The Hiring Process

Top Tips for the busy employer

red chair among grey chairs with banner stating the hiring process

Whether you are a start up about to hire your first employee or an established business expanding your workforce the following tips for employers in Ireland will prove useful.

 Don’t break the law

That may seem to be a given, however, you may be breaking the law and not be aware of it. Take great care not to discriminate. Discrimination is not always obvious. Most employers can see and avoid the blatant discriminatory practices. It is the unintended discrimination which catches the unwary business person. The following case illustrates this point:

  • Equality Authority v Ryanair [2001] E.L.R 107. This had an advertisement which was held to be ageist. It sought a  'young and dynamic professional'

Indirect discrimination occurs where rules are applied to everyone which can have a negative impact on anyone covered by the protected grounds. For example “ Must have 5 years experience”, this rules out younger applicants who may have the necessary skill set, but are prevented from applying for the job because of their age.

It is against the law to discriminate against candidates on the following grounds:

  • Gender. This includes a man, a woman or a transsexual/transgender person

  • marital status.

  • family status

  • sexual orientation

  • religion

  • age

  • disability

  • race

  • membership of the traveller community

For more on Equality at work see here

Positive discrimination

Where a certain protected characteristic is necessary for the job, it is lawful to specify this characteristic. For example,requesting a female care worker to work for a female who has issues with being cared for by a male. You should take advice prior to advertising such a position to ensure that you are not breaking the law.


To advertise externally or just internally

You might be tempted to just advertise the job internally. There is no law which states that you must advertise publicly, however, consider whether or not advertising it internally is causing discrimination. For example, all of your workers are female, you could be indirectly discriminating against men.

We recommend that you advertise the position externally to avoid discrimination and to widen the pool of applicants.


Checking an applicant's social media profile

While it may seem tempting to consider checking an applicant's facebook, instagram or other social media profile, you may be straying into the area of discrimination if you do. You may discover something about them that is in the protected grounds equality sphere. If you ultimately fail to offer the position to that person, then they may accuse you of discrimination based on what you learned about them from their social media profile. Linkedin is probably the safer of all the social media sites, in that it is designed for business opportunities and recruitment.

For more on Social Media monitoring of employees see here

The interview process

The whole selection and interview process must be carried out methodically, so as to avoid the accusation of discrimination. Use a scoring system that is not only fair, but is seen to be fair. When interviewing the candidates, be prepared, be methodical. Be very aware of the potential for discrimination. When the interviewer is methodical and follows a script, there is less likelihood that they will go off topic and ask random questions which may be discriminatory.

The big job offer

In selecting the successful candidate, be methodical. Candidates are entitled to ask on what basis they were rejected if discrimination is suspected. Always make the job offer conditional, e.g. health check, references, qualifications etc. Use a standardised job offer letter which includes the following:

  • The job title

  • confirmation that they have been successful and you are offering them the job

  • conditions to be fulfilled, e.g. references, qualifications,etc.

  • The usual terms, hours of work, place of work, salary, holidays etc.

  • When to start and probation arrangements

  • How to accept or decline the offer and the time frame in which to do so. Best to accept/decline it in writing.

  • Who to contact in your business.


The hiring process in summary

The common theme running through all of your actions in the hiring process is, don’t break the law. The consequences of doing so can impose a large financial burden on your business. The potential reputational damage can be immense. Be prepared. Be methodical. Follow templates and procedures where possible.


Why you need a recruitment and selection policy.

A good recruitment and selection policy will help you achieve the goals stated above.

  • Job descriptions will be fit for purpose

  • Assessment and selection of candidates will be consistent and unbiased

  • You will be less like to break the law

  • Everyone involved in the process will know what to do.




Where can I get help with the hiring process?

If you want help in staying legal throughout the hiring process please contact us using the orange Tell Me More button below.




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