“What are you talking about Carole?” I hear you say. How do you save money in an interview?
Well, let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a business owner. This business owner – who was a woman – ran a very nice business. It was basically a sales organisation with about 70 staff. Like most sales organisations it was a fairly high pressure environment and had a pretty high turnover of staff, but it was in many ways a great place to work.
One of the best aspects of this business was that there was a culture which did not tolerate any discrimination. They employed a wide range of people, from different cultures, different ethnicities, different sexual orientations, different ages and physical abilities.
So, imagine my surprise when, shortly after we began working with them, I received a phone call from the business owner saying they were being sued for discrimination in an interview.
There must be some mistake I thought! That cannot be right.
Now, this was in the days before claimants had to pay to put in an application for a discrimination tribunal. And this applicant had put in a claim and he felt he had been discriminated against in the interview because of his race.
I asked to see the notes from the manager who had interviewed.
And here lay the problem.
There were no notes.
Therefore there was no record of what questions had been asked, what answers had been recorded. If there had been that paper trail, it would have been very clear that the reason the applicant did not get the job, was because his answers were not up to scratch. His ability to communicate ideas and concepts clearly would have been proven – and THAT is the reason he did not get the job.
I told the client they would probably win in a tribunal but that without notes the case would be harder to win. The client asked their lawyer how much it would cost to represent them, he said around £4 – £6,000 in all likelihood. The client assessed how much management time this would take (at least a weeks worth compiling the paperwork and preparation for the case), and the likelihood of getting their costs back from the other side if they won – which were negligible as he was unemployed.
They made him a without prejudice offer of £1500. He took it and went away. It was the right commercial decision.
But it was not the right moral decision. The candidate was trying it on – and how do I know that? Well apart from the evidence of the multi-cultural environment, and my other knowledge of the working practices of the client – this candidate was WHITE and from NORTHERN IRELAND. Last time I looked NI was part of the UK.
However, he was claiming on a ‘heritage’ issue. He was ‘Irish’ and that was the reason he did not get the job – in his opinion. Utter *******.
So – if you would like to save yourself £1,500 – make sure you take notes in an interview. Oh, and I would also recommend legal expenses insurance (which is not expensive) so that if you do have a malicious claim, you have cover so you can make the right decision, not the right commercial decision.
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