Avoiding Illegal Interview Questions

July 7, 2010  |  

You might be on the market for a new job, or a better job than the one you already have. Or, perhaps you might be hiring new talent for a role. Here’s how not to get into legal hot water for asking the wrong questions! It is illegal not to hire candidates because of their race, color, sex, religion, national origin, birthplace, age, disability or marital/family status. Try not to ask or answer questions that would elicit this kind of information about candidates.

AVOID:

Questions related to birthplace, ancestry or national origin:

 “How long has your family been in the U.S. or where is your name from?”

ASK:

Are you legally able to work in the U.S.?

AVOID:

Questions related to parenting, marital status or children:

“Do you have kids? Are you married?”

ASK:

Are you able to work from 9am to 6pm?

AVOID:

Questions related to health & disability:

“Do you take xyz medications? Is there a problem with your hand?”

ASK:

Can you perform the essential functions of the job?

AVOID:

Questions related to religion/religious affiliation:

“Are you Christian or Muslim?”

ASK:

Can you work on weekends, if needed?

For more illegal interview questions and how to avoid them, visit the U.S. Department of Labor.

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