Every company wants to minimize its exposure to litigation and discrimination which has become a hot button issue as employment discrimination claims continue to rise. The good news is that if an employer implements best practices with regard to avoiding discrimination, it can nearly eliminate any potential discrimination claims during the hiring process.
Discrimination occurs when an employer hires a candidate based on something other than an applicant’s qualifications. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant based on race, age, sex (including sexual orientation and pregnancy), national origin, or disability status. While it is completely acceptable for an employer to ask a job candidate about his or her professional background or qualifications, questions that fall within the realm of legally protected characteristics are strictly off limits.
One of the best ways to protect against potential discrimination claims is to implement a blind application process. A blind application does not just reveal information involving the applicant’s age, race, or other protected characteristics, but also gives an employer a much more in-depth look at more relevant pieces of information about the candidate like their qualifications and skills. This will drastically help the employer make more logical hiring decisions.
Of course there’s a point when you bring candidates in for an in-person interview that the process will no longer be blind because some types of protected classes (sex, age, etc.) will be immediately obvious, however a blind pre-interview process can help narrow down the field to a few select candidates based solely upon their level of qualification.
Carefully Screen Resumes for Protected Information
This does not mean throw the resumes into a resuming screening software program, but to have the candidates delete any information that could potentially divulge protected class statuses. This includes information like names (which could reveal information about sex, race and/or ethnicity), birth dates and graduation dates (which can reveal age), college (which can reveal what type of school was attended), and address (which reveal socio-economic backgrounds). If you have an application for candidates to complete, review the application to ensure there are no irrelevant or discriminatory questions.
Make Use of Pre-Interview Assessments
Pre-interview assessments are great tools to help a company better understand job candidates before bringing them in for an in-person interview. Pre-interview assessments include things like short pre-interview videos, audio samples, and/or work samples. These pre-interview assessments are designed to create relevant skills-based challenges for applicants to complete, so that a company can accurately assess whether a candidate has the skillset necessary to succeed in the open position. These pre-interview assessments will also help give people in those classes a leg-up by letting him or her show relevant skills to the employer.
The goal of a blind interview process is to make the quality of skills the reference point for the interviewer instead of the resume, or a first in-person impression. Uniform use of a blind interview process will help ‘even the playing field’ for women, minorities, and people with disabilities while allowing the company to hire the most qualified candidates for the position while also protecting the company from potential lawsuits in the future.