HR will have to retain all job interview notes

Employers have been warned they could end up in front of an employment
tribunal over notes taken during job interviews.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth France will publish the commission code
of practice on recruitment and selection at the end of January which highlights
the right for prospective members of staff to see an employer’s notes of their

The code aims to clarify employers’ responsibilities under the Data
Protection Act 1998 which came into force on 23 October 2001.

Jonathan Chamberlain, a partner at law firm Wragge & Co, said firms
could be penalised if they refuse requests to show people notes made about them
during job interviews.

He warned that they are going to have to be very careful about what they put
in interview notes.

"There have been a lot of cases in the past where someone has gone to
an employment tribunal claiming discrimination for not being employed and the
interview notes have been misplaced or lost," said Chamberlain.

"Tribunals have been suspicious of this and normally rule against the
employer. It is good practice for employers to keep interview notes. It is also
good practice to give feedback to interviewees as to why they may not have been
chosen for the job."

Richard Baron, deputy head of the policy unit at the Institute of Directors,
is concerned the regulations will affect the quality of employers’ recruitment

"You will not get an honest opinion in interview notes and this will
lead to much less reliable recruitment," he said.

The CBI defended the code’s interpretation of the law, but along with the
British Chambers of Commerce expressed concerns about the length and clarity of
the document.

Last week it was revealed that the information commissioner is due to step
down in November.

By Paul Nelson

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