5 Interview
Questions you Should Never Ask

When
recruiting new employees The Civil Rights Act prohibits companies from
discriminating against a candidate’s race, color, religion, national origin,
and sex. There are certain interview questions interviewers want to steer clear
of because they are simply illegal. Certain questions can still elicit
responses that disclose information about a candidate even if they are a part
of protected class. Below are some helpful alternatives to guide you in your
interviewing process.

“What are your hobbies?”

When interviewing
potential new employees you want to know if they will work well within the company’s
environment. With that being said, when discussing hobbies and extracurricular activities,
avoid asking questions that allow for an open ended response. Their responses
could unintentionally elicit an answer disclosing information about the
interviewee that could trigger and illegal bias towards them. Even discussing
political affiliation has been problematic in pervious jurisdictions because
it’s considered protected.

Alternative: There are other options to get to
know your prospecting employee. If the candidate seems like a good fit on
paper, take them out to lunch with other employees to see if they fit well
within your company’s culture. This tactic it more natural and keeps you away
from basic interview questions when you’re trying to go to know the candidate.

“How long would your commute be?”

By
disclosing place of residency, the interviewer could make presumptions about
the candidate’s race or ethnicity.  If
you believe place of residency is relevant to the job requirements look and see
if the candidate has provided you with that information on their resume,
otherwise, do not make any inquiries about commute time.  Resume Whitening has become popular, minorities
are removing information that might be linked to disclosing their race and
nationality based off location.

Alternative: Instead of directly ask how long a
candidates commute time is, trying asking if they can arrive at this specific
start time. This option reduces the risk of race and ethnicity assumptions.

“I went to the same school! What year
were you?”

While
reminiscing on your glory days might be exhilarating, stay away from class year
because it can be used to speculate age. Looking at popular trends in
recruiting, age is never a requirement on resumes. Avoid questions that could
also be related to age, such as, “How long have you been working?”

Alternative: Certain jurisdiction allow for a
candidates age to be required. If someone wants to be a bartender, they must be
of the legal drinking age. There are special cases, but overall it’s best to
avoid any questions that could incite the discussion of age.

“What
are you earning in your current role?”

Asking this
question isn’t necessarily off limits everywhere in the country. However, the
fastest growing trend in HR compliance is salary history bans, the numbers are
increasing through states and cities limiting how pervious salaries are
affecting a company’s hiring decision. If companies allow for these numbers to
influence their decision they are potentially supporting gender pay gaps. If we
look back at 2017, women earned 80 cents for every dollar a man earned.

Alternative:
There are multiple alternatives to asking about pay, so your candidate
doesn’t have to disclose their pervious salary. Asking for a pay range up front
is a smarter way to go about it. Even asking about what the candidate is
expected to be paid helps to avoid the topic.

“We’re a family friendly company.
Have any kids?”

Small talk
allows for risky conversations to occur. One piece of advice, no matter how
adorable children may be, never bring them up. It’s twice as important not to
ask if you have any suspicions that the candidate is expecting. If the
candidate doesn’t get offered the position, they could’ve interpreted the
family related questions as sex discrimination. This could also go against the
Pregnancy Discrimination Act if the candidates’ pregnancy is known.

Alternative: If you are worried that the
candidate cannot juggle family and work responsibilities, try to rephrase the
question.  An appropriate alternative
would be to ask whether the candidate can regularly work overtime or travel,
whichever you deem more suitable for the open position.

At Converge HR Solutions, we specialize
in handling all Human Resource needs, including progressive discipline policies
and corrective action. We can assist your company in understanding how to
properly administer these policies.. To learn more about what Converge has to
offer, visit our website at www.convergehrsolutions.com. You can also email us directly at info@convergehrsolutions.com or give us a call at 610-296-8550

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