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The Interview Process

    We have all heard the statement, good help is hard to find.  In a climate where there are more jobs than there are applicants, this task becomes even more difficult.

    After you place an ad and receive resumes, you will need to determine which candidates have the right background for the job you have available.  This part of the hiring process is fairly simple. During this process, it is important to remember that you cannot eliminate potential hires for reasons of gender, religious affiliation, age or nationality.  There are other protected classes, however, these are the areas that can often be determined by carefully reading a resume. 

    When you accept resumes or applications in relation to a job, commonly referred to as solicited resumes, they need to be kept for one year.  There are many laws and regulations that require this; although if you are aware that an applicant is over the age of 40, you should retain the resume or application for as long as 2 years. 

    If a resume is received that was not directly related to a job you have available, it is important to understand that there are legal risks associated with the retention of such resumes.  For years, Civil Rights Groups and government agencies have sent people to apply for positions using them as testers to find employers that may be engaging in Civil Rights violations.  Keeping this in mind, it is something to consider before holding on to a resume because you think that you may need additional staff in a few months.

    Now that you have determined who has the right background for the position you are looking to fill, it is time to schedule interviews.  Some employers prefer to do a preliminary phone interview before scheduling a time to visit with the candidate.  Although the phone interview is a bit more informal than a face to face interview, the same rules apply on what questions cannot be asked.

    Following is a list of questions you cannot ask during an interview and just as important, if a candidate begins to discuss any of these “no-no’s” is it recommended that you immediately get the interview back on track and do not respond.  For example, if someone says “how do you feel about pregnant women working here?”  The wrong answer of course would be, “are you pregnant?”  I have seen people respond correctly one of two ways, we do not consider family status in making a hiring decision, or, tell me why you would like to work here.  The latter answer totally ignores the statement the candidate made which is also a correct way to deal with this.

    Recommended not to be discussed during interviewing:

    • Sexual Orientation
    • Family Status - including if they are married, have children or if they may be pregnant.
    • Political Affiliation
    • Disability
    • Gender, including Gender Identity
    • Military Status
    • Age
    • Credit Background
    • Citizenship
    • Criminal Record
    • Education unless required for the position
    • Financial Status
    • Social Security – if person is collecting
    • Union Affiliation

    The above areas are either illegal or just not good topics for discussion during an interview. They may not help you determine if a person has the qualifications for the job.  After a conditional offer of employment, some of the subjects may be considered. Banks, for example, will most always perform a credit check and it is legal for them to do so; however, it is recommended to check state requirements.  Discussing a candidate’s criminal history, as part of the hiring process after a conditional offer of employment has been made, is acceptable.

    The information provided in this article is only a recommendation.  For legal advice, it would be prudent to contact your attorney.

    By Jacquie Edelen