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Blog: how to avoid discrimination in recruiting


It has recently been reported that an African born man is taking Virgin airlines to an employment tribunal for racial discrimination.  

He alleges that he submitted his detailed CV to Virgin that contained his African name and did not get through the first stage of the recruitment process.  

However when he then resubmitted his less detailed CV substituting his name for and English sounding one he was invited for an interview.   

The recruitment process can be fraught with opportunities for discrimination so it is important for employers to examine each stage to minimise the risks.
Before commencing recruitment it is really important to draw up a job description which contains a list of all the required duties together with a person specification that contains skills, experience and qualifications.  This is an essential document and forms the basis of the recruitment process going forward. 
When creating a job advert it is important to focus on the key skills and experience you are looking for to successfully undertake the job. It is a good idea to include in the advert a brief list of the job duties along with the desired skills all taken from the job description.  This will help candidates to de-select if they feel the job is not right for them and will save an employer time and money.
Once a good selection of CVs or application forms have been submitted you can then commence the shortlisting process.
When using an application form it might be a good idea to have the name and contact details on a removable sheet so that the shortlisters only concentrate on essential job related skills.  Using a shortlisting grid can aid the process and prevent discrimination.  If using CVs the same process can be used, but ideally the names of the applicants should be covered up.
Following shortlisting there should be a small list of candidates to call to interview.  The interviewing panel should plan the interview process which could include an interview schedule of what information will be given to the candidates during their interviews and questions drawn up that link to establishing whether they have the right skills and experience to do the job.  
By focusing on teasing out this information there is less likelihood of discriminatory questions being asked.  The interviewers should use the same process and questions with all the candidates and use a scoring sheet to score each one
At the end of the interviewing process the panel need to decide on the successful candidate using the scores in order to make a job offer.
By sticking to this structured process it is less likely that the recruitment process will lead to claims of discrimination in an employment tribunal.