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Spokane Employers Have One Up on Seattle…

June 15, 2012

Image    You don’t have to live in Spokane for very long to sense the competition between the East and West.  So I was pretty happy the other day when Jack Kaplan from WorkSource Spokane told me that he and another person in the Tri-Cities were the only state employees certified to assist employers in the recruiting and hiring process using state of the art assessment processes. (Take that Seattle!)   Jack is the author of a recent white paper, “Better Recruiting Through the use of Skill Profiling, Assessment, Behavioral Interviewing and On the Job Training.”  (You need to read this!) He is also a business superstar that WorkSource snagged to work with businesses in Eastern Washington.

We’ll just briefly discuss some of the high points of Jack’s work here.  According to the Department of Labor, training a minimum wage worker costs an employer in excess of $5,000.  As the economy improves and more workers are being hired, employers are tending to hire based on technical skills education, certification or experience. Technical skills are certainly important, but what about the other things that make good employees?  Foundational skills include reading, writing, applied mathematics, listening, etc. and these are elaborated at length by Eric T. Vincent, a well-known industrial psychologist in his paper “Foundational Skills are Key to Success in the Workplace.”  Vincent notes, “…80% of manufacturers have trouble finding qualified employees, with 60% of their job applicants rejected due to deficiencies in foundational skills…”

 So what can WorkSource do to help you avoid this employment quagmire? 

 WorkKeys is the system that employees can now take advantage of through Jack at a very low cost and use to hire the right people the first time.  The company that developed it is ACT.  Some of us took the ACT college admissions test back in the day, same people.  Job Profiling has many definitions but generally identifies the most important tasks, skills and other functions necessary to succeed in a job.  After a great deal of R & D, ACT developed their own Job Profiling method which involves:

  • Creation of an initial Task List-The profiler creates a list using national job data and information collected from a company contact person and a tour of the job site.
  • Task Analysis-The profiler meets with job incumbents to customize the task list.  The job experts rate each task for Importance and Relative Time Spent to ensure the tasks are critical to performance on the job.
  • Skill Analysis-The profiler leads the job incumbents through a process of linking the job tasks to the WorkKeys skills and skill levels.
  • Documentation-The profiler documents the results in a customized report.

Because the process uses current employees there is an additional benefit of drawing them into the importance of what they do.  Additionally, your HR peeps will tell you that the resulting outcomes must pass the definition of a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ).  The US Supreme Court determined in Dothard v. Rawlinson that employers have a burden to prove that job requirements are not discriminatory.  The WorkKeys method results in outcomes that will pass the BFOQ test. 

If you think you might benefit from this process and want to know more give Jack Kaplan a call at (509) 532-3061 or email him at  and don’t delay.  I think when companies hear about this, the line will form to the right!



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