It is critical that employers follow professional guidelines within the hiring process ensure the most appropriate candidates are motivated to apply for their vacant position. Recruiting candidates and the hiring process can be a very timely, stressful period for employers, making hiring guidelines all the more important. In this article, we outline seven stages of the hiring process and divulge the best practices and key considerations for employers navigating this process.
Seven stages of the hiring process
- Identify the companies’ hiring needs
- Define required skills, knowledge, and experience for candidates
- Prepare job descriptions
- Include the job title, responsibilities, necessary qualifications and skills, compensation, benefits, rewards, and location
- Devise a recruitment strategy
- Choose a formal job search platform to advertise the open position
- Screen and shortlist candidates
- From all the individuals who apply, review the applications, and further narrow your list of candidates down to whom you wish to bring to the next phase of the process
- Conduct the interviews of these candidates
- Evaluate and make the offer
- This is the time to check with the candidate’s references. And if everything checks out, you can make the offer of employment
- Onboard the new employee
Best practices to avoid discrimination and liability
In the hiring process, it’s common for subtle or unintentional forms of discrimination to occur. While the purpose of interviews is to provide an opportunity for an employer to get to know a prospective employee and to evaluate their suitability for the position, employers can still be held liable for asking improper questions within the interview. Employers are encouraged to ask questions relating to the candidate’s previous experience to determine if they are qualified for the position. Thus, it is critical for employers to be aware of best practices in the hiring process to protect themselves from having a human rights claim filed against them, and to be respectful of these potential employees.
The Ontario Human Rights Code (“the Code”) protects all potential job candidates from experiencing the discrimination that can stem from the hiring process. Considering this, it is unlawful for employers to ask questions relating to any ground protected under the Code. Employers must abstain from asking questions about a candidates’ race, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, sex/pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression/gender identity, age, family status, marital status, colour, creed, record of offences or disability.
Prepare a list of standardized questions
We encourage employers to implement a panel-style interview process and to ask standardized questions that are applicable and relevant for all candidates to answer, while refraining from asking questions related to a protected human rights ground. If an employer chooses to ask a question relating to any of the protected grounds, the candidate does not have to provide an answer.
Ensure the job posting is transparent
A job description is an employer’s first point of engagement with a potential candidate. Thus, employers should ensure that the job requirements for the position provide the most essential and substantial components for the position. Further, if a job requirement relates to a prohibited ground as outlined in the Code, the employer should determine whether it is a bona fide occupational requirement for the role and if it would ensure the candidate would be more successful in the position. Lastly, we encourage employers to use non-discriminatory language throughout a job advertisement, such as gender-neutral titles and pronouns to ensure inclusivity and equality.
Have a second observer
In the interview stage it is advantageous to have a second observer to review the answers and documented personality-based observations of the candidate. Is it typically important for companies to hire individuals of good character, and who provide strong answers to the interviewer’s questions. With two people evaluating the interview, employers are more likely to facilitate an opportunity for the interviewee to be free from evaluation biases and allow for an optimal hiring decision.
Ensure the candidate feels safe/comfortable
Interviews can be extremely strenuous for candidates, as well as employers. Candidates are looking to land the job, and employers are seeking the perfect candidate for the role. What makes this process difficult is that the candidate can have all the qualifications and experience necessary for the job, however if they do not interview well, they may not be successful in securing the position. Studies show that feelings of stress and anxiety can hinder a candidate’s interview performance. Signs that an interviewee is uncomfortable or nervous may be exhibited as: lack of eye contact, fidgeting, stuttering, inconsistent voice quality or difficulty answering questions. This may prevent the employer from getting an accurate perception of what the candidate is really like. If you, as an employer finds that a candidate is struggling, here are various ways employers can create a more welcoming environment.
Tips for employers:
- Provide clear instructions in relation to the location of the interview
- Personally greet the candidate
- Thoroughly explain the interview process and what the candidate can expect
- Ensure open, professional body language
- i.e., refrain from crossing your arms, lack of eye contact, looking at your cellular device, poor posture, lack of a smile
- Provide feedback, and or professional responses to the candidate’s answers
- Allow the candidate time to fully articulate their ideas and thoughts
- Encourage follow-up questions
- Offer the candidate a beverage (if available)
- Explain the next phase of the hiring process, and expectations following the interview
- Assess your technology prior to the interview
- Ensure your camera and microphone function are working, as well as your Wi-Fi connectivity
- Limit distractions
- Working from home can be extremely distracting, especially if you have pets or children. While most individuals would be understanding, it is best to create an environment with minimal distractions that could affect the flow of the candidate’s interview.
- Ensure your background is clean and professional
- Wear professional attire, despite the lack of professional setting
The hiring process does not always have to be intimidating for the parties involved. By following professional guidelines, employers who are eager to hire, can ensure a smoother experience. If employers implement strategies aforementioned, there is increased potential to create an efficient and positive hiring process.
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