Job seekers have rights against abuse
Job seekers have rights against abuse
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The challenge of securing employment has become a real struggle for many. Compounding that challenge is the torture many job seekers go through at job interviews, with some interview sessions described as abusive and demeaning.

Sadly, not many have gathered the confidence to walk out on such demeaning situations, considering the competitive search for jobs and high unemployment levels, especially in developing countries.

But a 22-year-old job applicant, Olivia Bland recently turned down a job offer after a stressful job interview with an abusive CEO who made her feel an underachiever. She has being hailed on various social media platforms after she took to her tweeter handle to announce her ordeal.

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Unlike Olivia, many prospective job applicants, for the fear of losing a job opportunity, have accepted job offers and stuck in abusive workplace environments for years.

The incident brings into sharp focus the rule of engagement at interviews and the rights of both interviewers and interviewees.

According to Employment Relations and Dispute Resolution Expert, Saeed Musah-Khaleepha job seekers at interviews have rights which should be respected.

“Job seekers, when necessary, should insist on these rights whenever they find themselves in an abusive environment,” he told ADR Daily.

“First of all in a normal interaction, using demeaning words and unkind words amount to insulting the personality of the interviewee who can take up the matter against the prospective employer.

“The second is that because the interview is an opportunity for the two sides to have an insight into each other, the interviewee has the right to turn down an offer after being offered the job with or without stating reasons. It’s entirely up to the applicant,” he stressed.

“Sometimes it not only insults and unkind words, but expressions that seem simply innocuous, could even give grounds for action against the company.

An applicant, he said, also has a right to ask questions about the company, its managers, and decline to answer certain questions that are not directly related to the job, as well as raise issues of potential bias or conflict of interest against panel members, he explained.

He noted that even when the applicant is unsuccessful for the job, or applicant’s declines the offer, an applicant still has a right to take up matters.

He, therefore advised recruiting firms to familiarize themselves with the CVs of applicants by way of preparation so as appreciate the applicant’s career, ask relevant questions and avoid situations such as bias in order not to endanger the reputation of the company.

Mr Ebenezer Agbettor, Executive Director of the Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners Ghana (IHRMP), also told ADR Daily that interviews sessions are expected to be devoid of abuse from each side.

He said professional Human Resource Practitioners are aware of ethical requirement for conducting interviews, which is to ensure that situations of abuse and other unprofessional behaviour are avoided.

The Institute, he said, abhors unethical interview practices and would accordingly apply punitive measures on practitioners who flout its code of ethics and misconduct themselves in recruitment exercises.

Describing any situation that falls under stress interview as very unfortunate, Mr. Agbettor advised job seekers to seek redress from appropriate quarters whenever they are treated with disdain by prospective employers.

By: Benjamin Nana Appiah/