Employers looking to introduce ‘fair’ recruitment practices under the law need to consider a number of issues.
Since The Equality Act 2010 came into force, employers must not ask blanket questions about a candidate’s health in an interview or before a job offer is made. Recruiters should assess candidates on their skills and abilities to fulfill the requirements of the job.
Candidates for jobs need to understand that they are not obliged to disclose any mental health issues unless they choose to do so. if someone does opt to discuss their mental health it is important that they are treated equally and not discriminated against in the recruitment process.
Find out more about what a 'Fair Recruitment' process involves:
Guidelines by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD)* make some recommendations.
*Managing and Supporting Mental Health at Work: Disclosure Tools for Managers, CIPD Guide, December 2011.
- Job and person specifications should distinguish carefully between essential and desirable requirements for the job to allow for flexibility in making ‘reasonable adjustments’.
- They should also focus on what is required to get the job done (for example knowledge or experience) not how it will be done (for example method of delivery), as this provides for flexibility in achieving essential tasks in different ways.
- If there are aspects intrinsic to the job such as ability to cope with mental pressure, these should be explicit in criteria, and all candidates should be tested against this criteria. It may still be possible to make reasonable adjustments.
The Recruitment Process
Recruitment processes should:
- communicate the organisation’s commitment to equal opportunities
- provide guidelines and, where possible, training for staff to ensure that candidates are not discriminated against at any stage
- make it clear in adverts and interviews that the organisation values the mental health of its staff
- state clearly that reasonable adjustments are available – for the application process, the interview and the job itself – so applicants understand why disclosure may be safe and beneficial
- Make sure it is explicit that if any applicant chooses to disclose information about health or disability it will be done in strictest confidence
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