HR Base Camp Roundup – March 14th

In this week’s edition of the HR Base Camp roundup – we dive deeper into the idea of including dress code policies in job applications to weed out certain applicants.

We understand, in today’s climate, wanting to weed out applicants that you feel won’t fit the bill can seem enticing. However, with one wrong step, you’ll find yourself in the land of discriminatory practices (which none of us want to be in).

Here are the HR Q&As from our HR Base Camp Facebook Group and HR Solution Center:


Is it okay to include dress code policies (like no piercings or nails) in job applications to weed out applicants?

It’s pretty common for employers to have a workplace dress code that includes rules about things like piercings or nail length/color, especially in industries like healthcare where health and safety regulations tend to be strict. However, we would NOT suggest including it on job applications as a way to “weed out” applicants.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, an applicant could claim that the application is discriminatory because it’s looking for them to have specific physical features. To avoid any issues, it’s best to leave any reference to appearance out of job listings or applications.

Second, if you’re too specific in the ad, you could potentially miss out on a great employee in the interview process. Even if they’re qualified, a job seeker might not apply if they feel like their appearance won’t meet your requirements.

Keep in mind that a job candidate’s nails may look differently during their job search than they will once you hire them and tell them about the dress code! An applicant shouldn’t have to change their physical appearance just to be interviewed. However, once you get to the interview stage, it’s totally fine to tell the applicant about your policy and ask if they’d follow it if offered the job.

Naturally, any policy that you have for applicants should also apply to current employees and be clearly stated in your employee handbook. Consistency is key.


I’m interested in working interviews, but I hear a lot of conflicting information about whether they’re legal or not. What do I need to know?

Working interviews are all too often misunderstood and, fun fact, actually started out as a marketing device by temp agencies. Your business is (highly likely) not a temp agency, so here’s what you need to know.

A working interview is actually more than just an interview. Practically speaking, you’re hiring a new employee for a short period of time and if you don’t take the proper steps you could find yourself in hot water, like boiling hot.

Since working interviews involve candidates doing work that benefits your practice (perhaps even tending to patients), you’re obligated to hire and treat them as you would any employee. This means having them complete all the necessary paperwork, like the I-9 and tax withholding forms.

It also means they’re potentially eligible for unemployment, all state and federal employee protections and Workers’ Compensation coverage if they get hurt. Even if they only worked for a single day.

Let that sink in.

You can see how this makes things a bit more complicated. So what can you do to avoid the administrative headache and potential liability?

Our advice is to stick to classic behavioral interviewing questions and skills testing. During a skills test, the applicant doesn’t perform any work for your business. Instead, they do some “simulated” tests for you to evaluate their competency in different areas. Our working interview guide explains this in more detail and provides some useful examples.

If you decide that you still want to go the working interview route, make sure you cover the points we mentioned above to keep things legal.


An employee that quit two months ago has decided to come back. Do they need to complete all the new hire paperwork again or can I use what is already on file?

Congratulations on your new-ish hire! The hiring process for bringing a good employee back after a short period of time is pretty straightforward, and you are able to reuse most forms.

One document you definitely need to create from scratch is a rehire letter that explains their status and things like schedule, pay and any other administrative stuff. Don’t re-use their previous offer letter.

With documents like the employee information form and tax withholding forms (form W-4), you’re in luck. As long as the employee reviews what you already have on file for accuracy, everything is still current and no changes are necessary, you can use them! If their 1-9 form isn’t expired, just input the rehire date in the designated section and add the current date.

The same goes for any necessary certifications. You don’t need to get new copies if the ones on file are still current.

If you haven’t heard, this is where our free HR Vault comes in handy. When you reactivate a previous employee in the Vault, all their original documents will still be there in the system, dust free. The Vault keeps everything conveniently organized and accessible, saving you time and expediting the rehire process.
At CEDR, we help employers protect their businesses and build stronger teams. Because stronger teams build better workplaces, and better workplaces make better lives.

Have an HR question you need to talk through with an HR expert? Reach out to the Solution Center for expert guidance, or get your questions answered in our private, professional Facebook Group, HR Base Camp.

Mar 14, 2023

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance based on applicable local, state and/or federal U.S. employment law that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.

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