Thread: Test-score "banding"
03-02-2010, 11:43 AM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Anyone have knowledge of this, or personal experience? There has been discussion of adopting this technique in our dept. Seems like our current method of test-rank hiring keeps it real simple and fair.
03-02-2010, 04:44 PM #2
I spent 13 years working in state level HR and wrote the code for the state's banded scoring system. Used correctly, I don't have a big problem with them.
Most of them work on the principal that small score differences don't demonstrate a difference in a candidate's potential. Rather than absolute ranking, candidates are grouped with everyone in that group considered to be tied. The best analogy is school grades. If your average is 90-100, you got an A, 80-90 B, 70-80 C, and so on. Each group performed similarly enough that the differences in each group aren't considered significant enough to warrant distinction.
Here's the good:
Banding gives the appointing authority the chance to consider the intangibles that can't be measured but make for a good employee. Candidate A got every question right but has a questionable work history, no experience in stressful environments, and doesn't interview particularly well. Candidate B missed a couple of questions but just got out of the military with an overseas tour under his belt and looks like he belongs on a recruiting poster. You've got one opening. Who do you want? Banding makes it possible to hire the guy most likely to make it through training and perform on the fireground.
Here's the bad:
Banding can also be used to pick and choose candidates based on a political agenda. A larger selection pool gives the appointing authority the means to include or exclude individuals for reasons other than their qualifications.
Used properly, banding isn't a bad thing but like all things with freedom comes responsibility. If your department/appointing authority is a good, upstanding, honest organization truly interested in finding the best candidates it will probably be good for you. If not, run away very fast.
03-02-2010, 07:46 PM #3
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Thanks for your honest reply. I do see the potential in it helping to hire quality people. I cant help but believe that if introduced there could be a lot of pressure from the city to consider the demographics when selecting between individuals that have been banded together. As you stated, I can only trust in those involved in the process to keep it fair. The overwhelming atmosphere that I observe in the dept. is a great value in the civil service statutes we benefit greatly from. In a sense it seems like a loss of some of the protection of civil service if we were to change the process by an agreement in collective bargaining. Will the banding eventually follow to include the promotional exams?
03-02-2010, 08:06 PM #4
It could be used for promotional exams. The scheme gets less effective as the pool of applicants gets smaller so at some point it isn't a very useful tool.
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