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Laws - Human Resources
Posted by: Moishe Singer on June 22, 2009 at 8:57AM EST
As the readings show there are many legal areas HR must deal with when looking to employee people.  Some areas are a lot more strait forward then others.  For example, Sexual Harassment, while some might argue on the exact definition, is something that is more black and white then say, hiring discrimination based on Gender/Race/ADA etc. 

The question I have is when hiring for various positions many factors are looked at and how do you balance finding the best canidate while trying to make sure you don't dicriminate on any of the many factors?  While you always want the best candidiate how do you ensure your view of each candidate is 20/20 and not biased?

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(7) Comments
Posted by: Andrew Hillig on June 22, 2009 10:46PM EST
Not really sure on the answer Moishe, but my guy is telling me that it has alot to do with proving intent to discriminate. So long as the employer has done due dillegence of interviewing candidates who meet qualifications and the organization has a good reputation for being a diverse organization, it would be hard to prove what is going on inside of the hiring manager's head.

Again, really am interested to hear anyone's expert opinion on this...just my gut reaction.

Posted by: Donald Bow on June 23, 2009 4:04PM EST
I think this is an extremely complicated situation. All potential employees should be looked upon with no bias but how can you ensure that this is being conducted. As Andrew stated, there is no real way to determine what is going on inside of someones head. If your organization has a well respected reputation for doing the right thing (not only in business but also employees). Bias may be impossible to eliminate. It may be so subtle that the hiring manager may not even be aware that it is occurring. Maybe having a few different people involved in the process could help to eliminate some of these biases.

Posted by: Constance Bradley on June 24, 2009 4:59PM EST
I think what is helpful is for an organization to have an interviewing phylosophy that is applied consistently such as behavioral interviewing that assesses an individuals response to specific situations. I also think it is helpful to have a robust enough interview panel to weed out any biases by any one individual. We also develop employment profiles specific related to job expectations and character. I think it is important to make sure the incumbient is a good fit for the organization and the organization is a good fit for the individual.

Posted by: Michael Lane on June 28, 2009 1:58PM EST
Hiring in many ways is a gamble. If the HR professional in your organization is doing their job to educate the manager/supervisor - the people doing the interview about applicable HR laws, i.e., what questions are off-limits, then this will significantly mitigate risk of hiring discrimination. Organizations should use consistent patterns to assess the individual´┐Żs potential or aptitude for success: background & reference checks, work history, consistency with interview questions - all of these will help determine the right person. I personally prefer a series of interviews to help make the right pick. Even then, the gamble could take you to the bank!

Posted by: William Ahlfeld on June 28, 2009 5:21PM EST
I agree that it seems the best way to protect managers is to have multiple people involved with the interview process. In our clinical setting, often the position being filled involves several sections of the department so multiple managers/coordinators are involved in the selection process. In addition, as someone else suggested, our organization uses primarily a list of behavioral based questions during the interview process to protect against questions that may be unintentionally discriminatory. Although these questions are meant to provide insight into how a prospective candidate has/will handle certain situations, their vagueness is often not as helpful in the clinical areas that I am involved in.

Posted by: Michael Hicks on July 21, 2009 2:06PM EST
We have over 1200 employees and base our hiring decisions strictly on the skill set and the prospective employees ability to bring success to the organization and to themselves. We involve multiple individuals in the process and have clear goals for the skill sets we need. Our HR professionals are responsible for the implementation and oversight of our hiring processes.

Posted by: Karl Kamper on October 24, 2009 1:17AM EST
In my hiring decisions I use many of the same tools mentioned above. I do not interview alone and always include another manager or respected individual from my department in the process. Not only does this serve as a protection for me from false accusations, but I respect and value the input and insight from my interviewing partner on the candidate's fit with our organization. I use behavioral interviewing techniques, ie: tell me a time when... to help identify key values or character traits of the candidates. Once basic technical qualifications are met, these questions help to make the determination of fit within my department team. I have also used group interview techniques which allow candidates to interact with each other under observation by a selection committee. I have found these tools helpful when trying to narrow down a large list of potential candidates for a position. Often in this setting candidates forget it is an interview, and I've witnessed some amazing revelations that clearly indicated values not consistant with those standards upheld in my department.