They say 99% of what you worry about will never come true – but in HR that 1% that does come true – keeps us up at night!
With so many moving pieces and decisions that take place in an ordinary HR day (ordinary = putting out fires, shaking hands & kissing babies, and hiding bodies), there are bound to be some mistakes made.
Eventually, in HR, we all make some bad decisions that lead to some of our most outrageous mistakes in our career.
So, I’m going to give you a little primer on taking those bad mistakes and turning them around into something you can live with!
Telling or asking a candidate something Illegal. This one is tough to explain because it’s what we do! We train our organizations not to do this stupid type of stuff and then – BAM! – we get caught letting something slip out.
Many times we get caught in this trap because we are responding to something the candidate says – and it comes out before we have a chance to catch it.
Catching the wrong and making it right, as quickly as possible, is key in this circumstance!
The last thing you want is to be calling a candidate to tell them you won’t be making them an offer – and they hit you over the head with “you’re not hiring me because I’m pregnant! During the interview you asked me when I was due!”
Yeah, but only after you said you were “starting a family” and “you loved that name for your baby”. I was just having a polite conversation! Ouch!
Like everything we do in HR, you better have some good documentation and/or data to back up your decision. Also, don’t take the “bait” when a candidate comes back on you and “threatens” you with something you said.
The best response when being threatened is to not to respond to the threat. Stick to your script – give the reasons of why you’re not hiring this person (and hopefully it’s not because they are Pregnant!) – short and sweet. Thank them for their interest, tell them you’ll keep them in mind if something else comes up that fits their background, and hang up.
Next, you will need to get your corporate legal counsel involved – meaning – you need to let them know we might have a problem with a candidate who just accused you of not hiring them because they are pregnant.
If you don’t have in-house legal counsel, keep your supervisor or next level leader in the loop. At this point, there is no reason to hide anything – spill the beans, let them know how the conversation went during the interview.
Follow through on your hiring process, don’t go outside of what you normally would do. Again – 99% of the time, it will go nowhere – but it seems like in today’s economy more and more people are looking for reasons that you didn’t hire them – for motives other than just normal curiosity and making themselves better for next time.
If you’re in HR long enough – you’re going to get named in a lawsuit or legal complaint of some sort – it comes with the territory.
The most important thing you can do is know when something has the potential to get hot – and get others involved quickly.
The reason we have so many processes in HR is to help protect our organizations from risk. Don’t let anyone compromise your process, it will keep you out of hot water. Hopefully.