Unsuitable clothes dis-dressing interviewers

But most unaware of interview bias laws

UK employers are severely irritated by inappropriate dress, mumbling and even poor handshakes by job applicants during interviews, but the vast majority are unaware that judging candidates unfairly during the interview process could land them in court, according to a new survey.

The study, conducted by employment law firm Peninsula, asked businesses from across the UK what interview habit they find most annoying and found that over a quarter were upset by unsuitable clothing – the most popular answer given.

A further 19 per cent said that their main bugbear was lateness, with an estimated one in seven candidates not arriving on time for an interview.

However, the survey revealed that jobseekers who turn up an hour late wearing a gorilla costume could still make thing worse for themselves, with 15 per cent of employers disliking a keen interest in salary, one in ten disapproving of negativity and seven per cent unhappy with a lack of eye contact.

Nearly one in ten of those polled judged a candidate by their handshake while three per cent hated mumbling.

However, the survey also revealed that just 12 per cent of those questioned were aware that they could be taken to an employment tribunal by candidates who feel that they were discriminated against during an interview.

Peninsula warned that employers should make sure that their selection process is fair, with candidates chosen on their abilities and not on their race, sex, religion or other facet.

Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula, said that although interviewees need to make a good impression at interviews, those conducting the selection process should also follow certain rules and etiquette.

“Indeed, if the employer gets it wrong then there may be serious repercussions. An employer must ensure that they do not under any circumstances discriminate any candidate at interview or they may be liable to litigation such as an employment tribunal.

“No pre-conceptions should be made on any discriminatory grounds and each candidate deserves a fair interview,” he said.

Done advised firms to send a clear, polite letter to those who have applied for the job and allow applicants to ask questions and make sure they are answered honestly.

“Whilst the interviewees must be on their guard against unforced errors, employers must realise that the behaviour of both the candidate and the interviewer must be of a high standard or the consequences could be costly for both parties,” he said.

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