Corporate leaders have embraced the proven research that shows a diverse workforce yields better results. Meeting EEOC requirements is part of the equation that recruiters must consider as they hire capable, team-oriented employees who come from a variety of backgrounds. A Forbes study attributed workforce diversity as the driving force responsible for improved innovation and growth.

Recruiting Capable and Qualified Candidates

The challenge recruiters face is how they can best assess a candidate’s ability to do a job by using tests that are not biased against certain protected groups and that will provide accurate test results. Skills and abilities tests must meet EEOC requirements.

Cognitive tests are used to evaluate an applicant’s abilities in arithmetic, reasoning skills, memory and reading comprehension. Employer best practices dictate that tests used for recruiting purposes do not unfairly screen out certain applicants from protected groups when a different or modified test would work just as well to assess the same skills. For example, the instructions to a math test might be offered in a variety of languages. Tests deemed appropriate for use should be validated as appropriate for the positions being filled. As job descriptions change, the tests used for selection purposes should be updated and reviewed to ensure that they continue to comply with EEOC laws.

Recruiting Qualified Team Players 

Being qualified technically for a position is only a fraction of the recruitment success formula. It is also important that new employees get along well with others and work well in a team environment. In these cases, a recruiter should use EEOC-approved tests to evaluate an applicant’s ability to work as a team player.

Personality tests and integrity tests evaluate a candidate’s attitudes and values. These types of tests are invaluable for sneaking a peek into prospective employees’ psyche to determine whether they are prone to high absenteeism or theft. Character traits like these are important to know.

Avoiding Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact Discrimination

As defined on the EEOC Fact Sheet, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits both disparate treatment and disparate impact forms of discrimination. Disparate treatment cases are likely to involve situations where people from a protected class are treated differently during the hiring process. For example, Title VII forbids a covered employer from testing the reading ability of African American applicants or employees but not testing the reading ability of their white counterparts. Questions about why this group of people were treated differently will be used to determine whether their complaints are warranted. If it is discovered the employer intentionally arranged for the disparate treatment of protected classes, the employer will be in violation of EEOC regulations.

Disparate impact differs from disparate treatment. The test given must have a direct impact on the position. For example, an employer gives a physical strength test to all applicants, and this test screens out female applicants at a much higher rate than males. It would be incumbent on the employer to show that physical strength is necessary and job-related. If the employer were hiring for a bookkeeper and the physical test ruled out most women applicants, then the employer would have to prove why a certain level of strength was required to perform the duties of a bookkeeper.


While diversity in the workplace has been proven to be a valuable asset, it can be challenging from a recruitment standpoint. Navigating EEOC legal issues while trying to recruit a diverse workforce is why many job openings stay open for extended periods of time. If you use eSkill as your assessment tool, you can have confidence that your job-related tests will be EEOC compliant and your worries about legal issues will be behind you. As you continue to hire to create more diverse teams, consider employee referral programs and social media outreach to attract a broader group of prospective applicants.

Annie Grace Wilson

Annie Grace Wilson is a Public Relations Specialist for Diversity Best Practices. She regularly produces content for a variety of blogs that cover topics from leadership to team training.

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