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May 31, 2022
5 min read
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This post about building a recruitment checklist for HR was originally published in February 2017. It was updated and expanded in May 2022. Note that this is not an official compliance checklist and may not contain everything you need to remain compliant in your industry or local area.

There are a lot of ways to get creative with employee recruitment. You can test different first-touch messages, advertise jobs on social media, and explore your network to find candidates. You might introduce new perks, start an employee referral program, or change up candidate screening questions. Essentially, if you can dream up a hiring strategy, you can test it out.

Though you can recruit creatively, you can’t get so creative when it comes to complying with employment laws. We’re looking at a few of the most important recruitment compliance standards you should be familiar with. Then, get a copy of our recruitment compliance checklist to assess your hiring practices.

You can get creative with recruiting, but not with compliance — get @ClearCompany’s #HRCompliance checklist to take stock of your #recruitment processes:

Guard Against Risk with Compliant Recruiting

It’s best practice to conduct a regular review of your sourcing and recruiting records and procedures to be sure you meet legal compliance and to prevent liabilities and lawsuits. There are a number of laws protecting employees from discriminatory hiring practices and two main federal entities that enforce those laws:

Employees and job applicants are protected from being discriminated against based on:

  • Race/color
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation) 
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Disability 
  • Genetic information
  • Veteran status

Employees are also protected from retaliation should they assert their rights under applicable employee protection laws. Retaliation is when an employer takes action to discourage employees from reporting or resisting discrimination in the future and can include actions like unfair demotions or performance evaluations.

Following all city, state, and federal laws and best practices for record-keeping in your recruiting process will help to minimize your company’s risk exposure. The consequences for failing to collect and retain the necessary employee records include fines and exclusion from government contracts, and the consequences for discriminative hiring practices are even higher.

Our checklist is no substitute for a thorough review by an employment lawyer or other qualified professional. But, it’s a good place to start to understand how your human resources team is staying compliant and catch anything that may be falling through the cracks.

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Avoid Discrimination in Job Posts and Applications

Job descriptions, advertisements, and any other posts about job openings must avoid discriminating against candidates based on the characteristics listed above. Reviewing job posts for discriminatory language is also a good time to ensure they are free of gendered terms or heavy jargon that can alienate candidates more subtly.

Post your jobs to a wide variety of job boards to ensure you’re not reaching out to one narrow group of candidates with every opportunity. Be sure to avoid asking questions on job applications that may be illegal or disqualify a large portion of applicants. For example, in most states, “ban the box” laws prohibit employers from asking about prior convictions or arrest records on job applications.

Don’t Get Too Personal During Screening and Interviews

During candidate screening and interviews, your goals are to align your expectations with candidates’ expectations, make sure they have the necessary skills for the job, and determine if they’re a good fit for the company and team. It’s a time for establishing connections with candidates — but don’t ask candidates about their age, marital status, religion, and other attributes that are protected against discrimination. Establish a structured screening and interview process to ensure candidates are asked the same, or mostly the same, questions.

Get @ClearCompany’s #Recruiting Compliance Checklist and take another look at your #recruitmentprocess to make sure you’re in compliance:

Get Permission for Background Checks

It’s not unusual for companies to conduct pre-employment screenings like background checks during the hiring process, but it’s important that your company doesn’t use them in a discriminatory manner or use the information to discriminate against an employee. For example, you can’t ask for financial history only from candidates of a particular race if you don’t ask all candidates about their financial history.

The EEOC enforces laws around how to conduct background checks and how that information can be used. Requirements include notifying candidates that the background check will be used to make employment decisions and getting their written consent to conduct the screening. See the EEOC’s guidance on how to use background information appropriately and avoid making discriminatory hiring decisions.

Complying with the necessary laws and regulations throughout the recruitment process is vital to protect candidates, employees, and your organization. Keep up with local and federal employment laws and check in regularly with an employment lawyer so you’re never in danger of non-compliance.

Double-check your procedures with ClearCompany’s HR recruiting compliance checklist, which also features two bonus sections so you can review compliance measures to take in your performance management and offboarding processes. Get your copy of the checklist here.

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