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Ask the HR Expert: Recruiting & Retention

Posted by NEHRA  April 13, 2009 09:00 AM

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Q. I want to give potential job candidates a computer skills test. Must I notify him/her ahead of time or can I just ask them to submit to a test after an interview?

A. You are not required to notify a candidate in advance of a computer test. The key to being compliant when administering job related tests, as you may know, is consistency. If you notify one candidate prior to the interview, then you should notify every candidate in the same manner.


Q. While conducting an interview with a foreign candidate (i.e. a student in his final year of study), is it legal to ask him what visa he is on? The hiring decision will not be affected by his visa status, as the company is willing to sponsor a H1B visa for the right candidate. However, it would be helpful to know if sponsorship is required for the candidate during the interview process for planning purposes.

A. I would not advise asking specifics about immigration status during the interview process. While the question you pose above may not be deemed illegal, especially after the candidate has disclosed his foreign status, it is also not a bona fide job related question. Given that you will not be making a hiring decision based upon his answer, you should wait until after the hiring decision is made to clarify the type of visa and then begin the appropriate process from there.


Q. When speaking with a potential candidate, is it OK to write notes on the resume?

A. Yes, it is ok to write notes on a resume, but realize that your notes do become part of the candidate’s record/file, whether you decide to hire or not hire. Therefore, it is important to be careful on what words you do choose to write down as you try to describe your interpretation and view of a candidate’s skills, experiences, decisions, accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, etc.

For example, as a means of trying to remember a candidate, you decide to write down the ethnic group of a candidate, or their age, as a descriptor to recall who is who, because you are interviewing many candidates. However, these reminders can be interpreted as being discriminatory, and these notes hiring could be challenged as a basis of your decision to hire or not hire.


Q. How do you think IT outsourcing impacts employee turnover? Would the retention management of an outsourced IT employee differ from a general IT employee?

A. It depends on what is driving your decision to outsource IT – will all of IT be outsourced, or some of it? When paying an IT outsourcing fee you are measuring your level of satisfaction and the performance of your IT provider on several benchmarks/metrics, including customer satisfaction, overall performance of services provided, etc. Your vendor (vs. an individual you are hiring on a contract basis) will have to pay close attention to how they select, develop, promote and retain talent, including management, to achieve the performance metrics they have been given by their clients, and to manage expenses effectively. If turnover is on the high side, this most likely will impact their ability to deliver consistent quality of services and will significantly increase their recruiting and training expenses, therefore not only putting their outsourcing agreement at risk, but most likely will reduce profitability margins.

If you outsourcing some of IT, you most likely are using a scalable staffing model to allow you to scale up (hire) or scale down (let go) contract labor (which is a form of outsourcing), without having to hire and lay-off permanent employees.

The question of what scenario will have the greatest retention/lowest turnover, depends on the ability of either the outsourcing vendor, or the organization hiring contract labor, to hire, reward, recognize, train/develop, provide challenging work/projects, and promote their IT employees, which impacts retention.


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About NEHRA - The Voice of HR Featuring articles and resources for Human Resources / HR professional and hiring managers from the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA).

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