Preferred but Definitely not Required Part 2

danny-0509A look at the top employer job sourcing mistakes.
I addressed two issues under this topic in a past blog and now present you with one more issue. The topic of providing documentation that demonstrates eligibility to work in the United States, the I-9 form documentation. This form is often misunderstood and poorly administered, especially by smaller businesses that do not always have a Human Resource content expert readily available on staff.Again, the goal of looking at common employer oversights in the sourcing and recruiting process is not to give the job seeker ammunition against employers, but instead to help inform the employment process so that more people have a fair shot at obtaining gainful employment. Besides using “ammunition” against a potential employer is probably not the best way to get a job. Instead, use these tips as a means of evaluating your job search if you are a job seeker or as a means of evaluating your process if you are an employer.

Know when to say when

I’ll be straightforward with this one because the fact of the matter is that failing to practice proper process in this instance can lead to a heavily-wrought case of discrimination. Employers, you MUST have a clear conditional offer of employment on the table before collecting I-9 eligibility documents from a potential employee. You cannot EVER collect these documents at the beginning of a job fair, before an interview (or for that matter after an interview), or anytime during the sourcing and recruiting process if you have not offered the job seeker a job and the offer has been accepted.

Let me clarify by saying that the offer can and should be contingent on any further screening processes previously discussed with the job seeker. A prime example would be a pre-employment background check or drug screen. These would be conditions of employment that make the job offer “conditional.” Therefore, pending the clearance of these and similar issues, you can proceed forward after the job offer and acceptance with completing the I-9 form and thus requesting eligibility documents. However, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, please notice I did not write “Driver’s License and Social Security Card.” Instead, I made a conscious effort to write eligibility documents because a license and Social Security card are not the only means of demonstrating work eligibility in the United States.

Requesting specific documents, such as a driver’s license to use as the demonstrated eligibility documents for the I-9 form is litigious because it is discriminatory in nature. I have unfortunately heard of employers turning individuals away from a job fair because they could not produce a Social Security Card on the spot. First, again, the act of requesting a specific document for employment verification is ILLEGAL. Second, the act of using this document as a screening tool for admission into a job fair is again ILLEGAL for its discriminatory nature. THIRD, eligibility documents do not even need to be obtained at the point of hire. Employers have up to three days from the start date of the new hire to obtain and file the documentation. There are many documents and combinations of documents that satisfy the I-9 requirement. I encourage you as an employer to visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website on the I-9 form at to learn more about this hot topic.

Danny Zendejas is the Hospitality Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in the hospitality industry and workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.

Author: Blogforce

Workforce Solutions provides comprehensive human resource services for businesses and residents of the 13-county Houston-Galveston Gulf Coast region. Workforce Solutions helps employers solve workforce-related business problems and area residents build careers, so that both can better compete in the changing worldwide economy. Our Employer Service Division provides personalized service to help employers find qualified applicants for their jobs, build the skills and expertise of their new and current employees, and address human resource needs. We operate multiple community-based career offices in 13 Texas Gulf Coast counties to help residents get a job, keep a job or get a better job – offering placement, career counseling and financial aid services. We partner with the region’s businesses, educational institutions, civic organizations and community leaders to find solutions to current and future labor needs of industries that are vital to the region and its economy.

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