Increase Electronic Documentation and Use of Online Technology During the Selection Process
Improvements in recordkeeping technology could offer several benefits. Electronic documentation would allow for quick submission and retrieval of information at various steps in the process. Electronic recordkeeping could serve to streamline the selection process by allowing easier access to information about applicants and eliminating the need for staff to process applicant information by hand.
Currently the entire background check is paper-based. The LAFD has only recently moved to emailing reference-check information to an applicant's listed references; however, the results of the reference checks are still relegated to a paper file. Instead, gains could be made by using an online process for the people listed as references, for example, to submit their reference-check information, and for background investigators to submit their results. This could potentially allow for the non-selection of personnel at an earlier point in the process (as soon as information is obtained that meets non-select criteria, a suggestion discussed further in Step 1 below). Information could also easily be shared and cross-referenced across personnel conducting background checks, interviewers, and personnel responding to appeals.
Moreover, electronic documentation allows for more flexibility in double scoring and in examining the reliability and validity of the process and disparate impact of certain elements in the background investigation. For example, all the scores–not just the final overall score – assigned by members of the panel review team and their scores for each dimension could be recorded electronically. Doing so would allow subscore information to be validated against future performance, leading informed revisions to improve the panel review content.
Although moving to electronic recordkeeping would be initially costly, the long-term gains will likely outweigh the initial costs.