The Consultant - 2008 - (Page 39)

FEATURE Hiring Practices: BY AUDREY E. MROSS hen looking for the perfect consulting forester to join your staff, keep in mind that companies cannot discriminate in employment decisions based upon an applicant’s or employee’s gender, race, age, disability, religion, national origin or color. This is required by federal law and a good way to ensure that we hire and retain the best-qualified Audrey Mross people for the job. Other protected categories, such as marital status or sexual orientation, also may apply based on state or local laws. During interviewing, especially during the ice-breaking phase when you’re trying to put the applicant at ease, it is very easy to inadvertently ask questions that relate to gender, age and other protected categories in an attempt to build rapport. Even though the information is not used in making a hiring decision, just asking it creates a presumption that it may be used. Many employers have had charges and lawsuits filed against them claiming illegal discrimination based on improper questions during an interview. This often happens when the applicant was not hired, and it is easier for him or her to believe that discrimination was the reason for rejection, rather than his or her own lack of qualifications. The Golden Rule of interviewing is to always ask questions that relate to the ability to do the job that is the subject of the interview. The following questions are NOT job-related and have been used in discrimination lawsuits: • What is your marital status? What is your maiden name? What is your spouse’s name and occupation? Do you plan to marry? • Do you have a roommate? Are you related to your roommate(s)? • Are you pregnant? Do you have children? How many? What are their ages? Do you plan to start a family or have more children? What are your child care arrangements? You may explain that the job requires overnight travel “x” times per month and ask if the candidate can meet that requirement. THE CONSULTANT 2008 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask a Job Applicant W • Do you own a home or rent? • Do you own or rent your own car? You may ask whether the applicant has a reliable means to get to work each day. • Have you ever been arrested? In most states, you may ask about convictions – when they occurred, the nature of the offense and the disposition of the matter by the court. You also must state that a conviction will not automatically result in not being considered for the job. • Have you ever been bankrupt? • Have you been in the military service of another country? Are you in the National Guard or Reserves? You may ask if the applicant has been in the military and what skills, if any, relate to the desired job. If information about Reserve/ Guard status is elicited and and the applicant is not hired, the inquiry may constitute evidence of unlawful discrimination. • To what clubs, fraternities, sororities or other organizations do you belong? Have you ever been a union member? You may ask what leadership positions or duties within a club the applicant has held, which prepares them for the job desired, without naming the club. • Are you a U.S. citizen? Are you a naturalized U.S. citizen? Where were you born? Where were your parents born? You 39 ©

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2008

Executive Director’s Message Mapping the Future of ACF
President’s Message ACF Celebrates 60 Years
Professional Forestry Education: The Present, from a Texas Perspective
The Future of Forestry Education: Will We Prepare Relics or Icons?
Forestry and Consulting: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Carbon – A Forestry Opportunity?
Advocacy – Its Benefits May Come With Frustrations
Katrina Top 10: Public Policy Advocacy Lessons Learned After Hurricane Disaster
‘Mighty Giants’ Details Rich History of American Chestnut Tree
The Cost of Breaking in New Employees
Hiring Practices: Questions You Shouldn’t Ask a Job Applicant
Graduate Forestry Degrees and Consulting Forestry
Taxation and Land Devaluation: An Examination of the Tax Burden on Non-industrial Private Landowners
Forester Licensing: Essential to Guarding the Forestry Profession
Forester Licensing: Not Worth the Effort
ACF Code of Ethics: Canon 15 What You Don’t Say or Do Can Hurt You
Philippe Morgan: European Forestry Consultant Extraordinaire
The Final Word: A Tale of Two Technologies

The Consultant - 2008