I wanted to share this post because sometimes when I send a candidate on an interview I find out that the agent asked illegal interview questions. For example, an agent called me the other day after an interview with a candidate and said, “Well, I liked her a lot but she has 3 kids. I think that might be a problem. Did you know that she had kids?” My response was, no, she did not tell me that she had children. I did tell her what the requirements of the job were (40 hrs, Sunday Open Houses and some overtime) and I asked if she had any concerns about her ability to meet those requirements. She felt confident that she could do the job. (It turns out that her husband works from home so childcare and staying home with sick kids will not be an issue – but that’s beside the point.) If this agent had asked, “Do you have kids?” and then did not hire the candidate, there is a possibility that he could have been in very hot water!
Also, even if he didn’t care that she had kids, asking a question like that causes he to lose creditability in the eyes of the candidate. I have had assistants turn down second job interviews and even offers because they didn’t feel comfortable with the kinds of questions an agent asked. With that said, please take some time to get familiar with the questions you cannot ask on an interview.
There are many questions that you are not permitted to ask in an interview or on a job application. Prohibited questions include any question that seeks information about the applicant regarding his or her:
* Foreign languages (unless knowledge of a specific language is required for the position)
* Foreign military service
* Home (ownership or rental)
* Workers’ compensation claims
* Military discharge
* Arrest records
* Nationality or ancestry
* Race or color
* Pregnancy-related issues
* Medical condition
* Height and weight
* Martial status and dependents
* Maiden name
* Financial data
An employer also cannot ask about prohibited subjects by requesting information in the context of an “off-the-record” or “personal” conversation. Requesting prohibited information may result in legal action if the applicant does not receive the job and believes they were discriminated against based on their answers to questions related to the topics listed above.
Fear not – if you’re worried about asking the wrong interview questions, you can hire the pros at R.E.A. Staffing to screen and interview your candidates for you. Once you’re prepared to meet with the top-tier applicants, we’ll provide you with a list of questions and a variety of tried and true prompts to ensure that your business is protected from legal repercussions.