In this video, human resources professional consultant and trainer Catherine Mattice explains how to avoid discrimination when conducting job interviews. Learn how to know the difference between legal and illegal questions. The tutorial also covers the use background checks, pre-employment tests and drug screening appropriately.
- Hopefully you've cast a wide net and brought in a diverse pool of applicants with your job posting. Now your job is to explore all of your candidates' skills, experience, education, and personality, in order to find the best fit. Unfortunately, the interviewing and hiring process can sometimes present a chance to discriminate against a candidate, even if you didn't mean to. Under federal law, it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of a protected characteristic, including race, nationality, religion, and more. Many states have their own laws that expand the list of protected characteristics.
Examples of discrimination include precluding groups of people in your job advertisement, not hiring someone because of age, or hiring two equally qualified employees into the same position, but paying one more than the other. Only ask candidates questions that are truly relevant. For example, if you are interviewing a candidate who indicated she is pregnant and will need some time off when the baby is born, you cannot ask will you be putting your child in daycare during work hours? That question is irrelevant. Instead, you should ask can you confirm that you will be able to work the hours we've discussed? Avoid questions about religion, age, marital status, veteran status, and more.
In other words, questions that force someone into a certain group are never a good idea, unless being a member of that group is absolutely 100% relevant to the job. For example, if a critical part of a plumber's job is to spend long periods of time bent over pipes in the floor, then your plumbing business must locate a candidate who can do exactly that. It would not be considered discrimination if you do not hire a person because their back injury prevents them from spending eight hours a day bent over floor pipes.
Also avoid getting into conversations that could later cause claims of discrimination. You might ask the candidate as you shake his hand how's your day going, and he may respond with, "busy, my daughter was running late this morning "and it's thrown my whole day off." Your response should not be, oh, how old is your daughter? A better response should veer the conversation away from that topic. Try something like I know how getting a late start can throw your day off; would you like a glass of water? What about background checks? Do you use them as part of your hiring process? Be aware, you cannot discriminate against people because of their criminal records.
You cannot avoid hiring a new construction worker because he or she got a DUI. Now, if a large part of that worker's job is driving a truck around all day, that might be a different story, and a question for your employment law attorney. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, has taken the stance that because criminal records disproportionately represent the races, they could indeed be grounds for discrimination claims against your company. What I'm saying is don't just run background checks because you think it seems like a good idea.
Unless you work in an industry where a person's background is of major concern, such as a daycare center, hospital, or financial institution, you should be working directly with your employment law attorney to layout guidelines for using background checks in your hiring process. The same goes for skills assessments and drug screening. If anyone ever challenged these tests, you would have to prove that you're performing them consistently and that there was a true and actual business need for them. With diversity, comes caution in your hiring processes.
Check out the guidelines for this that I've provided in the exercise files. In the end, a diverse workforce brings a wealth of benefit to your organization. Varying backgrounds, ways of thinking, and ideas about the world give you the competitive edge.
HR consultant Catherine Mattice outlines some of the considerations of the human resources professional, such as balancing the needs of employees with the interests of the organization. She reveals how to conduct an HR audit to identify HR practices that need improvement. She then outlines core HR responsibilities: staffing, training, documentation, compensation and benefits, performance reviews, job descriptions, compliance with state and federal regulations, and more.
- Building trust with employees
- Conducting an HR audit
- Classifying employees
- Setting up compensation and benefits
- Creating and enforcing company policies
- Writing job descriptions
- Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees
- Managing employee performance
- Training employees
- Disciplining employees