03042020HAO1170SPRINGFIELD – To increase employment opportunities for women, minorities and people with disabilities, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) is sponsoring a measure to change the job interview process at state agencies.

“Agencies must keep diversity in mind when they interview job candidates,” Belt said. “People tend to hire candidates that look like them. That means one-dimensional interview panels are far less likely to create a diverse workplace.”

Senate Bill 3214 would create the Equal Opportunity Employment Interview Initiative and require state agencies to implement hiring goals for certain target groups, including women, minorities and people with disabilities.

During a multiple stage or panel interview process, if the applicant has a disability or identifies as a minority, a woman, or bilingual, state agencies would have to assign an interviewer who also represents one of these groups.

In addition, in an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly, state agencies would be required to disclose:

  • the number of interviewees from target groups,
  • the number of interviews in which both the applicant and an interviewer were representative of the same target group, and
  • the number of applicants from target groups who were hired under the Equal Opportunity Employment Interview Initiative.

“Diverse hiring panels could help reduce bias hiring,” Belt said. “If an applicant is a woman, her chances of getting hired are improved if a woman is part of the interview panel on the opposite side of her.”

This legislation passed the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday with an 8-0 vote.