Effects of uniform guidelines on employee selection procedures in college placement offices

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress and the courts have legislated and adjudicated laws in an effort to eliminate discrimination in employment opportunities on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. In 1978, the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures were jointly issued by several federal administrative agencies and have included within their framework the types of employment selection practices operating in many contemporary college and university placement offices. These regulations have serious implications for college placement offices in which interview selection and referral practices fail to assist all students in fair and equitable ways. This study investigated from two perspectives the problems for college placement personnel that are associated with these guidelines.

First, legal research methodology was implemented to trace the historical and topical development of relevant legislative and case law. The findings of the legal research indicated that the federal government and the courts had mandated, rather consistently, two controlling standards that pertain to individual and class civil rights. Those standards are equality and neutrality. Failure of an entity to comply with either of these standards, except in listed instances, had been judged discriminatory under civil rights law. Based on existing litigations, judgments against college placement offices could be proscriptive, corrective, and/or compensatory in effect. Furthermore, there exists the potential for loss of governmental funding, the extent of which remains undetermined.

Secondly, the findings of the survey research indicated that a majority of college placement offices sampled (60.9%) were operating student interview selection and referral systems within the compliance standards of the Uniform Guidelines. Almost categorically, placement officers supported student interview systems that were void of prohibitive selection criteria (sex, race, color, or national origin). On the other hand, the Uniform officers void of religion, placement officers indicated more discriminatory trends where neutral selection criteria (academic majors, grade point averages, or degree levels) were concerned. Additionally 25.93 of the respondent institutions indicated that they had either changed, or were planning to change their interview selection procedures to be more in compliance with the law.

The survey research also led to significant findings among several demographic characteristics related to college placement offices, their personnel, and the Uniform Guidelines. Those characteristics included: college placement officers’ familiarity with and primary sources of information about the regulations; certain perceived resource needs; the adequacy of placement office staffing; and, governmental auditing of interview selection and referral procedures.

In combination these research findings indicated several factors which college placement personnel need to be aware of in order to bring their operations into legal compliance.