Recruitment is never an easy process, let alone in a pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic much of our recruitment has moved online. However the legislation remains the same. Employers need to ensure they adhere and remain compliant with all of the Employment legislation and, in particular when recruiting, the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015.

Here are some best practice guidelines to follow when recruiting online is necessary.

Firstly, be very aware of discrimination. Discrimination in the recruitment process can take many forms. It can be direct such as explicitly limiting your recruitment to men. Or it can be indirect such as putting in place requirements that appear non-discriminatory, but which may adversely affect a particular class/group of person.

Discrimination is defined in the Acts as treating a person

“less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation” on one or more of the protected grounds.

There are nine protected grounds of discrimination set out in the Acts:

  • Gender
  • Civil status
  • Family status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Membership of the Traveller community.

We need to bear this in mind throughout the recruitment process from advertising a position to selecting and offering a candidate.


Secondly, it’s all about preparation. Following the shortlisting process, decide on the format you would like the interview process to take. Take time to communicate this to the candidate.

In advance of the interview,

  • Ensure all interview question sheets and scoring documents are prepared and printed in advance.
  • Ensure all interviewers are briefed on the requirements for the role and the interview process.
  • Test equipment, online facilities audio and visual set ups. Check anything else you may use on the day to avoid unnecessary delays on the day of interview. 
  • Ensure you send the job description and any instructions for presentations in advance to all of the candidates. 
  • Confirm the interview date, time, links to call and interviewer names in writing to the candidate in advance. Ask the candidate to confirm his/her attendance by return.
  • Set phones/email to silent and ensure there are no interruptions during the interview slot.
During the interview

Next, let’s look at what to do during the interview iteslf. As the online or virtual interview process is a new phenomenon to so many of us it is important to ensure you put the candidate at ease.

  • Ensure there is lots of eye contact with the candidate. It’s your job to ensure you get the most out of the interview allowing the candidates personality to shine through.
  • Do allow time at the end for the candidate to ask any questions they may have as you would normally do during a face-to-face interview.
  • Take robust accurate notes throughout the interview capturing the candidates answers accurately.
  • Finally, remember to thank the candidate for taking the time out of their schedule to meet with you.

Follow up and interview records

Just becaue the interview is over, doesn’t mean the task is done. Records are key.

  • Following the interview ensure each candidate is scored and ranked according to the scoring matrix that is being used.
  • Successful candidates should be notified and offered a position in a timely manner.
  • Equally, unsuccessful candidates should be notified and offered feedback in line with best practice.
  • Importantly, all recruitment records and interview notes should be retained for at least one year following the conclusion of the process.

Why is this the case?

The reason is because individuals have six months following the conclusion of the recruitment process to bring a potential discrimination claim. 


In conclusion, follow the steps for a smooth interview process. Furthermore, know the pitfalls. And finally, don’t forget to enjoy it!

Thank you for reading. If you would like further advice and guidance on any of the issues raised here please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Maureen Heffernan, Head of HR Service Delivery Team


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