Interview Questions You Should NEVER Ask
There's no better way to gauge whether an potential applicant will be a good fit for your organization than to conduct a hiring interview. When conducted well, interviews allow employers to get to know candidates in a more candid and engaging manner by asking questions and probing into their work history.
Poorly conducted interviews, however, can cause a whole host of problems for employers. A poorly conducted interview could cause a great candidate to choose not to move forward with your company's hiring process, allow an unqualified candidate to move forward in the process and, most alarming of all, even leave your organization open to potential claims of discrimination, negligent hiring or noncompliance with one of the many labor and employment laws.
To help you avoid falling into one of these potential legal pitfalls, we've compiled a brief list of questions interviewers should never ask:
- How old are you?
- What is your nationality/race/religion?
- Are you a U.S. citizen?
- Are you married/single/dating?
- Do you own your own home?
- Do you have children, or (for women) are you pregnant?
- What is your sexual preference?
- What are your political affiliations?
- Do you have a disability?
- What is your weight?
- Have you ever filed a workers’ compensation claim?
- Have you ever undergone a psychiatric evaluation?
- Have your wages ever been garnished or have you ever declared bankruptcy?
- Have you ever been a member of a union?
- Do you belong to any clubs, societies or lodges?
Altogether in a list like that, it's easy to see why those questions could be discriminatory. And if a candidate believes he or she was not hired as a result of a presumed “wrong” response to one of these questions, they could lead to costly lawsuits. Hiring managers, recruiters and anyone else who might be conducting a hiring interview in your organization should be trained to avoid asking these or related questions.
So what questions SHOULD interviewers ask?
Interviewers should instead ask candidates questions that will help them assess a candidate's ability to perform the job, their willingness to do the work and their manageability as an employee. Below are some examples of questions that interviewers should ask instead.
- What kind of experience do you have?
- Of all your work experience, where have you been most successful?
- What are the primary responsibilities of your current job?
- What aspects of your current job do you consider most crucial?
- Describe how your job relates to the overall goals of your department and company.
- What would you change about your current job, or what aspects do you like least? What do you like best?
- What are you looking for in your next job?
Interviewers should also ask candidates if they have any questions about the position or company. Doing so not only gives candidates an opportunity to learn more about your company and the duties of the position, but the questions they choose to ask (or not ask) can also reveal the candidates’ priorities and how they think.
Want to learn more about other potential legal pitfalls you might encounter during the hiring process?
Check out the recap of one of our latest webinars: "Legal Pitfalls To Avoid During The Hiring Process," presented by one of G&A Partners' experienced HR advisors. Click here to watch the recorded webinar.