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Are You Sure You Should Ask That?

By July 16, 2015November 28th, 2018Employment Law, Hiring

A 2014 Harris Poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 20% of employers have unknowingly asked an illegal interview question. Further, at least a third of employers are unsure about the legality of some interview questions.

“It’s important for both interviewer and interviewee to understand what employers do and don’t have a legal right to ask in a job interview – for both parties’ protection,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “Though their intentions may be harmless, hiring managers could unknowingly be putting themselves at risk for legal action, as a job candidate could argue that certain questions were used to discriminate against him or her.”

Do you know which questions are off-limits to ask? One in three hiring managers didn’t know that the following inquiries are illegal:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • What is your political affiliation?
  • What is your race, color or ethnicity?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you disabled?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children or plan to?
  • Are you in debt?
  • Do you social drink or smoke?
  • When do you plan to retire?
  • Where do you live?
  • Are you a U.S. citizen?

You can still get the answer you’re looking for by posing the question in a different way. Instead of asking, “Are you married?” or “Do you have children?” you could simply say “Tell me about yourself.” Asking a candidate where they live could be perceived as a potential way to discriminate based on location, but asking if they are willing to relocate or if they will be able to be at work at 8 am is fine. And, while it’s legal to ask if a candidate is eligible for employment in the U.S., you may not ask about citizenship or national origin.

Do you have questions about interview questions? Call us at 678-208-2802.

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