The Economy and the Job Market: What You Should Know

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It seems like everyday I read about more and more companies laying off hundreds, if not thousands, of employees. I find myself looking a little harder at the men and women on the corner asking for change and wonder, will there soon be more?

It is safe to say that with these trying times come many hardships. Even those heavily qualified in their fields may find landing a job to be difficult. The competition is at hand, how will you stack up?

Since companies are hurting, too, corporations are looking far beyond job applications to insure they get the right person for the job. The wrong hiring decision can cost a company thousands of dollars and that is just the start. The loss of productivity in these trying times would pack an especially hard punch.

So, in addition to traditional background screening that includes a criminal background check, address trace, credit report or driving record, they are looking to surveys that convey an applicant's honesty and morality level, and even asking applicants to participate in medical exams to avoid increasing health care costs.

All the tactics to get the right person listed above are legal, but there are some employers taking too many steps and if they are not careful, could end up in hot water. Below are list of things employers should never ask as part of the job applicant screening process:

  • Are you planning to have children?
  • Is your child-care provider dependable?
  • What prescription drugs are you currently using?
  • Ever been treated for mental health problems?

Asking questions like these leaves companies open to discrimination lawsuits. When money is at stake, we all get a little more nervous, but make sure to make good, and lawful, hiring decisions and your bottom line might just weather the storm.


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