Interviewing is a complicated dance that often requires interment knowledge of communications skills and the law. It may be surprising to learn that there is still a significant number of interviewers that ask questions made illegal by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. Some employers suggest they simply weren’t sure whether or not the question was appropriate, yet they did not stop using that question. Before your next interview, it may be a good idea to review your process and ensure that you are complying with the federal law to avoid illegal questions. Here are some things to consider.
Questions About Age
It is illegal to discriminate against anyone over the age of 40 in most cases. So companies who want to focus on hiring young professionals find new ways to skirt the system. For example, are you only looking for “new graduates?” This can be a dangerous phrase. Are you asking someone when they graduated from school? That can be code for trying to determine their age. It is best to avoid dates other than relevant employment during the interview.
Questions About Race
Similarly, questions about someone’s race can be equally as disconcerting. You can’t ask someone what country they are from or whether or not they consider themselves Hispanic. Their ethnic origin, even if you are genuinely curious about the origin of their name, has no bearing on their appropriateness for the position. Save personal question of this nature for non-hiring scenarios.
Questions About Religion
There are very few instances where a company will have a bonafide reason to ask an applicant about their religious background. What you can do is advise about the hours that are expected on the job and, if due to their religious practices, they are unable to comply then they will disqualify themselves for the job. The specific reasons why are not a concern.
Questions About Family
Finally, you also can’t ask a person about their status concerning marriage or parenthood. Similar to religion, you can advise about hours, but there must be no requirement based on their status. You can’t ask a woman if they prefer Miss or Mrs. You also can’t ask a potential employee if they plan on having children in the future. None of these are legal or necessary inquiries.
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