Recruiting the right talent is instrumental to the success of any business. Yet despite its importance, the selection process itself remains some what of a challenge for many organisations. With no set format as to how to choose the right candidate, employers are at risk of falling on the wrong side of employment law, unintentionally finding themselves subject to discrimination claims.

A report written for the CIPD into behavioural science and the recruitment process highlighted how companies could unconsciously breach their own policies on fair recruitment – landing them in hot water. Understanding how our opinions and natural bias towards certain characteristics infiltrates the selection process is the first step in addressing these issues, improving hiring decisions and minimising the risk of employment disputes arising.

Discriminatory practices can be evident in the earliest stages of recruitment, particularly the initial assessment process. Research conducted by Bertrand and Mullainathan showed that when employers were presented with identical CVs, those that were submitted by people with traditionally white names (Emily or Harry) received more call backs in comparison to those with traditionally black names (Jamaal). CV bias such as this can leave companies liable to a host of claims based on discriminatory practices.

Promoting fair recruitment practices is crucial for employers wishing to avoid discrimination claims. Anonymising CVs and comparing them in groups is one method to employers can use to limit bias in the early stages of candidate selection.

When reviewing applications recruiters should be cautious in ensuring ‘fit’ for the company does not overshadow the skill or expertise of the individual. Evidence suggests that placing an emphasis on ‘cultural fit’ can be counter productive in improving diversity in the selection process. What leisure activities the candidate participates in and gender have been listed as factors that influence the recruiter’s decision, completely irrelevant to the candidate’s ability.

Employment law claims can be costly business, with allegations of discrimination or unfair practices proving detrimental to business reputation. Alongside with fair recruitment practices businesses must also ensure that their internal policies comply with the extensive list laws that promote workplace equality. Workplace discrimination is a serious issue, and treated by the Employment Tribunal with the upmost severity. If you have been accused of direct discrimination, the penalties you can face if proven in an employment tribunal can be limitless.

For further information or advice regarding fair recruitment practices and processes contact Farleys specialist HR & employment law team on 0845 050 1958. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.