Interviews are a vital part of the hiring process for employers and candidates alike. You are getting to know each other, and impressions are important. This is also the part of the process where many liabilities emerge. You need to be careful to find candidates who are the right fit and protect your company's interests in the process. The best way to do this is to maintain careful interviewing standards.
According to Robert Half, establishing a clear protocol for interviews does not just shield you from liability — it also makes the process easier and more efficient. You can get the most out of your hiring process and ensure you attract the best candidates by following these three tips for ethical interviewing.
Avoid personal questions
It seems like a no-brainer that you should not quiz interviewees about their beliefs, families and personal lives, but it is all too easy to conversationally ask an inappropriate question. A candidate may comment on a family photo in your office and you might ask whether he or she has kids, for example. Though this is a natural response, it is illegal to ask such questions, and doing so could be a liability.
Focus on job
Rather than hone in on questions about your candidate, consider shifting focus to the job itself. You can learn a lot about an interviewee by observing how she or he responds to the information you share. More importantly, you can ask your candidate what he or she may do in certain situations related to the job. This minimizes the likelihood of asking a question or making a comment that the candidate could interpret as unfair.
Objectivity is of the utmost importance when it comes to hiring. You must apply the same standard to all potential employees, and you cannot give preferential treatment to any candidate. This is why an established and documented protocol is so important for your interviewing process. Outline the criteria for your hiring process and apply the same criteria to all candidates who apply.