belt eeo 031721SPRINGFIELD – In order 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.

“It’s essential for agencies to have diversity in mind when they interview job applicants,” Belt said. “People tend to hire applicants that look like them, which means interview panels that lack diversity can be less likely to produce a diverse workplace.”

The measure 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.

“A diverse hiring panel could help decrease bias during the hiring process,” Belt said. “If an applicant is a woman, her chances of getting hired improve when a woman is part of the panel conducting the interview. The same goes for individuals who identify as a minority.”

Senate bill 1765 passed the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.