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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Essay on Legal Aspect of Job Interviews - Human Resource Management Essay

Job interviews nowadays are very complex.  On the part of the applicant, he desires to get the best possible impression for his prospective employers.  His goal is to give the best answers to every question asked of him by the person conducting the interview.  He may think that there is lesser stress in asking questions during job interviews that answering questions.   It must be emphasized that the situation of interviewers and managers are different today than it was two or three decades. 
            If questions such as “Are you married?” or “Are you a Roman Catholic?” or “Are you an Asian?” or “Do you have children?” were allowed, tolerated and accepted forms of questions before, the situation has dramatically changed in the 21st Century.  These forms of questions are no longer accepted and are considered discriminatory.  The challenge for managers is to be able to know what questions are allowed and what questions are discriminatory.  It is therefore very important for every business organization to ensure that the person assigned to conduct interviews has sufficient experience to be able to ask the proper questions. 
            Assigning a person who has experience in conducting interviews is very important otherwise the business organization may be exposed to suits for discrimination (Jeffrey D. Wilson, 2004).  In 2000, a Teas-based Rent-A-Center, a business organization that has outlets across the nation which offers for rental furniture and appliances, was reported to have paid $2 Million in settlement for a class action lawsuit brought by a test that included questions about their religious beliefs and sexual behavior of its employees (David J. Glenn, 2002, p.2).
            Employment discrimination laws have been passed as a measure of protection for employees and applicants.  They seek to protect employees against bias and prejudices of managers and employers that have no relevance to the nature of the position being applied for.  These laws make it illegal for employers to treat the employees differently because of something that they cannot change or cannot be expected to change (“Major Laws Impacting the Hiring Process, 2006).  
            One of these laws is the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This law protects employees or applicants against discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin or religion.  It must be emphasized that managers are mandated to judge the employees on the basis of their skills, competence, experience and educational background and not on any other grounds.  If an applicant is to be denied employment because he is African American or he is female or he is Muslim, the act is contrary to law and the manager exposes himself to civil liability for discrimination suits.  It is because of this reason that the interviewer must avoid questions that point to a person’s race, color, gender, national origin and religion, otherwise, the company may be suspected of having bias against certain race, color, gender, national origin or religion. 
            The law also protects pregnant women against discrimination.  Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, managers are prohibited from denying applicants or from terminating present employees for the simple reason that they are pregnant or expect to be pregnant.  It is because of this reason that the interviewer must also avoid questions such as “Are you pregnant?” or “Do you expect to get pregnant within the year?” Unless such questions have relevance to the position being applied for, managers are advised against asking these questions. 

            The most important thing to consider in recruitment interviews is to remember that its purpose is to get the person that is most qualified for the job.  This means that a person’s experience, education, skills, trainability are the most important considerations.  Questions that are not job-related should be eliminated from the requirements.  It is also important for the manager or the person conducting the interview to have a set of prepared questions that he can used as a guide during the interview process.  This way he does not grope for the right questions to ask and any questions regarding discrimination or bias or prejudice may be avoided. 

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