue of Personnel Psychology). He introduced some fascinating research that showed that while multiple choice formats showed adverse impact against African Americans and Hispanics (favoring Caucasians and Asians), the opposite was the case for multiple list (divergent) items. Perhaps most interesting was his description of a questionnaire he developed called the Job Perception Index that served as both a realistic job preview and a selection device for firefighter positions. Some great stuff from a fabulous speaker.

That's it for now--those of you that attended, feel free to comment or add! Tomorrow: Day 2.

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