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88 process. This consideration is relevant because RTD is moving Best Practice: Pre-Screening for Map Reading Skills toward onboard computers on all of its vehicles. The recruiter Map reading skills were reported as a disqualifier in study also makes a pre-interview telephone call to assess basic com- focus groups as well as in interviews with paratransit man- munication skills. With all of these items completed, a decision agement teams. In describing what is often found in pre- is made as to whether to set up an in-person interview. Drug employment screening, one contractor gave the following and alcohol screens, a DOT physical, and background checks scenario: follow successful interviews. Upon completion of this screen- ing process, most applicants get cleared for training. People may have been born and raised here and they know how Another Denver RTD contractor begins its pre-employment to get around town, but do so by saying `Go over here by the screening process with a review of the application to make sure Conoco station and make a left,' never having looked at a map book, and so it is a real challenge. A lot of time the ones that don't it is complete. Next, there is a review of the MVR record not make it through training it is because they do not get through the only to evaluate how many points the individual has but also mapping. to check the number of incidents recorded. In some cases, a person with a high number of incidents yet an acceptable Rather than waiting until employees are in new hire train- number of points may have plea bargained with authorities. ing, some providers assess basic map reading skills during the Any applicant who has had a suspension within the past five pre-employment screening. The following is a tool that one years is not eligible for further consideration. The job appli- contractor, Special Transit in Denver, Colorado, uses to test cant's experience is also reviewed: this may include paid or basic map reading skills found to be essential to success in per- volunteer experience, such as working with older adults at a forming the paratransit vehicle operator job. The map shown nonprofit agency or church. This contractor also conducts a in Exhibit 8-1 is provided to applicants, and they are asked to pre-interview criminal background check. The interview complete the single map reading exercise that accompanies it. process includes job-related questions and an assessment of how well the applicant reads and writes in English. Applicants Realistic Job Previews must also pass a map-reading quiz. After this process is com- pleted, the applicant is sent for an interview with the super- According to a recent study of labor issues at a major ADA visor of operators. paratransit operation, "an honest appraisal of all of the aspects Exhibit 8-1. Example test for basic map reading skills. Sample Map Reading Exercise As a driver you will be required to have basic mapping skills. Our Training Department will teach more advanced mapping during the three-week of new driver training. You have 15 minutes to complete this timed exercise. 1. Note the compass on the top of the attached map page; please complete the south, east and west directions on the compass. 2. Please locate Niwot Estates on your map. Mark as your starting point. Starting on Monarch Rd. using a marking pen show how you would get a Niwot Rd. and Elm St. 3. Please describe each turn (right or left) and which direction you would be heading (north, south, east, west) as you would travel from Monarch Rd. ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ _________ 4. Identify three major streets or roads on this map. A. ___________________ B__________________ C _____________________ 5. Looking at your map, in which direction is Mineral Rd. heading: north and south or east and west? Applicant Name: _______________________________ Date _________________
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89 Exhibit 8-1. (Continued). of the job should also be provided during the interview process. Applicants may feel they are applying for a "driving" job when, Job Preview in fact, there is a lot more involved than just driving. An hon- est job preview can reduce the training drop-out rate as well as Previewing the paratransit vehicle operator job early post-training turnover" (45). with applicants can help to identify individuals The literature review also revealed the importance of a real- who would not be effective or comfortable in istic job preview as a factor in attracting applicants and retain- the job before they are hired and begin training ing new hires. One innovative approach identified during the or passenger service. research is to have applicants spend a day on the road with an experienced operator to give operators a better sense of the actual job. Another approach being used is to have the new hire spend the first day going through an obstacle course set A third innovative approach is designed to allow applicants up in an enclosed parking lot and driving the vehicle that will to (1) self-select out of the process if they feel the job is not a be used on the job. good fit or (2) become more interested and committed to the