In 2018, hiring employees is competitive and complicated. The rules and regulations for what you can and can’t ask in an interview change often and it can be hard to keep up. Questions about personal topics like marital status, race and health have been off limits for decades, but new bans are adding even more things to the list of topics you shouldn’t cover during the application process.
In the past year, some states have taken measures to prevent employers from asking candidates about their criminal past, at least during the application phase, in an effort to prevent an adverse impact on individuals in protected classes. Other cities and states are considering a ban on inquiries regarding salary history for applicants. Proponents have stated that asking job applicants about their current salary allows the gender gap in pay to remain.
When you or your team conducts an interview, keep personal topics off limits. Even the simplest questions like inquiring about how old a person is, or whether they’re married, could lead to discrimination accusations. Here are five interview questions not to ask.
1. Are you a U.S. Citizen?
Employers may not use citizenship and immigration status against a potential employee during the hiring process according to The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Employers must wait until after offering the job to require a worker to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Form and submit documentation that proves identity and employment authorization. It is legal to ask a potential employee whether he or she is authorized to work in the U.S.
2. How old are you?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), protects individuals who are 40 or older from being discriminated against in the workplace in favor of younger employees. There is no federal protection in place to protect workers younger than 40 from age discrimination. It is legal to ask candidates whether they’re over the age of 18.
3. Are you married or do you have children?
Employers might be tempted to ask this question to find out whether a candidate’s relationship or family situation could have a negative impact on his or her work. Even asking a question as seemingly innocent as how to address someone (Mrs., Miss, or Ms.) could get you into trouble.
Under federal law, it’s not illegal per se to inquire about an applicant’s marital status. However, federal law does prohibit covered employers from basing hiring decisions on gender alone. Accordingly, employers may not refuse to hire married women or women with children if it hires married men or men with children. Many states have broader discrimination laws making that type of question flatly illegal. It is legal to ask whether the person has any travel restrictions or anything that would keep him or her from working a normal schedule for the position.
4. Do you have any disabilities?
This question might seem necessary to determine if a job applicant can perform the required duties, but it is illegal to ask under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Employers cannot discount anyone from a job because of a physical or mental disability. In fact, the law requires that you accommodate disabilities unless you can prove it would cause significant difficulty or expense to do so. Employers also cannot ask about past illnesses or operations. It is legal to ask the candidate whether he or she is able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.
5. Do you have a vehicle? How will you get to work?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considers car ownership "financial information" and notes that an employer may not have a financial requirement if it does not help the employer accurately identify responsible and reliable employees, and if, at the same time, the requirement significantly disadvantages people of a particular race, color, national origin, religion or sex. In addition, implying that there is a requirement to own a car may also adversely affect candidates with disabilities who may be unable to drive due to their impairment.
Here are topics to avoid during an interview:
- Marital Status
- Transportation Questions
You also want to avoid yes or no questions, obvious questions, leading questions, questions that aren’t directly related to the job and using social media to profile candidates during the application process.
Do ask potential employees about skills, personal motivations, his or her ability to work on a team, communication skills, decision-making skills, organization and integrity.
At FrankCrum Staffing, we make hiring easy with a thorough recruitment process that supports you from beginning to end. FrankCrum Staffing specialists advise you on the type of position you really need, the qualifications you should require and the salary range that will get you the best person within your budget. Then we’ll find the best candidates, assess their skills, screen them to offer you the best choices and even help you brush up on your interviewing skills