Are You Asking Illegal Interview Questions?

Executive hiring process

Are you hiring? Simple — and relatively innocent — interviewing mistakes can land businesses in a considerable amount of trouble. From questions that indirectly force candidates to provide privileged information to inquiries that suggest bias, interviewers need to tread extremely carefully. Here are some of the most common faux pas:

Questions About Partners, Spouses, and Kids

Many interviewers do not realize that questions about marital status, living situations accommodations, and children are all outdated. Whether you enlist an entire human resources department, professional recruiting services, or specialized recruiting firms (such as legal placement specialists) for interviews, make certain to carefully and thoroughly train them based on current laws.

It is illegal to ask about an interviewee’s marital status. Moreover, “It is unlawful to deny someone employment if they have children or if they are planning on having children in the future,” Business Insider reminds employers. It is legal to ask prospective employees about their work-life balance and time management skills.

“Are You A U.S. Citizen?”

Another question that small businesses and top executive search firms alike need to avoid is, are you a U.S. citizen? Business Insider puts it plainly, “Any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status and sexual orientation are off-limits.” As such, interviewers should carefully avoid this question — even if they are just asking out of curiosity or making small talk. It is completely in-line for interviewers, including top legal recruiters, to ask whether you are legally able to work in the United States.

Asking What Holidays You Celebrate

Illegal — or shady — questions may not always be apparent. While it is an obvious faux pas to ask a candidate about their religion, it is similarly illegal to ask which holidays they celebrate (or specific dates they will need off). First, interviewees may overly or inadvertently reveal their religious beliefs when they answer this question. Second, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on religion — or refuse to hire a job seeker because they require time off for a particular religious holiday.

Recruiters and legal placement specialists, avoid backlash and publicity nightmares. Make sure all interviewers understand and abide by current employment laws. Suggest questions that do not reveal sensitive information or imply discrimination. Get more info here.

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