Unfortunately, discrimination can easily creep into any industry’s hiring practices. Through the use of subjective or incorrect employment data sources, or inconsistent/nonexistent standards, bias becomes unavoidable. By sticking to these basic employment standards, you’ll be able to avoid upholding discriminatory practices within your hiring process and better protect your company from liabilities.
We’ve talked about how you can avoid discriminatory practices in your tenant screening, but what about in your hiring process? The U.S. Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (or EEOC) prohibits “discrimination against an applicant or employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.” Alongside the EEOC’s regulations, you’ll want to keep tabs on your local and state’s employment regulations (as well as any additional industry regulations) before reviewing your hiring process. Beyond making sure your processes are squared away with the law, here’s where you can start:
- Objective Data or Information Always
First and foremost, your hiring practices need to be entirely based on objective hiring data or information. No ifs, ands, or buts allowed. If even an ounce of your hiring process is subjective, you leave your company vulnerable to a discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Although the use of social media during hiring has become a hot trend, tread carefully. There are huge risks to utilizing social media when hiring, and you’ll need to create a separate social media procedure to ensure its being used appropriately and objectively. When in doubt, use the data provided in your employment screening reports. Its objectivity is tried and true.
Pro Tip: Ban-the-Box legislation has risen in popularity over the years. Double check your state’s and city’s employment regulations, as to when you can screen applicants and what you can put on your employment application that might have changed!
- Consistency is Key
It should go without saying, but the only way you can truly avoid having discriminatory practices in your hiring process is by holding every applicant to the same standards. By judging everyone with the same hiring criteria you can evade claims that anyone was treated unfairly.
- When in Doubt, Write it Out
You know what they say: the proof is in the pudding. Having a written hiring criteria (and you can tailor this to each job position) will help your HR managers keep up consistency. It also eliminates any confusion between departments as to what prior experience, credentials, etc. is required of each applicant. Plus, writing your hiring standards out can help cover your bases if you run into any legal trouble.
- Written Proficiency Tests and Credentials are Your Friend
If there are specific skills necessary to perform the position, utilizing proficiency tests or requiring specific credentials or certifications can help weed out the job applicants that only look good on paper. Some common proficiency tests can include sections testing an applicant’s skill level with excel, grammar and punctuation, or even research skills.
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we all have our own biases. It can be difficult to separate ourselves from our perspective and stick to a hiring checklist. Regardless of how you feel about a particular job applicant, you must stick to objective hiring process in order to remain non-discriminatory. The sooner you incorporate (and maintain) these hiring basics into your employment processes, the better off your company will be.
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