Hiring employees takes a certain type of skill that not many people possess. Some individuals can spot talent immediately, while others rely on recruitment software to help them choose the right candidate. But does this mean that the hiring process can be subjective? In many ways, yes it is. When you consider the many variables that must be taken into account when selecting candidates (personal biases being one of the biggest) it’s unlikely that the person doing the hiring will not be affected by his/her personal views, and experience during the interview process.
In her article for ERE MEDIA Top 10 Hiring and Recruiting Blunders by Employers Robin Shea, cautions, that “employers’ recruiting and hiring processes are fraught with legal risks” especially, if you are not aware of the potential landmines that you could step on, while going through the process.
We rearranged the order of those blunders and made a list 5:
Failure to hire the best person for the job: It’s easier to say “thanks, but no thanks” to a bad candidate than to say “you’re fired” to a bad employee. Failures to hire are also generally easier to defend than decisions to fire. So try to put all that nepotism, favoritism, prejudice, and concern about “connections” aside, and choose the individual who seems to have the best education, experience, and ability to perform the job. You can even consider whether the candidate “plays well with others” if you want.
Recruiting or hiring employees using “coherent people profiles” assembled by aggregators like Spokeo: Spokeo was fined $800,000 in 2012 by the Federal Trade Commission because it gathered all kinds of data about individuals — including race, ethnic background, religion, economic status, and age ranges — and sold the information to employers who used it in making recruiting and hiring decisions.
Use of pre-employment tests that don’t comply with the law: Of course, in the overwhelming majority of jobs, it is flat-out illegal to require a physical or psychological examination before a conditional offer of employment has been made. Other testing — for example, “personality” tests designed to measure honesty and work ethic, “intelligence” tests, or “skills” tests — may be all right, but be careful even with these.
Committing an EEO faux pas in the job interview: Have you ever done this or seen it being done? Asking female candidates (but not male) about their childbearing plans and day care arrangements. Asking minority candidates (but not “majority”) whether they have reliable transportation. Bragging about your “young, high-energy” workforce, which is generally recognized as “code” for age discrimination. Asking candidates about their physical health or fitness, or where they go to church. (Not even where they “worship”!) Telling sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious jokes in the interview.
Failure to involve Human Resources in the recruiting and hiring process: “Oh, but HR is such an obstacle!” Yes, and you should be grateful. Think of HR as your Jiminy Cricket: HR is trying to save you from potentially devastating class action lawsuits and expensive settlements of adverse impact/failure-to-hire claims.
It is hard to believe that some companies today, go through these blunders. It is equally naïve to believe they don’t. And as the process of hiring becomes more efficient, data-driven, and automated by AI and technology, companies need to be more vigilant in ensuring that they are keeping up with the workforce compliance in the jurisdiction in which they operate.
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