Employers May Make Hiring Decisions Based on Applicant Interviews


A federal appellate court reiterated the should-be-obvious points that employers may make hiring decisions based on how applicants perform in interviews and that an applicant’s assessment of their own qualifications is not determinative under federal antidiscrimination laws.

In Pribyl v. County of Wright, the employee challenged her non-selection for promotion as discriminatory based on her sex, arguing that she was the most qualified for the position. The employer, however, asserted that all the members of the interview panel agreed that she interviewed poorly compared to the other candidates. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit stated that, even assuming the employee was the most objectively qualified, the employer “is still entitled to compare candidates’ interview performances when making its decision.” Moreover, the Eighth Circuit dismissed as “irrelevant” the employee’s own perception of her interview performance, stating that, “it is the employer’s perception that is relevant, not the applicants’ subjective evaluation of their own relative performance.”