Robin Paggi Well, that’s one of the things on employment applications for former employers. I wouldn’t ask whether somebody, whether I can contact them or not. I would just tell them, “I am contacting your previous employers.” If they would tell me you, “You should not. I do not want you to.”, I would certainly ask, “Why?” And if I can’t contact any of their previous employers, then that’s not a good candidate. Now, their current employer, I understand. Please do not contact my current employer. And, if somebody said I can’t contact their current employer, I would not have a problem with that, be- cause often when you contact a current employer and they find out that, that their employee is looking for a job, they termi- nate them, which is perfectly legal to do. So, at least in California, it is, I’m assuming it is for the rest of the nation, because most of the rest of the nation is at-will employment – you can fire for any reason or no reason. So, that’s one of the things I’m going to contact the previous employers. But if somebody tells me that I can’t, then they’re not a good candidate.
Emmet Ore Excellent. Okay, so what do you do if an applicant provides information that you’re not supposed to ask about, such as their age?
Robin Paggi Yeah, and that happens sometimes – you have people who just start chatting away and they start revealing all sorts of information. And so one of the things is, as Walt said before, you need to control the interview, and then some- body starts revealing information that they shouldn’t, you should just very nicely say, “Okay, well, let’s move on to the next question.” or “That’s nice, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the job or our hiring decisions, and so let’s move on.” So you want to shut it down in a nice as way as you possibly can, letting them know that information that they reveal is not pertaining to your decisions. And one of the reasons for that is that there are people who go on interviews and apply for jobs and they really don’t want those jobs. They just want a good reason to file a claim against the company. And we like to call those people “benefit specialist.” And no offense to those of you who are actually benefit specialists, but, again, we’ve come across enough people who, they just want to be able to file a claim of discrimination and the employer gives them
a quick five hundred bucks to make them go away, and that’s really what their job is. And so that’s one of the reasons it’s really important for everyone who is conducting interviews to know what the laws are, to be able to practice so that they can control the interviews, because every once in a while you’ll come across somebody who is just trying to make a quick buck.
Emmet Ore Okay. Do you have to tell an applicant why you didn’t hire them?
Robin Paggi No, you do not, and a lot of times it’s better that you shouldn’t, because they then will argue with you. And so if you say something like, “Well, you did not meet the qualifications,” “Well, yes, I did meet the qualifications.”, and they’ll tell you a variety of reasons. So, usually you should not. But again, a case-by-case situation. And so, I don’t want to have
a blanket statement that you never should, just depending upon who the applicant is, and if telling them would help them in some way. But, be really careful about that, because people try to trip you up, and argue with you, or again try to find something discriminatory in your reasoning.
Emmet Ore And lastly, here. Do you have to continue with the interview if you can tell within a few minutes that you’re not going to hire an applicant.
Robin Paggi You should. Yes, all interviews should be conducted consistently. And so, sure, there are times when you start interviewing somebody and it’s obvious that you’re not going to go on with the interview. I’ll give you an example. I interviewed someone for a training position. And one of the questions or a couple of questions that I like to ask straight off is, “What do you know about the company? and Why do you want to work here?” And so, that was the first question that I asked the candidate and the candidate didn’t know anything about the company, other that we were a human resources company. And so, then I said, “Well, why do you want to work here?” And, it just, it was downhill from there, as you can imagine, and we both knew it. But, I continued with the interview because, one thing people can recover and maybe, okay, they didn’t do their homework like they should have, but they might be able to recover and end up being a good candidate. But the other thing is that if you aren’t consistent, again, that can lead to claims of discrimination. And so you want to be able to demonstrate through your documentation. And that’s one of the reasons that you want to have job descriptions, and applications, and interview notes, and all of those things and keep them on file for a couple of years, at least, in case you get hit with a discrimination claim. That said, a person says you didn’t hire me because of these reasons and you’ve got that documentation to demonstrate it. And so one of the things you want to find out is how long is the statute of limita- tions for somebody to file a discrimination claim in your state and keep those records on hand.