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Recruitment & Hiring Best Practices

In any hiring program, employers should review advertisements, job notices, and job announcements carefully to ensure accuracy. Language or references to the sex, age, disability, etc. of the applicant should be eliminated. The advertisements, job notices, and job announcements should reach a representative talent pool. Avoid using only word of mouth and employee referrals. Indicate that you are an equal employment opportunity employer.

Job descriptions
Ensure that job descriptions are accurate. Describe the functions that are essential. The job announcement and job description should match. Job descriptions and job duties performed should match.

Employment Applications
In all applications and interviews, anythign asked of the prospective employee should be job related. Questions that limit any protected class of employees should be avoided.

Employment application forms should be carefully reviewed for compliance with federal and state laws. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act limits pre-employment medical inquiries, disability related questions, and inquiries about prior workers' compensation claims. Additionally, Vermont law prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on a job application,  and also prohibits employers from asking about compensation history.

Avoid requiring a photo with the application. If applications are continuously accepted, clearly indicate the length of time that an application will be actively considered. Have a consistent policy and procedure for handling applications.

If you use employment agencies and job referral services, ensure that they are an equal employment opportunity employer and reflect that you are too. Avoid inappropriate requests for referrals.

Job Interviews
Use the same interview questions as much as possible, and make sure the information given to each applicant is the same. Providing training to people doing the interviews is helpful. Avoid inappropriate comments during the interview relating to age, sex, marriage, religion, race, disability, etc. Topics that can raise inappropriate comments include family planning, family history, native language, birthplace, child care, disability, religious practices, and the nature of military discharge.

Additional EEOC Best Practices for Recruitment and Hiring:

  • Establish a policy for recruitment and hiring, including criteria, procedures, responsible individuals, and applicability of diversity and affirmative action.
  • Ensure that there is a communication network notifying interested persons of opportunities, including advertising within the organization and, where applicable, not only with the general media, but with minority, persons with disabilities, older persons, and women-focused media.
  • Communicate the competencies, skills, and abilities required for available positions.
  • Communicate about family-friendly and work-friendly programs.
  • Where transportation is an issue, consider arrangements with local transit authorities.
  • Participate in career and job fairs and open houses.
  • Work with professional associations, civic associations, and educational institutions with minorities, women, persons with disabilities and/or older persons to recruit.
  • Use recruiter, referral, and search firms with instructions to present diverse candidate pools to expand search networks.
  • Partner with organizations that have missions to serve targeted groups.
  • Use internships, work/study, co-op, and scholarship programs to attract interested persons and to develop interested and qualified candidates.
  • Develop and support educational programs and become more involved with educational institutions that can refer a more diverse talent pool.
  • Ensure that personnel involved in the recruitment and hiring process are well trained in their equal employment opportunity responsibilities.
  • Explore community involvement options so the company's higher profile may attract more interested persons.
  • Eliminate practices which exclude or present barriers to minorities, women, persons with disabilities, older persons, or any individual.
  • Include progress in equal employment opportunity recruitment and hiring as factors in management evaluation.

Many of the recommendations here are drawn from the EEOC Commission Task Force Report entitled Best Practices for Public Sector Employers. This report presents a broad overview of the practices through which corporate America has been addressing its obligations to equal employment opportunity and workplace diversity. Although this report was issued in 1997, many of the insights it contains are still applicable today.