PUBLICATIONS | 21 November 2013

Avoiding Pitfalls in Recruitment Processes

There are a myriad of pre-employment checks and interview questions that employers may wish to use to find the right candidate for the position they want filled. However, it is important that employers understand their legal obligations and the legal limits that apply to recruitment processes.

To start, employers should be guided by the Privacy Act 2003 (Privacy Act) which sets out various information privacy principles.

The Privacy Act requires personal information to only be collected for a lawful purpose that is connected with a function or activity of the agency and that the collection is limited to information necessary for that purpose. In the recruitment context, this means that employers must only collect information necessary for determining an applicant’s suitability for employment. The agency must collect such information directly from the individual concerned (unless specified circumstances exist). In addition, agencies are prohibited from collecting information by “unlawful means” or by means that are “unfair” or “intrude to an unreasonable extent” upon the individual’s personal affairs.

Employers must also ensure that advertising, selection and hiring decisions are made fairly and not on unlawful discriminatory grounds.

The Human Rights Act 1993 (Human Rights Act) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status and sexual orientation.

The material below is intended to provide employers with broad guidelines about how best to avoid pitfalls that can arise in the course of recruiting employees and to assist employers in complying with the Privacy Act and with any discrimination issues that might arise under the Human Rights Act...