Candidate filtering, training & appraisals.

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Short listing by name

Tue 30th July, 2013

A recent interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Matthew Hancock, Skills Minister encouraged employers to respond to a ”social duty” to recruit local workers over and above foreign talent. The concept of encouraging employers to engage with their local talent pool and develop their skills instead of a quick import of skilled people from abroad is on first thought is a good idea.

However, after a little deliberation I concluded the ‘British First’ approach to recruitment and training should be embraced with extreme caution, as it could lead to discriminatory practices within the recruitment process. There has been a growing anecdotal evidence that if individuals who have a foreign-sounding name are likely to face a more un-responsive communication from employers.

Evidence shown by researchers from the National Centre for Social Research conducted research between November 2008 and May 2009 by sending out 3,000 job applications under false identities in an attempt to discover if employers were discriminating against job seekers with foreign names.

The findings of the research found that no evidence of discrimination took place when organisations used their own application forms. However, a strong presence of discrimination was found when companies used the CV as part of their recruitment process. Applicants whose name was perceived as ‘white’ received a positive response it took only 9 applications, compared to 16 for a candidate from an ethic minority.

This research is not the only example where an applicant has utilised different aliases. Unfortunately, there are those individuals who attempt to trap employers by issuing two CVs containing different names containing the exact experience. Alternatively, two CVs issued one containing a ‘protected characteristic’ (their sex, race, age, disability, religion or sexual orientation), the other set out the same skills and experience but without mentioning or indicating the protected characteristic.

Six top tips on avoiding the ‘vexatious litigant’ or trouble seeking candidate looking to lure potential employers into the discrimination trap.

  1. Produce a detailed and comprehensive list of responses that candidates provide that is categorised as unacceptable, limited, acceptable and excellent.
  2. Make sure you have high quality and detailed interview question script. If you do not ask the same questions of each candidate you will have questionable reliability to compare candidate’s responses.
  3. Must have a scoring sheet. The scoring sheet encourages the interviewer to base their decision on the agreed important factors that is shown on the scoring sheet.
  4. Record in detail a conclusion of the reasons for accepting or rejecting applicants based on the scoring criteria set. If final decisions have been based on memory coupled with interviewer fatigue after many interviews in a row, this may produce a greater chance of a flawed judgement.
  5. Provide feedback to the candidate as to what the keywords or accepted responses you were seeking in a fair, structured and above all consistent.
  6. Ditch the CV! Encourage candidates to perform candidate screening assessment before you meet them face to face. A good example of this is the nuts and bolts it system, where all the detailed answers are provided for the recruiter to see before any awareness of the name and contact details of the individual.

The importance of providing a fair, detailed and systematic recruitment process will enhance your effectiveness in not only identifying the right talent but will also provide you with a level of protection against the Employment Tribunal submissions.