Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Linda Hynes, employment lawyer with Ogier Leman writes a monthly feature for Legal-Island email subscribers providing handy precedents and checklists for subscribers to download and use. This month’s topic focuses on the recruitment process.

Before you even decide whether to hire someone there is the potential for a discrimination claim to be brought against an employer in respect of the recruitment process used. Even Richard Branson can’t escape potential claims from unsuccessful applicants.

In the UK, Mr. Kpakio is taking Virgin Airlines to an employment tribunal claiming the company racially discriminated against him because of his African name. Mr. Kpakio, who was born in Africa and has lived in Britain for over 10 years, applied for a position in a call centre with the company and was unsuccessful at the first stage of the recruitment process. Mr. Kpakio is claiming that when he applied under the traditionally British name of Craig Owen, with a less detailed CV, he was immediately invited for interview and thereby discriminated against initially.

Employers need to be careful in all aspects of the recruitment process including everything from how the position is advertised, the application from to be completed by the candidates and the ultimate decision to select a successful candidate.

Under the Data Protection Acts 1988-2003 an unsuccessful candidate can still seek the notes and data kept on them during the recruitment process. These notes could then be used to look for something that could infer discrimination against the applicant and give them grounds for a claim. Therefore an employer should be careful when taking notes and asking questions.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2011 outlaw discrimination in recruitment and selection as well as during employment. Discrimination can be direct or indirect under the acts and means treating one person in a less favourable way than another person on any of the nine grounds as follows:

1. Gender
2. Marital or Civil Status
3. Family Status
4. Sexual Orientation
5. Age
6. Disability
7. Membership of the Travelling Community
8. Race
9. Religion

A non-employee who is successful in a claim under the legislation can be awarded up to €12,697. These cases also tend to attract media attention which can have a detrimental effect on an organisation’s public image and brand.

Linda has prepared a list of Interview Do’s and Don’ts for Employers when preparing for interviews. These tips should help employers and the managers conducting interviews in avoiding claims from unsuccessful applicants.

To access the Interview Do’s and Don’ts prepared by Linda click here.


This publication is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Ogier Leman for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this publication. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. Any and all information is subject to change.

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