Daffy's has begun using an automated job applicant screening program from Interim Assessment Services (formerly HReasy) at 15 store locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The customized program -- which covers sales associates, cashiers and stock clerks -- allows applicants to call a toll-free number for an automated pre-screening evaluation, relieving the company's human resources department from time-consuming initial interviews.

Daffy's, headquartered in North Bergen, NJ, is a retailer of off-price, quality apparel for women, men and children.

Interim Assessment Services, based in Charlotte, is a leading provider of automated applicant screening using a toll-free telephone number, employment center PCs and the Internet. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Interim Services Inc. (NYSE: IS), soon to be known as Spherion.

With the program, Daffy's employment advertisements in local newspapers advise applicants to call a toll-free number that is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Then, using a touch-tone phone, they answer a two-tiered series of questions by pressing "one" to answer Yes or "two" to answer No. The first tier asks applicants questions typically found on employment applications regarding experience and availability. If they satisfy Daffy's eligibility standards, they continue to the second tier of questions.

"Second-tier dimension questions are designed to seek out candidates that best match the client's culture and, most importantly, the characteristics necessary to perform in a productive manner," says Interim Assessment managing director Ken Kunda.

Questions are designed by the firm's industrial psychological staff, with input from the client. Subjects typically covered in the interview include applicants' cooperation, customer service orientation, dependability, and ability to handle work demands, to name a few. Response time is monitored and the interview is designed to return to ask subsets of questions on a topic if an applicant's answers aren't the preferred response.

Using Interim's automated scheduler, successful applicants select an interview time to meet with the client.

Kunda notes that the automated screening program offers a high degree of fairness. "All applicants are asked the same questions and can be assured they are job-related," he says. "This program eliminates the possibility of any unintended bias on the part of a local manager or recruiter."

Interim Services Inc, with 1999 pro forma revenues of $3.8 billion, is a human capital management company that helps companies strategically manage their workforce for optimum efficiency. Through more than 1,000 offices in North America, Europe and Australia/Asia, Interim provides consulting, managed staffing, outsourcing, search/recruitment and flexible staffing for a wide variety of skills including: information technology, finance, legal, technical and human resources; as well as clerical, administrative and light industrial. Visit the Company's website at http://www.interim.com.