Protect Yourself During New Employee Interviews

2 Lessons None

About this course

You are recruiting a new Employee. You have run the ad and had some promising applications. You are planning to interview them yourself, after all it is your responsibility and you want to ensure you have the right person. But your expertise is not really HR and you know there are laws around interviews. Well – you are right! There are things you can and cannot ask or say. There are things you can and cannot do. Don’t worry – we have you covered! You don’t need a recruiter or a HR manager to run the interviews, just take note of the below:

1.Include an additional person in the interview process.  It is best practice to have at least one additional person present with you, whether this is your Practice Manager, senior staff member or associate. A witness is always good if needed.

2.Stick to the script.  You should have clear set of questions to ask your candidates and they should be related to the candidate’s appropriateness for the role. You can depart from the script to ask additional work related questions, for example if your prospective Employee starts to talk about work experience and the comment is relevant to the role – you can ask the candidate for further examples, ask them to elaborate, ask them how they dealt with situations. It is okay to divert if the questions are related to the script and related to the role.

3.Avoid asking discriminatory/irrelevant questions.  It is unacceptable to ask discriminatory/irrelevant questions for example about the candidate’s personal relationship status (are you married?), sexual orientation (are you gay?), family obligations (do you have kids, or are you considering becoming pregnant); religious orientation (are you Muslim and how will this effect the role); health if not related to the role (do you suffer from mental illness for example); who they associate with (do you belong to a union which we feel will give us a hard time). The reason is that it is not lawful to discriminate against a person in the interview – and you don’t want the candidate to allege they were not offered the job due to a discriminatory reason.

4.Conduct yourself in a professional manner.  It is not acceptable to behave unprofessionally which includes harassment such as asking the candidate out for a drink, or on a date, commenting on how they looks (i.e. you look nice in that dress, I like your tight skirt, what size or weight are you?).

Likewise you should not make inappropriate comments on non-work related (i.e. personal) matters such as – what is your husband's job, how much does he earn etc. Do not touch the candidate (shake of the hand is ok), stare at their body (i.e. chest) or kiss them, obviously! Stick to the script and you will be okay.

5.Who should the 3rd person be?  Ideally the 3rd person should be your HR manager who can keep you on the script and interrupt and make good any uncomfortable or tricky situations, but this may not be possible. Choose your most knowledgeable Employee in this area, which may be the Practice Manager. It is acceptable to ask an associate, a friend or a consultant.

6.Notes.  Take notes (or ask your 3rd party to do so) of the answers to the script as a record of the discussion could come in handy.

7.Questions you can ask.  You can ask if the candidate has any health/medical issue which would prevent them from carrying out their duties properly. Examples may include allergies to latex (i.e. for gloves). This may elicit response in connection with time off work due to sickness or injury including work cover. But remember – unless it is necessary for the role, you can not discriminate against the candidate due to medical reasons. I.e. if the Employee is allergic to latex and it cannot be managed, and there is latex on all appliances, it is fair to conclude the candidate is not fit for the job. But if your candidate says he/she has depression and it is completely managed and will not interfere with work, you cannot disregard him/her for this reason.

8.Some obvious no-nos:

  • Are you married?
  • Will you join me for dinner?
  • Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • Are you gay?
  • What did you go to the doctor last for?
  • What size clothes are you?
  • How old are you (unless to determine if they are a minor)

TIP:  Bring a trusted 3rd party, stick to the script and take notes! Maintain your professionalism – it is also an opportunity for the candidate to speak publicly about your Practice and their encounter with you. A nice follow up letter to unsuccessful candidates is always appreciated.

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