Recruitment Records – A Costly Day Out

When it comes to maintaining recruitment records, many of my clients are surprised when I advise them to file candidate applications and interview notes for 12 months. They are often more surprised when I say that this includes those candidates who were not successful at interview. 

This is an important practice that all employers should adopt for both internal and external recruitment processes. In the event that a claim is made to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) your interview notes will provide a key piece of evidence in defending such a claim and to prove that the selection process was fair. Equally, under data protection legislation a candidate or employee may request to view their interview notes post the selection process.

A recent case taken to the WRC highlights this: An Employee v A Public Transport Company ADJ-00021540

Complainant’s Case

The Complainant (Employee) was unsuccessful following an interview for an internal promotion. He tried appeal this decision but the employer refused to facilitate him. Instead, he was given the opportunity of an interview feedback session. The employee also made a request under data protection legislation to review his interview notes, but he was told that the notes had disappeared. 

Respondent’s Case

The Employer received 34 internal applicants of which 12 were called for interview. The employer maintained that the process was conducted fairly and in keeping with the company’s selection procedures. The Employer advised that the interview notes were inadvertently shredded after the feedback session. 

Adjudication Officer’s Decision

In making a decision on the case, the Adjudicator made reference to the fact that it was not his place to decide whether that Complainant was the most suitable candidate for the role, rather to determine whether the Complainant was treated fairly and that the process was carried out consistently by the Employer. 

The Adjudicator found that due to the fact that the interview notes were shredded, an unsatisfactory feedback session, the refusal to implement the grievance procedure and some process inconsistencies the Claimant was treated unfairly. 

The Adjudicator recommended the Employer pay the Claimant €2,000 compensation for being subjected to this unfair treatment. 

Learnings

This case highlights the need (at a minimum) to maintain accurate recruitment documents and interview notes. Should these have been available, it is likely that the employer would have had a more robust defence to the claim.  

The sum of €2,000 should also be considered in context of other financials in relation to defending this claim (internal resources, legal fees, loss of productivity etc); thus, likely becoming a multiple of this compensation amount. 

By Steven Drew

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