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Taking a Second Look at the Screening Process Can Save Big Money

March 11, 2004
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Small changes to the pre-employment screening process can save time and money without negatively affecting the quality of hires, according to Delynn Lamott, a professor at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Delynn Lamott tells Hospital Employee Health of her experience while working at a small hospital in Michigan. Lamott’s hospital had been using pre-employment health tests for years. The head of human resources and the hospital’s vice president of legal affairs didn’t want to get rid of them, feeling that there might be a lawsuit if an employee wasn’t given health tests and later got hurt or sick at work. Lamott insisted that the pre-placement health tests weren’t job-relevant, but at first "I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me," Lamott told Hospital Employee Health.

Candidates’ urinalysis tests, for example, showed if they had bladder infections, but that doesn’t relate to someone’s ability to do a job. Their back X-rays didn’t specifically show whether someone could do heavy lifting. The alcohol tests weren’t worth much either, since alcohol is eliminated from the body within about five hours. In addition to these problems, employee dissatisfaction with the tests ran high.

Lamott streamlined the tests, scrapping aspects of them that were irrelevant and adding tests that did correlate to job success, such as simple tests to see if they can lift weight. The pre-placement screenings that used to cost $227 per person and take more than four hours now cost about $48 and take less than two hours, according to Hospital Employee Health.

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