Hiring the Right Candidates for Nonprofits (Part 2)

by sysop in About Us

Interviewing a Candidate

by Liz Hine

Hiring the right job candidate involves more than defining your goals, identifying a qualified candidate with good character, and training your interviewers on the art of the “sell,” it also requires sound compliance practices by your organization.

Here are a few pointers about instituting a compliance-driven interview process:

  1. Consider job requirements and candidate qualifications only – It is illegal to base hiring decisions on a candidate’s membership in a protected class.  Instead, base your hiring decisions on the job requirements defined in your job description and the extent to which a candidate’s qualifications, including character, match these requirements. (Generally, protected class includes race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, familial status, and genetic information, but you should verify which Federal, state, county, and city rules apply to your nonprofit organization.)
  2. Train your interviewers – Your organization is only as compliant as the employees who interview your job candidates.  If your employees do not understand the importance of avoiding questions that get to a candidate’s protected class, they are likely to ask questions that pose legal risks to your organization, give the candidates an unfavorable impression of your culture, and are ultimately unhelpful in determining whether an individual is qualified for this job.  For this reason, you should regularly train all interviewers in compliant interview practices.
  3. Work with an employment law attorney – Find an employment law attorney who understands nonprofits and work with him or her regularly on instituting good interview practices, auditing your hiring policies and procedures, and training your employees on protected class and other employment law matters.  Attorneys are expensive, particularly for nonprofits on shoestring budgets.  However, hiring an employment law attorney on the front end is far cheaper than paying for litigation after-the-fact.

These remarks were originally posted on Free The Future on September 17, 2012.