Chapter 1

Finding New People

  • You have a position to fill and you’ve found some candidates to interview. But a compliance misstep at this stage could cost you a lot more than just the right hire.

    Watch: What can or can't I ask in an interview?

    Did you know?
    Many cities and states now have “ban the box” laws that prohibit employers from inquiring about a candidate’s criminal history on the job application or before a certain point in the hiring process. Check the laws in your hiring area.


    • Posting a job ad that (implicitly or explicitly) shows a preference for a candidate ― based on certain protection information such as race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, disability, genetic information, or age, (e.g., asking for “recent college graduates”)
    • Asking questions that may cause candidates to reveal protected characteristics (e.g., religion, disability) in the interview, or prying into a candidate’s personal life (e.g., marital status, previous alcohol or drug use, home ownership) or about affiliations that aren’t related to the role (e.g., union membership, religious affiliations)
    • Refusing to hire a candidate with a disability who has made a reasonable request for an accommodation (e.g., to be provided with a specific type of desk and computer, or to adjust their working hours)
    • Leaving a candidate’s personal information in an unsecure system or lying around the office for others to see
    • Conducting background checks before making a conditional offer of employment, and seeking improper information from candidates (e.g., prior salary history)


    • Missing out on the best candidate
    • Facing fines and penalties related to unauthorized background checks
    • Opening yourself up to potential discrimination lawsuits
    • Being responsible for leaking a candidate’s personal information


    • Hiring the best candidate for the role, regardless of protected characteristics, background, or personal circumstances
    • Asking candidates questions that let them demonstrate their skills
    • Ensuring all permitted background checks are made by someone other than the hiring manager, after a conditional offer of employment, so unrelated information cannot impact the hiring decision
    • Storing applicant data in a secure manner and ensuring only authorized employees have access
    • Assessing your hiring process to ensure it’s still working for everyone involved and complies with the latest laws
    • Leveraging templates and other online tools to help you craft best practice job descriptions.