7.14.17 Issue #801 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Job Application Blunders to Avoid
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

Oh no, another untimely “I am quitting” notice. Most office managers and dental employers hate these words, and move toward the hiring process again with trepidation. The gusto of “we found someone!” is often replaced with “what was I thinking?” after hastily hiring an unsuitable applicant.

A professionally written resume can often be a smokescreen of less than desirable attributes, so it is wise to have the applicant fill out, in the office, a handwritten application. After review of the application and a check of references, a list of prepared, open-ended questions should be asked during a face-to-face interview. Or if you prefer, you can have a SKYPE interview to avoid having the applicant come into the office.

With employment laws varying from state to state, it is still a wise decision to be prudent when inquiring about the topics listed below. For the most part, there are federal laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that enforce much of these avoidable hiring issues. 

1. Medical history, past disabilities or questions related to current disabilities should be avoided. Instead, be sure to include on your job post any physical requirements of the job, such as “must be able to bend and lift objects up to twenty pounds from a cabinet” or “must be able to stand on your feet for up to two hours at a time”.

2. You will want to include on your job application a statement that the application is not a “contract of employment” or an “offer of employment.” This disclaimer is to protect you from a claim from an applicant that the job was guaranteed. This comes up if the applicant was not hired or you hired someone else instead.

3. You will want to include on your job application a “nondiscrimination statement” informing the applicant that you are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring based on federally protected classifications, sexual orientation or marital status.

4. While it is relevant to question an applicant about their experience as related to the job requirements, it is not okay to ask about graduation dates and degree dates obtained in the education section of the application. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) this is viewed as discriminatory intent based on age, especially if the graduation date has no bearing on the job duties or the degree date is irrelevant to the job duties.

5. Asking for a photograph of an applicant is discriminatory as it identifies the person by physical characteristics. After hiring, a photograph would be desirable for identification purposes.

6. It is important to inform an applicant if you intend to have a criminal background check performed. This should be on a “stand alone” document and not included on the application form, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

7. It seems friendly to ask about family and children, but beware. Questions about childcare, number of children, marital status etc. can be determined as discrimination. In many states, marital and familial status is considered a protected classification and is not to be inquired about in the hiring process. 

8. Use an I9 form separate from the employment application to determine citizenship. Avoid asking about citizenship on a job application, as is outlined by the Immigration Reform and Control Act.

9. Avoid questions regarding arrests (an arrest does not mean the person was guilty) and convictions (separate from the Background Check) on a job application. If you do, it is important to ask questions that are job related only; but this is not recommended. For example, if there are drugs stored in the office or prescription blanks that can be accessed, it would be relevant to ask if the applicant has ever been convicted of drug possession or drug dealing. Use caution in this area and consult an attorney to be safe. A dentist is responsible for the health and safety of the other employees and the patients too.

The hiring process will come up from time to time, and being prepared is important. Look at your current job application form. If you have used the same one for years, it’s probably time for an update to make sure you are not violating any employment laws.

Need help with hiring? Contact McKenzie Management today for consulting services and professional business training courses to help you to create solid systems.  

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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