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10 Interview Questions You Should Never Ask

Posted by Monaghan, Christian at Wednesday, 11/21/2012 2:58 pm
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Read the full post on the SharedHR blog.

Preparing for an interview can be a stressful task for the manager as well as the candidate. While there are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to conducting an interview, there are some very specific things an interviewer should NEVER ask a potential candidate. Doing so could land you and your company into hot water. With a little preparation, you can save yourself from future liability.

1. Are you a U.S. Citizen?
You cannot ask candidates about their national origin or ancestry. This topic has nothing to do with the job the candidate is applying for or ability to perform the job functions. On the other hand, you can ask the candidate if he or she is authorized to work in the U.S.

2. Do you have any disabilities?
While a physical or mental disability could affect an employee’s ability to perform the duties of the position, you cannot directly ask them whether they are disabled. Federal and state agencies view this question as discriminatory prior to a job offer. A better choice would be to ask if the candidate can perform the requirements of the position without limitation. It is considered a best practice to provide the candidate a copy of a well-written job description so the essential functions of the position are identified.

3. If you get pregnant, do you plan to continue working?
While the goal of your interview is to determine whether the candidate is qualified for the position and whether or not she will be a strong contributor. Inquiries regarding personal matters are universally viewed as discriminatory as no hire decision should be made on information related to a protected activity. A better question to ask would be “What are your long-term career goals?”

4. Do you have children?
You can ask the candidate if he or she is able to work overtime or if he or she is available for travel for business purposes. You cannot make the assumption that because the candidate has children it would affect his or her ability to perform the requirements of the job.

5. How old are you?
Most interviewers know that age discrimination is illegal. You can ask if the candidate is over 18, and therefore legally allowed to work without restriction, but you cannot ask questions intended to identify age such as the year the person graduated high school.

Read the full post on the SharedHR blog.

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