Top Five recruitment tips
How to avoid making costly mistakes
Under Equality legislation employers must not deny access to employment on the basis of age, race, nationality, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religious belief and membership of the Traveller Community.
The purpose of this article is to make you aware of the risks inherent in hiring workers, especially when it comes to unintentionally breaching equality legislation. The core advice is take care, double check it and get it right. Awards in the region of €10,000 are not unusual in the area of discrimination.
Advertising the vacancy
It is best practice to advertise the vacancy in a publicly accessible media, e.g. newspaper,recruitment website, professional journal. If you use word of mouth as a method to find your potential candidate you may be accused of excluding someone from the discriminatory categories. The advertisement can form part of the employment contract.
The Job description
If not handled carefully this can be a minefield. When drafting the job description and requirements make sure that they are not discriminatory. They must not make any reference, intentional or otherwise, to any of the discriminatory categories. There are exceptions outlined in the legislation. Contact us if you feel your vacancy may come under an exemption provision.
If using an application form, make the same copy available to everyone and check it for potential breaches of equality legislation.
Preparation is key when it comes to the interview. Have a list of main essential questions which should be put to each candidate. This ensures uniformity of approach in the interview process. It also has the practical benefit of making it easier to compare candidates. Keep all interview notes for at least 12 months, as a claim must be made within that time. Remember that under data protection legislation all candidates can obtain notes and data relating to them. This may form the basis of a claim, so be professional when taking notes. Pre employment medical exams must be restricted to the candidate's ability to carry out the job as described.
It is best practice to advise candidates that the employer may carry out online searches.
Advise unsuccessful candidates as soon as practicable.
The job offer
Having chosen the ideal candidate it is important to look at how you inform the applicant of their success.
A badly worded job offer can turn into an enforceable contract of employment. The letter of offer should always be subject to the contract of employment. There have been cases where the letter was worded in such a way as to over rule a probationary period, with financial consequences when it turned out that the applicant was not suitable.
The reference can be a valuable source of information on a potential employee. A well worded reference can reveal a lot. So too can a short reference. Is it short because the referee does not want to put anything negative for fear of being sued? It is important to note that the person giving the reference is liable for damages to the subject of the reference if they suffer loss as a result of a negligent, defamatory or malicious reference. Keep that in mind when writing or reading your next reference.
The common thread running through all of this is take care and take advice, especially from qualified experts.
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