Interviews are the third topic in our series on hiring. You should have already prepared a complete job description that will help you if you need to terminate the employee. Thus, you have some form of criteria for weeding out the applicants. That criteria should remain consistent when interviewing, and is useful throughout the employment of the person in that job (although job descriptions may change). You have or obtained from counsel an application that meets state and federal legal requirements, and you have found good candidates for your job opening(s). It’s time to select an employee(s) based on all the information that you have gathered for an interview. What should employers know about interviewing?
Have a system. Discrimination claims can arise when employers selectively review some unsolicited resumes but not others. Be sure that you are interviewing people that applied through proper channels with a defensible rationale for how you made the selection.
Be consistent. When interviewing people, try to use the same sets of questions. Brainstorm them with others to find out what the “core competencies” are. You may have heard the phrase for entry level jobs: hire for attitude, train for skills. This person has to be a part of the team, and you can ask about how they will perform certain job functions. You can also ask about attendance in past positions.
Team questioning is the best way to go. A team of three or more people can help reduce bias from the interviewers, and will allow the most flexibility in getting to understand someone’s qualifications. Rotate the questions among the team so that the applicant may see different personal styles and you will get different reactions. If you are interviewing for a specific department, involve the manager(s) in the interview as more than just consults.
- In an interview, there are still limitations on what you can ask about, namely regarding criminal records. (See our CORI post for more information)
- You cannot discuss medical or disabilities until after a job offer is made. Then it must be about medical fitness to perform the essential functions such as ability to lift certain weights. This also includes requesting a medical exam.
- If you intend to use social media as a way of judging the applicant’s character, there have been a range of issues about doing so and you should seek advice. We will have an upcoming blog entry on this topic.
If you have any doubts as to what may or may not be legal, contact an employment lawyer for counsel on the matter.