When it comes to hiring, it may seem simpler to screen potential applicants via a phone interview. But such conversations lend themselves to misunderstandings. If you must conduct them, do so via speaker and with more than one person participating.
That way, the applicant can’t make wild claims when she isn’t hired.
Recent case: Toneisha, who is black, claimed she had a phone interview for an executive assistant position. During the interview, she revealed her race. Toneisha sued when she didn’t get the job, claiming that the interviewer told her point blank that she didn’t hire black applicants for the position.
The company denied that the phone interview ever happened. Toneisha submitted phone records showing that the call had occurred, but the company’s records showed that no call took place.
The court declined to dismiss the case and ordered a verified copy of Toneisha’s phone records. (Medina v. Houston International Insurance, No. 4:13-CV-3343, SD TX, 2015)
Final note: Remember that there may be “testers” out there, trying to catch you or one of your employees screening out applicants based on race, sex or other protected characteristics. They may volunteer information that isn’t necessary for a hiring decision and see how the interviewer reacts.
Sometimes, labor unions and other worker-rights advocacy groups conduct industry-wide testing campaigns in an effort to identify discriminatory hiring practices.
Note: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that the EEOC uses testers. It does not.