Can we ask applicants to leave voice-mail message?

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Q. Someone suggested that a good way to screen applicants is to require them to leave a recorded message explaining why they are qualified for the position. Is this legally OK? — S.H., North Carolina

A. That depends. A clever lawyer may see your program as a way to screen out potential applicants based on accent, gender or ethnicity. Plus, you would have to find a way to save the recorded messages because they would form part of the job application.

Job applications must be retained for one year under both the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII. Some statutes of limitations for discrimination issues are longer and you would need to preserve the information to help you defend against the claim. That means you will have to find a way to save the messages and associate them with a particular applicant in your records.

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