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Question added to topic Human ResourcesMarch 12, 2008

Is it legal to take pictures of the people who interview for a job at your company?

The company I work for hires young adults for summer jobs in California. Once a week, I hold open interviews and I'm finding that when I get back to my desk to figure out who I want to offer a job to, I forget who they are or what they looked like. I always come back wishing I could have taken a picture so I could remember who they are.
While video resumes and photos on resumes are becoming more in vogue at this time, photos are not a good idea in general because people could infer that you make your hiring decisions based on how people look (e.g., race, age, attractive/unattractive, etc.) versus on bona fide hiring criteria. Why expose your company to that kind of contention? Instead, improve your interview process so you can make quicker and more incontrovertible hiring decisions.

I think that you need a better system of interviewing and taking notes upon which to base your hiring decisions versus taking pictures of applicants. You should be using an application form that gathers legally allowed data on each candidate. You should have that with you when you conduct the interview so that you can refer to it. You should be using a structured interview (with standardized questions) that facilitates you asking the same pertinent job-related questions of each applicant. You should be taking copious notes to record their responses. Finally, you should have a worksheet that includes a checklist of the job qualifications (skills, character traits, abilities, knowledge, experience, etc.) for the job and a rating system (e.g., 0 to 5 in each area of qualification). You should then be able to come up with an instant total rating upon which you should be able to make a timely decision.

You should keep in mind that there are state laws that prohibit you from asking for a photo from applicants, so these would apply to taking photos of interviewees too.

Penny is a seasoned human resources executive and consultant with over 25 years of diverse business experience in advising enterprise leaders on employment-related matters.

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