In the latest issue of The Wright Toolbox:
5 Hiring Danger Zones
While many companies today are making conscious decisions to increase diversity among their workforce, there are some danger zones to keep in mind.
1. Job Requirements. Think about whether the position really requires a 4-year degree, or 15-20 years of experience. These criterion may negatively impact certain protected classes who historically were denied certain jobs; had to take a break from the workforce for other obligations; or who have more experience than your maximum requests.
2. Targeted Applicant Pools. Don’t target only women or minorities without a reason. Instead, use targeted recruiting for supplementing, not supplanting your company’s general recruiting strategy.
3. Blind Screening. Studies show that women and people of color are more likely to advance in the hiring process when their names and pronouns are redacted from resumes. When used regularly and consistently, it has great value. The problem occurs when there are exceptions to the practice for certain positions.
4. Implicit Biases. Always be mindful of the types of implicit biases of your company’s interviewers. You don’t want your interviewers to be biased for or against men/women/minorities/young/old. Consider having a diverse group of interviewers participate in every interview.
5. Diversity as a Basis for Hiring Decisions. Although your company’s goal may be to increase diversity, hiring decisions should not be made based on a candidate’s protected status alone. Experience and job-related skills remain important factors.
*This article was adopted from “5 Diversity Danger Zones,” authored by Jonathan Segal for the November/December 2018 edition of SHRM HR Magazine.
2018 GAO Bid Protest Annual Report
The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) issued its annual Bid Protest Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2018. During 2018, the GAO received 2,474 protests. Of the protests resolved on the merits during 2018, only 15% were sustained. The most prevalent reasons for sustaining protests during 2018 were: (1) unreasonable technical evaluation – for example, finding that the agency unreasonably found the awardee’s proposal was technically acceptable, where the acceptable rating was contingent on remediation of several issues that were not remediated; (2) unreasonable cost or price evaluation – for example, finding that the agency’s evaluation and adjustment of direct labor rates for only those employees for which government verified rates were available was inadequate to assess the realism of the offerors’ cost proposals and (3) flawed selection decision – for example, finding that the selection official failed to demonstrate a reasonable basis for finding that awardee’s strengths to be beneficial while not finding similar strengths of protester to be similarly beneficial.
The GAO noted that a significant number of protests filed with the office do not reach a decision on the merits because agencies voluntarily take corrective action in response to the protest rather than defend the protest on the merits. Agencies are not required to report the reasons for deciding to take voluntary corrective action. The GAO also reported that its “Effectiveness Rate” for 2018 was 44%. The Effectiveness Rate is based on a protester obtaining some form of relief from the agency, as reported to the GAO, either as a result of voluntary agency corrective action or the GAO sustaining the protest. Of interest, the Report notes that alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) was used in 86 cases and that the ADR process was 77% successful in resolving the cases. If you were looking forward to having your day in “court” regarding your protest with the GAO, don’t count on it, in 2018 the GAO conducted merit hearings in just 5 cases.
While the direct sustain rate at the GAO is low at 15%, perhaps the more accurate measure of results is the Effectiveness Rate, which reflects the percentage of time that a protester obtains some form of relief. Thus, protests result in some form of relief almost 50% of the time.
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