Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a startup on a shoestring, there are a few things you can do right now to make your interview process more compliant. Fast-growth companies are more likely to know what it takes to create effective, compliant interview questions. With the right tips, you can incorporate these same policies into your own company. 

Are You Certain Your Interview Process Is Compliant and Effective? 

In the Asure 2024 HR Benchmark report, we looked at eight different HR topics. Hiring and recruiting were combined into a single section. As a part of this topic, we explored at whether fast-growth and zero-growth companies were more or less likely to have compliant, effective interviews. 

After completing our report, we discovered the following results.

  • 25% of zero-growth companies were unsure if their interview process was compliant and effective.
  • 12% of fast-growth enterprises were uncertain about their interview efficacy and compliance.

While 88% of fast-growth companies are confident about their interview processes, only 75% of zero-growth businesses could say the same thing. However, both types of companies often have problems when it comes to actual compliance. Many organizations ask questions about an applicant’s personal life or try to make small talk in an effort to get to know the applicant. In reality, this practice opens you up to potential discrimination and disability issues. 

For example, if you ask an applicant what they did last weekend, they could mention that they spent their weekend getting dialysis. Once you have that information, you’ve opened yourself up to disability-related claims.

While both types of companies had this type of issue in our survey, zero-growth businesses were less likely to be compliant. Fortunately, there are a few simple changes you can make to develop a more compliant interview process. 

8 Tips for Making Your Interview Process Compliant

If you want to go from being a zero-growth company to a fast-growth business, behavioral interview techniques, interviewer training, and consistency can help you improve your interviews and avoid compliance issues. 

1. Prepare Questions in Advance 

Imagine someone walks into your interview on crutches. You can easily see that they’re on crutches, and you know not to ask them about any disabilities. However, you are reasonably curious about whether they can safely balance and carry the baking sheets and bulky ingredients at your bakery. 

If you ask the individual if they can do the job and you don’t ask other applicants the same thing, you’re crossing the line into disability discrimination. The best way to avoid this issue is to prepare the questions you want to ask beforehand. By using prepared questions and asking the same exact questions of every applicant, you can avoid discrimination complaints. 

2. Make Questions Directly Relevant to Job Competencies 

One of the most important things you can do to create legally compliant interviews is to focus on the job’s competencies. If a question isn’t related to the job’s functions, you shouldn’t be asking it. You want your questions to be about competencies because then it is easier to justify them if there is a complaint in the future. 

On a more practical level, competencies are important because they help you hire the right person. If you take time to understand the role and the competencies required, you’ll be able to format questions that give you better insight into each candidate’s potential.

3. Base Questions on the Job Description 

A follow-up to the third tip is to base your questions on the written job description. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If your job description is well-designed, you should be able to directly link all of your interview questions to it. 

As an added benefit, a good job description can also make performance reviews easier. You can use the competencies in the job description to create the rubric for your performance reviews and link all of your HR processes to the same competencies.

4. Be Consistent About Asking the Same Questions 

The next interview best practice is to always ask your applicants the same questions. By treating applicants the same, you can prevent discrimination and compliance issues. 

Mary Simmons, Asure’s VP of HR compliance, learning, and development, frequently discusses the importance of consistency in her interviews with Mission to Grow. In a recent podcast episode on “Recruiting & Hiring” best practices she said, “When we’re not consistent, we’re triggering exposure to litigation because treating individuals differently may lead to a discrimination case.”

5. Don’t Ask About Disabilities or Anything of a Protected Nature

While this seems like an obvious interview tip, it’s quite easy to unintentionally ask questions that involve a disability or protected class. For instance, if you comment on someone’s unique accent as they come into the interview room, you could be innocently uncovering a protected class if they’re from a different country. 

This is why it’s so important to stick to interview questions that you’ve prepared in advance. It’s incredibly easy to accidentally bring up something that relates to a protected class, so it’s better to use consistent, prepared questions.

6. Use Behavioral Interviewing

Behavioral interviewing is an incredibly effective way to get to know how well someone will actually perform in a new position. The entire behavioral interviewing approach revolves around the idea that the past is prologue. If you can understand how a person has previously behaved at work, you can get a good understanding of how they’ll act in the future.

In fact, according to a recent Albright study, behavioral interviewing is 55% predictive of the individual’s future performance. This is significantly higher than the 10% predictive value that normal interviewing techniques have.

Ask for Examples of Handling Different Situations in the Past

As a part of your behavioral interviewing approach, create a list of questions that involve how the applicant has performed in the past. 

Here are some examples of common behavioral interview questions. 

  • Discuss a time when you were asked to do something that you’ve never done before. How did you respond? What did you learn from this experience? 
  • At the last possible minute, a major client wants to cancel their purchase. This will make or break your sales goal for the year. How do you respond?
  • Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker. How did you resolve it? 
  • Discuss a time when you were especially energized and excited at work. What were you doing? 
  • Think about a time in the past when you were trying to communicate something, but the other person couldn’t understand what you were saying. What did you do? 
  • Describe the best boss you ever had. What did you like the most about them? 

See How Applicants Would Respond in Different Situations 

Beyond looking at the past, you can also find out how applicants will respond to future situations. Ideally, you should create situations that would match the day-to-day challenges and opportunities that the applicant would face in their new role.

Below are examples of some situation interviewing questions you could use.

  • How would you respond if a manager asked you to do something you’ve never done before? Walk through the response step-by-step. 
  • A customer wants to file a complaint with you because they are upset about the quality of their product. How do you respond? 
  • A major deadline was just changed from 10 days away to just 3 days away. You’re not confident you can manage the rest of your workload and the shorter deadline. How do you respond? 
  • You’ve been placed in charge of a group project, and one of your team members isn’t finishing their assigned tasks on time. How do you handle this situation? 
  • After receiving a promotion to a new department, you realize that your personality and work style clash with your new manager. What do you do?

7. Avoid Small Talk 

Small talk is an easy way to accidentally ask a question about a protected class or disability. On a more practical level, it can also impact your ability to judge your interviewees. If one interviewee gets to answer different questions, you’re no longer making an apples-to-apples comparison.

8. Train Interviewers 

Finally, it’s important to train all your interviewers on the appropriate interviewing procedures. Many compliance mistakes occur because the interviewer isn’t aware of the company’s guidelines or doesn’t think through the implications of small talk. By training your interviewers, you can make sure everyone knows how to format their interview questions. 

Prepare Your Company for Success 

Fast-growth businesses are better at understanding HR issues and legal compliance requirements. Even if you don’t have a dedicated HR department, you can gain the same level of knowledge and experience by outsourcing your HR needs to the payroll and HR experts at Asure. 

We can help you adopt the same recruiting and hiring methods that fast-growth companies use. To learn more, connect with our team of payroll and HR experts today. 

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