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Don’t Get in Hot Water during an Interview

Editorial Team February 13, 2018 0
Don’t Get in Hot Water during an Interview

Most hiring employers and Human Resources personnel are trained to know how to interview new hires. Due to massive changes in resume submittals by job applicants, online resumes often do not answer important questions pertinent to jobs offered.

A comprehensive format of interviewing should follow legal guidelines and answer important questions.

There are questions that can't be asked in interviews. The liability in not knowing these questions can be costly when job applicants are more aware of their interviewing rights than the hiring company Click To Tweet
There are questions that can’t be asked in interviews. The liability in not knowing these questions can be costly when job applicants are more aware of their interviewing rights than the hiring company.

Knowledge of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act can be a guideline to avoiding certain illegal interview questions. Note that guidelines to avoid illegal questions are mainly centered on bias, prejudice or discrimination. These issues are clues to avoiding related interview questions that may be construed by job applicants as leading in an illegal direction.

Some of the questions that are illegal to ask in an interview include:

  • Religious beliefs
  • Gender related issues like potential pregnancy or childcare provisions
  • Nationality
  • Military status
  • Past history of treatment for mental problems
  • Prescription drugs

In an employment discrimination lawsuit, for example, questions that can get an interviewer in hot water also include age and family and marital status. Other questions to avoid are:

  • “What does your spouse or partner do for a living?”
  • “What is your medical status?”

Avoid asking about retirement plans, citizenship status or the age of the job applicant’s children.

Many of the questions asked in an interview that may affect the ability of the future job applicant to perform job duties can be found through past employer referrals.

Human Resources staff should receive adequate training about questions they are allowed to ask a job applicant’s past employers. Generally, the hiring company will want to know the hiring dates and reason(s) for departure. When asking for reasons for departure, the former employer may say, “laid off, quit, resigned or terminated.”

The hiring company or Human Resources should check with more than one former employer to determine if the reason given by the job applicant agrees. Be mindful of the fact that past employers are also held liable if the job applicant is denied future employment due to a past employer’s untruthful comments about departure or job performance.

Don’t Get in Hot Water During an Interview – Get Training

There are several ways to avoid getting into hot water during an interview, Workforce Safety Training offers a wealth of information to fine tune interview questions. Other helpful features are Workforce Subscription and implementing a company-wide Workforce Safety Program. Training is available at 360training.com.

Safety program materials can be introduced at the conclusion of the initial interview. If the job applicant is contacted for a final interview, this is a good time to ask questions about the safety materials previously provided.

It’s also a good idea to provide safety programs during the probationary period of hiring. Much can be disclosed about job applicants and new hires by their attention and participation in these programs.


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