Writing on Candidates’ Resumes: What Not to Say

Asking an illegal interview question isn’t the only way misinformed hiring practices can get in you in trouble: according to experts, you might want to watch what you absentmindedly scribble on the side of a candidate’s resume.

While there are no laws outright banning the practice, there are several ways in which a note taken the wrong way can translate into legal problems. For example, while you might think your comment on a candidate’s appearance is simply a way to jog your memory later on, in court it looks more like support for a discrimination claim. Notes on a resume or application also make it difficult for future eyes to look at the document objectively, and can be made out as an attempt to decrease the candidate’s chances.

To help you avoid this gray area, we’ve put together a list of topics to steer absolutely clear of when taking notes during an interview.

  1. Age, race, gender, and place of origin
  2. Pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital/family status and disability
  3. Financial status, political views and religion

Here’s a great rule of thumb: just like interview questions, comments should be job-related only. If you still think this might slip your mind in an interview, you might want to nix resume note-taking all together. Try taking notes on a separate pad of paper instead, or utilize Hireology’s “notes” feature to attach notes to specific applicants online. 

For more great interviewing tips, check out our guide on phone interviews.



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