Hiring Risks for Companies with Multiple Locations

October 4, 2016

Businesses that operate multiple locations have a variety of challenges when it comes to human resources, especially if job interviews and background checks are handled at each individual site. It is crucial that you establish a consistent hiring process, regardless of how many locations you have.

Unless specified by federal and state laws (if your locations are in different states) job applications, disclosures, authorization, and all employment forms should be the same everywhere. As should the application acceptance, interviewing/evaluating, background check, and onboarding processes. That should be easy to accomplish with good training, and your legal counsel is the best source for discussion about all of this.

Within these processes one element stands out as particularly challenging: Interviews. There are a number of federal laws involved in this area. Just as a job application is prohibited from asking certain questions about an applicant, job interviews must also avoid these questions about personal lives, hobbies, etc. It is understood that getting into a casual conversation with a job applicant, especially if the interviewer determines some commonalities, is easy. It’s only human. But there is a time to be friendly and casual, and it is not during an interview.

Asking someone something as simple as, “What do you like to do when you are not working?” can end up in a damaging lawsuit. The applicant says “I like to go duck hunting.” And you are against hunting and personal ownership of firearms. Employment is denied and the applicant feels he/she deserved the job. An attorney is consulted, and learns about that single question you had no business asking. This is not a lawsuit you want to be involved in since it involves violation of federal laws.

The bottom line is to do everything you can to keep all of your employees involved in the hiring process on the same page, especially when it comes to interview questions.

Contributed by Steven J. Austin of LABORCHEX. Their managers and investigators can help you create the best questions customized to your needs.

Through the Michigan Chamber partnership with LABORCHEX, members get discounted pricing to employment background screening services. To learn more, please email Kym Lewis or call him at 1-800-880-0366.