Employment Law Interviews
Employers will soon experience a peak in job applications with the announcement of examination results. A contact of mine recently commented that recruitment process is as stressful for him as for the applicants, with all the pitfalls, including legislation and fictional CVs, he needs to consider. He rightly pointed out that every step of the process has legal ramifications, often anti-discrimination legislation.
Employers would be breaking the law if they discriminated against a candidate in relation to their gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, religion, disability, status as a married person or a civil partner, pregnancy, maternity leave, membership of a trade union or age.
Opportunities to unwittingly discriminate abound, so employers should follow some simple steps. Draw up a shortlist by comparing the candidates details with the criteria they must meet to be considered. This reduces the opportunity for discrimination. Involve others too and consider concealing details which may indicate gender, race, age and so on.
Be mindful that the questions asked during interview may be construed as being discriminatory. Avoid this by not putting questions to the interviewees concerning their intentions regarding starting a family for example or their sexual orientation.
While employers are allowed to ascertain information about a candidates disabilities under the Disability Discrimination Act, they may not allow that data to influence their decisions.
Keep notes of what was said during the interview but do not include your thoughts about the interviewee. These notes may be called upon at a future date should there be a need to mount a defence against allegations of discrimination by a candidate.
Some businesses deploy tests - practical, psychometric and so on - as part of the selection process. The tests must not discriminate against candidates on grounds of disability or race or gender. It goes without saying that all data arising from the selection process must be held securely.
Following interview, benchmark the candidates in a non-discriminatory fashion. Once a candidate has been deemed successful, and back-ups identified in case of refusal, there are checks to make, including qualifications, references and the right of the individual to work in the UK.
Finally, draft the offer letter highlighting the terms and conditions of the role. Include any conditional criteria, for example, the offer is subject to the result of the checks or a probationary period or a medical examination (which must be demanded of all prospective employees).
One should also remember that the interview and probationary period are two way streets as candidates are also sizing up their prospective employers. All employers hope for employees who contribute to the success and reputation of the organisation. Equally all candidates hope for a selection process which is fair in every respect.