Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in HR Dive, in “When Do You Need to Pay a Candidate for an Interview?” by Pamela DeLoatch.

Following is an excerpt:

HR professionals know an interview can only reveal so much about an applicant. You can discuss a candidate’s experience, but it can be difficult to assess the quality of an individual’s work based on his or her resume or perspective.

Consider the hiring process for a chef: If you’re a restaurant manager hiring someone to lead your kitchen, it makes sense that you may want to see them in action and sample their work. That’s why “working interviews” are common in so many industries, from food service to dentistry.

But such tests can spell trouble for an employer’s wage and hour compliance efforts. There’s no harm in asking applicants to prove they have certain skills, according to Paul DeCamp, partner at Epstein Becker Green. “The issue arises when the performance of that test delivers an economic benefit to the employer,” he told HR Dive. …

While job applicants aren’t usually considered “trainees,” it may be helpful to look them that way when it comes to interviews. …

The U.S. Department of Labor has provided guidelines on what separates unpaid trainees (for many businesses, interns) from employees, emphasizing that training is generic, benefits the trainee and may or may not result in a job offer. And perhaps most importantly, the training doesn’t give the employer an immediate advantage. …

For employers that want to steer clear of interview wage and hour concerns, the primary question is whether the act of the interview is in any way generating revenue for the company, DeCamp said. "If that is occurring, we need to take a look at these issues and figure out if there is a concern here and if this has become work," he continued. "If so, figure out if there is a way to counteract or negate any economic benefit to the employer from the effort of the interviewee from the interview."

Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.