A few weeks ago my vibrant, 61-year-old Mom reached out to me for some advice regarding a new position she was applying for at work. She has been in the same job for 42 years, and is transferring to a new office, which required her to submit a resume.

Cue her Recruiter daughter…

Since she hadn’t needed a resume for the past 40 years, she did some digging. As many know, I kindly refer to my Mom as a Professional Hoarder (she generously refers to herself as a collector.) Fortunately for her, after dusting off some boxes she had stashed away, she was able to track down her very first resume that she had submitted 40 years earlier.

Mind. Blown.

Ummm….excuse me, what is Nancy Taylor Charm School?!? The application seriously required her to list her birth date, weight, and marital status?

This was 1975.

My jaw dropped… and then I couldn’t stop laughing. Without giving up too much information, my Mom works for a government entity. These requirements were not exclusive to a privately held company. EEOC violations were flashing in BIG, BOLD, RED, LIGHTS in my head.

Fast forward to 2017 where application requirements aren’t as antiquated as listing your marital status or weight, and if they were, companies would be getting in some serious T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

Here’s a quick overview, if you’re unfamiliar with EEOC. The short version is that it’s a government agency created in 1965, and was put in place to provide specific protection from discrimination in hiring certain protected classes, such as National Origin, Race, Gender, Age, Disability, etc. Clearly EEOC regulations have evolved since 1975, and we no longer live in an era where it’s acceptable to require applicants to list their weight, age, or charm school grades on their application.

Here are a few reasons why, as a Recruiter or Hiring Manager, it’s imperative to make sure your hiring is focused around 2017 EEOC regulations and not the 1975 version.

A Melting Pot of Talent

Following EEOC standards is a great hiring method to ensure you’re recruiting the most qualified candidates from a diverse range of applicants. How much fun is it working with carbon-copied versions of your entire staff? It’s Not! Think of how some of the best companies have been able to pivot or grow…. diversity of thought! One of the most valuable tools a company can have is diversity of thought!

Keep Your Team in Check

Another benefit to ensure your organization is aligning its hiring practices with EEOC standards is that it offers a level of consistency. Often times a company’s hiring teams will include multiple people interviewing a variety of candidates. Creating an interview process that is in alignment with EEOC is a great baseline tool to streamline and manage interview feedback and expectations. Your hiring team is certainly still allowed to incorporate their opinions regarding the candidates they are interviewing, but this helps offer a level of consistency so your hiring team/interview process doesn’t have you face-palming yourself… muttering, “too many cooks in the kitchen.”

The EEOC Police

Lastly, you really don’t have a choice… it’s the law. Not only is following the EEOC guidelines a good practice (for reasons previously listed), but your company may be subject to an EEOC audit at any time. This is to ensure your hiring practices are in line with considering a wide range of candidates, based on their qualifications to adequately perform the job responsibilities you’re hiring for, and not discriminating against certain types of applicants.

Fortunately for my Mom’s organization, she fit the old school expectations listed on her application 42 years ago, because had she not, they would have missed out on an incredibly talented, passionate, and hard-working woman who has since gone on to lead a team of her peers for years. Don’t let your organization take the risk of not aligning yourselves with EEOC, and not just because it’s the law, but because you could be missing out on your next incredibly, talented hire.

What is an EEOC best practice you’ve used at your company to ensure compliance? I’d love to hear from you, so let me know in the comments below!

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