When making efforts to avoid discrimination in hiring, employers typically focus on the interview — and rightfully so, because mistakes made during the interview can lead to discrimination claims. There are things you can do before the interviewing process begins, however, to comply with the law.
Remember, it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the federal laws.
Here are seven tips for avoiding discrimination, before the interview process begins.
1. Analyze the job and write a detailed list of the major duties required.
2. For each of the duties, list the required experience, education and skill. Explain whether those skills will be needed on the first day of work or whether they can be acquired during training or while on the job.
3. Avoid requirements that include physical characteristics. For example, if heavy lifting is an important function of the job, do not exclude women or require an applicant to meet specific weight and height limits.
4. List the type of skill needed for each duty.
5. When describing the education and experience qualifications for job candidates, require only the qualifications that are necessary to perform the tasks.
6. When writing job descriptions for advertising, do not show a preference for or against an individual's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or genetic information. For example, the EEOC has said help-wanted ads that seek "females" or "recent college graduates" may violate the law.
7. When writing questions for the job interviews, base your questions on the job analysis you have done.
If you have any questions about the legality of your hiring processes, contact an attorney who focuses on employment law and EEOC requirements.