Are enough employers open minded when recruiting?

New research discovers candidates feel discriminated against during interviews. Here are some tips to avoid discrimination when recruiting.

When looking to fill a role in your company, the interview process can be a draining and frustrating exercise as you sift through the candidates to find the perfect worker. One of the toughest things to keep in check is to remain open-minded and avoid discrimination.

New research from CV-Library finds nearly one in four (22 per cent) professionals in the UK have experienced discrimination during an interview, and for the majority (39.3 per cent) it was because of their age.

More than half of workers (51.5 per cent) don’t know their rights when it comes to interview discrimination and when asked why they experienced this prejudice, respondents cited –

Age – 39.3 per cent
Race – 10 per cent
Gender – 8.9 per cent
Disabilities – 6.7 per cent
School/university – 3.7 per cent

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments, ‘It’s concerning to see that interview discrimination is so rife in the UK, with one in four being affected. Recruiters have a job to find the most suitable and skilled candidate for the role, regardless of age, race, gender or anything else. During an interview it’s important that you don’t let your preconceptions get in the way, and instead ensure you ask all the right questions to determine if they’re a good fit for the job.’

Biggins concludes, ‘Interviews are a two-way dialogue, so it could cause complications if recruiters were forced to stick to a script. That said, having a list of questions that you cannot ask, for example, “do you plan to have children?” could help to reduce the risk of prejudice during the interview. Overall, interviewers have an important role to play, and while they must do what is best for the business, they also need to ensure that all candidates are given a fair chance – otherwise they could end up missing out on talented candidates!’

To make sure that you keep an open mind when you are interviewing candidates, we take a look at what you can do to stop discrimination in recruitment.

Get the advertising right

The first step to avoiding discrimination is to let applying candidates know exactly what you are looking for in the role and letting them know that they won’t be considered if they don’t fit the criteria you are after. Setting out exact details of what you require, can help candidates know if the job is right for them and know that disability or education will impact on their ability to work.

Avoid requirements that include physical characteristics. For example, if your vacancy is in a warehouse where heavy lifting is performed as a major function of the job, do not exclude women who apply or require an applicant to meet specific weight and height limits. If you must ensure that applicants will succeed in the position, you may test all candidates by having them lift boxes similar to those in the warehouse. Also clearly state in your job announcement the minimum lifting requirements to qualify for the position.

Personal judgement

The most crucial aspect of remaining open minded is not letting your own personal prejudice or opinion get in the way of a quality candidates application. You can hold whatever views you chose, but you are looking for the best person for the job, regardless of age or ethnicity. Disregard appearance and pay attention the ability of the candidate.


Invite a manager, colleague or employee to sit on the interview panel with you. If this is not feasible, hire a human resources firm or an attorney to aid in the interviewing process. If you are later accused of discrimination, having a witness to your interactions with all of the candidates will help prove you handled the process fairly.

Take notes

Note the reasons for your selection to show that it was based on the criteria for the position developed from your job analysis. Do this when the memory is fresh in your mind. Keep your notes from the interview for at least one year or longer in case you need to refer to them to replace your first choice. The statute of limitations to file a complaint of discrimination is 180 days from the date of the incident, but can be extended to 300 days in some circumstances.

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...