Interviewing and Hiring Employees
Employers need to be aware of the issues they can face at the Interview stage of hiring new employees
When preparing to hire a new employee, careful thought should be given by the employer to the job role to be carried out and the type of skills and attributes the job holder will be required to have. Drafting a job description and person specification and then discussing this with other people with whom the new employee will work is a good starting point. Prepare carefully for the interview and have a list of the same questions to ask applicants.
After the first interview, don’t rush into a decision and if unsure, invite for a second or even third interview or a further informal chat with regards to the role and what the company’s aims and aspirations are with regards to the role to see how they fit with the applicant. Take advice on non-discriminatory means of selecting an employee by way of where to advertise the job role and questions to ask the applicants.
The Equality Act 2010 outlaws discrimination and harassment in relation to the 9 protected characteristics. With regards to hiring staff an employer must not discriminate against a person:-
- in the arrangements the employer makes for deciding who to offer employment to;
- to the terms on which the employer offers a person employment; or
- by not offering a person employment.
The concept of arrangements in the context of the Equality Act relating to hiring are construed broadly, for example, the format and content of application forms; the physical location and timing of interviews; the job description and person specifications. For example, a disabled person might complain that reasonable adjustments have not been made to enable them to attend an interview, or a woman with childcare responsibilities might complain of indirect sex discrimination if she is only offered an interview in the evening when she would otherwise be looking after her children.
Someone who has not even applied for a job can theoretically bring a discrimination claim in respect of the employer's recruitment “arrangements”, such a claim would probably be based on the job advertisement or a response made by the employer or recruitment agency in replying to an enquiry.
An employer may also be vicariously liable for any discriminatory actions of its managers and other employees who have been involved in the recruitment exercise.
There are also Data Protection issues to consider following the GDPR coming into effect. Job applicants are data subjects and provide personal data and may provide what was previously known as sensitive personal data to prospective employers who, as data controllers, process that data. This can be adequately dealt with if the employer has a GDPR candidates policy. We can help with this.
Good practice throughout the recruitment process by keeping a paper trail and training of staff who are involved in recruitment should help avoid litigation. In such circumstances, employers should be better placed to show that they took all reasonable steps to prevent unlawful discrimination or harassment.
The paper trail should include applicable recruitment and/or Equal Opportunities policies which have been followed through the recruitment exercise, a job description, person specification, selection criteria, any written test and notes of the shortlisting process. These should include handwritten notes or score sheets, interview questions, notes of interviews, minutes of any interview panel discussions or decisions following interviews. The above process should be a two fold gain for the employer in recruiting the suitable candidate and complying with employment law legislation on anti-discrimination and GDPR.
Employment policies in the workplace
We can also help you to manage your staff efficiently and protect your business by advising and preparing employment policies for your workplace.
Click here to find out more: workplace policies.