WorkComp Advisory
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Q & A: The hiring process

Q. “I’ve read in your newsletter that an injury often begins at the date of hire. In the interview process, can I ask about the applicant’s history of Workers’ Compensation claims?”

A. No, an employer cannot ask the applicant medical questions or whether he or she ever filed Workers’ Compensation claims. Yet, when hiring an individual, it is very important to consider safe behavior to prevent Workers’ Compensation problems. You can ask open-ended safety questions regarding the job at hand and how they would perform the essential functions of the job. Let the applicants know that if they’re accepted for a job, they’ll go through a fitness-for-duty physical and be asked questions about their medical history.

Q. “I’ve heard that behavioral interviewing techniques can help make a good hiring decision. Do you have any suggestions?”

A. The key to asking behavioral-based interview questions is to examine the job requirements and skills needed and ask questions that reveal whether the applicant demonstrates the behavior you prefer. For example, to get an understanding of how a person works under stress and if they are likely to cut corners, you might ask the applicant to describe a time when he or she fell behind a production schedule and how they managed the situation.

Q. “When is the best time to run a background checks on applicants – before or after the job offer?”

A. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding when to run background checks, including costs and time as well as legal implications. While each employer’s situation is different, it may make sense to run background checks on the final two or three applicants, prior to making a decision. If you do just one, there are potential delays in the hiring process, should the results be negative. If you wait until after the job is offered and accepted, there is the possibility of an unsatisfactorily result and a sticky situation, should the candidate contest the findings or have resigned from their job.