Tips for Avoiding Discrimination during the Recruiting Process

Much of the success of your veterinary practice hinges on the quality of the employees you hire. Regardless of how big your staff is, fairness and equity in the workplace matters, and that begins with the recruiting process.

Not only is discrimination during recruitment illegal, but it actually places your business at a disadvantage because it can prevent you from hiring the best employees.

When you are careful not to discriminate, on the other hand, you end up with a much more diverse and dynamic team. And research has consistently shown that companies that embrace diversity are more likely to outperform their competitors.

Let’s take a closer look at the legal ramifications behind discrimination in hiring as well as some tips for avoiding this in your own practice.

What does the law say?

Employment laws may vary slightly from location to location; however, there are a number of acts and pieces of legislation in place that govern the relationship between employer and employee, including the hiring process. In particular, there are a number of “protected characteristics” that employers must not discriminate against. They are as follows:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

How to Avoid Discrimination during Recruitment

As an employer, it’s your job to be diligent in knowing both what factors you can and cannot use when determining which candidate to hire. Otherwise, you could find yourself in hot water. There are also a few other, less direct strategies you can employ that should keep your hiring practices on the up and up. Take a look at a few of them below.

Wording of Job Listings

Even the very verbiage you use in your job listings could be misconstrued as discriminatory. To prevent this and attract people of differing backgrounds, be careful with your language. Never use terms like “girl Friday” or words that might imply a targeted age group, such as energetic or mature. Avoid listing number of years’ experience, as this could discriminate against younger applicants. Instead, focus on the specific skills needed to perform the job well.

Asking Interview Questions

Another area of critical importance is the interview; in particular, the questions you pose to your candidates. As stated above, there are certain characteristics that you simply cannot ask about, even if it’s in casual conversation. For instance, you can’t ask for a date of birth or whether or not an applicant happens to be married. You also cannot ask about children (or whether the candidate plans to start a family), nor can you inquire about health or disability. Stick to questions solely relating to the job and the specific duties and skills you are looking to match.

Making Accommodations

One of the most common ways employers discriminate is in failing to make reasonable accommodations for individuals who are disabled. The goal is to prevent any significant disadvantages for a disabled person to apply for a job, attend an interview and, ultimately, work at your practice. At the very least, your facility should be handicap accessible (for clients as well as employees and prospects). Take inventory of your practice and your procedures. If there are any steps in the hiring process that might become roadblocks to someone who is disabled, take the necessary measures to correct them.

Enlist Help

Many vets or practice owners are simply way too busy to worry about the nuances listed above. To avoid inadvertently making a blunder that could be costly, enlisting the help of an experienced veterinary recruiter may be a better business decision. Not only will a recruiting professional help keep you out of hot water, but you’ll end up with a pool of highly qualified candidates without having to do any of the legwork. That’s a win-win!

Want to learn more about how we can help you build your “dream team?” Get in touch today!

3