Maintaining Equality in Recruitment
Under the Equality Act of 2010 all employers are required to treat all candidates for roles equally, basing any employment decisions, purely on the candidate’s ability to perform the work required.
Here are some common-sense tips to getting it right and avoiding potential problems.
Selection of candidates
Don’t read too much in to a CV – when picking through CV’s to invite for interview try and only focus on the following factors:
- Relevant work experience the candidate may have
- Stability, frequency of employment (i.e have they job hopped or stayed for a while)
- Geographic location and their potential ability to get to work
It’s generally best not to read too much into a CV and simply see it as a way of shortlisting candidates. You should avoid trying to guess people’s ages, gender or race based on when they went to school, their name or where they have worked previously.
When the candidate comes in for interview areas that should not be questioned should include:
- The candidates age
- Their physical health unless they disclose this themselves
- Their religion or beliefs
- Their role in looking after children or wider family
- Their future plans with regard to having a family
- Their opinion on things that could be seen as leading to bias such as immigration, their thoughts on religion or homosexuality for example
Interview questions should be questioned based on assessing if the candidate has the right skills to do the job including the following:
- Previous similar experience to your role
- Reasons for leaving previous employment
- The skills the candidate has that would be suitable for the job
- The candidates own behaviour (such as the ability to organise work, work to deadlines etc)
- The candidate’s ability to get to work and if working hours are suitable if working shifts or part time
- What training the candidate may need if they are successful
- What career path the employee has set for themselves
- What rate of pay they need / you are offering
Using Medical Questionnaires
Medical questionnaires are used by many employers to help assess any risks an employee may have with regard to pre-existing medical conditions and their employment.
The most common reason for issuing a medical questionnaire would be to see if the candidate suffered any allergies, so that colleagues could be made aware of what to do if the employee had an allergic reaction at work.
In most cases medical questionnaires should only be issued after an offer of employment has been made, because if this information is disclosed during selection it could be argued that it was used against the employee as a potential reason for not employing them and so can become discriminatory.
Interview best practice advice
- Try and hold two interviews with each candidate before offering them a role this tests if the candidate is really keen and lets you check twice before you offer them the job
- Draw up a job description and or person specification for the job so you know what’s important in terms of experience, skills, tasks and behaviours
- Create a standard list of questions that you ask all candidates from the Job Description or Person Specification
- Base decisions regarding employment purely on what you know rather than what you think – so commonly this can involve employers saying things like ‘They’ve done the job before so they should be good’, or ‘She’s getting married next year so she’s likely to be off having kids’
- Avoid the Halo and Horns effect, this happens when you either read something on a CV you like and so tend to look for the good in candidates and bias questions accordingly, or read something on a CV you don't like and so tend to ask more critical questions to prove that the candidate can’t do it.
- To assess skills, use competency or behaviour questions to find out if someone can do something such as:
- When using a CNC machine, can you explain what you would do as part of a safe start up routine?
- Describe a situation where you were asked to do something that you had never attempted previously?
- How do you ensure compliance with policies in your area of responsibility?