Could a simple DNA test replace a job interview in the not too distant future? It may sound a bit far-fetched, but according to Rohit Talwar (the speaker at Keynote #2 this year at ILTA) there may soon be technology that would allow testers to determine a variety of characteristics in DNA test subjects – both physical and mental. Not only could we test for a genetic pre-disposition to certain diseases or ailments, but we could also identify certain personality and behavior characteristics through these tests as well.
This brings up a lot of questions…
Could a DNA test become part of, or even replace, the interview process?
Human Resource Recruiters have been using personality profiles for years to match Individuals with certain characteristics to specific jobs – because they have compiled that research showing people with certain personality traits tend to excel in certain jobs in their company. HR departments could use a DNA test to guarantee certain characteristics which would virtually guarantee an individual would do well in a certain job.
Could a law firm conduct a DNA test on recent law school grads to determine if they were a fit for the firm?
If DNA testing has the potential to identify traits, characteristics, intelligence and more, then it might be possible to literally test applicants and then use the results to suggest a position and location to place the candidate within the firm. Alternatively, a DNA test might show the candidate would not be a good cultural fit for a firm and be used as a basis to deny employment.
Could a new sector of EEOC legal work be created by DNA testing?
Think about it. If an employer tested DNA for personality/IQ fit, but happened to find out that an individual has a probability of passing away from cancer at an early age, it would not be fiscally wise to hire said individual and invest in training them while knowing they would most likely pass away in a few years. Denial of employment based on a predicted future disease would almost certainly be cause for legal action, and would end up on the EEOC’s radar and could eventually become part of the EEOC disclaimer we all know so well. In fact, there are already notes about age and genetic information in that disclaimer (visible at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/) as follows “illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person\’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.”
While DNA interviews are certainly nowhere near standard during the hiring process now, this subject is certainly well within the realm of possibly and could become a real issue within the next several years. It is definitely something to think about…
-David A. Netzer