Have you recently begun interviewing candidates at your company? As an interviewer, it’s your responsibility to learn what interview questions are lawful to ensure your company is abiding by the law. In many cases, you may be unsure of what types of questions are appropriate and which ones aren’t. If you’re new to the interviewing process, here are three illegal questions you should never ask candidates:
Are you married?
While it may be tempting to ask candidates about their personal lives, you should avoid inquiring about a candidate’s marital status at all costs. Asking questions related to a candidate’s romantic relationships, family life, or maiden name are all related to this question and should also be avoided. If you’re concerned a candidate may not be as committed to their job because they’re married, it’s time to re-evaluate how you assess candidates and their qualifications. Whether a candidate is single, married, divorced, or a widower, their marital state should not be a concern regarding their ability to perform the job itself.
Do you have children?
Also related to the marriage question is the question related to children. Though this question can often be perceived as an icebreaker, it’s unlawful to ask whether a candidate has children or is planning to have children. Again, if your goal is to assess how a committed a candidate may be, stick to questions regarding their work ethic, skills, and qualifications. For instance, you may ask, “How many hours can you work?” or “Do you have responsibilities that would interfere with you meeting other job requirements, such as traveling or working weekend hours.”
What is your age?
Though a candidate’s age may be related to their level of experience or expertise to a certain extent, asking any question about age or how long they’ve been working is illegal. If you’re trying to gauge a candidate’s experience, there are alternative questions you can ask, such as “How have your prior jobs prepared you for this position?” or “What skills have you acquired that make you qualified to fulfill this role?” When learning about a candidate’s experience, keep in mind that age in many ways does necessarily determine their level of qualification and that there are many other ways to learn about a candidate’s performance potential.
These are just some of the questions to never ask candidates during an interview. Being proactive about educating yourself of best-interviewing practices will ensure your company is following all lawful protocols and procedures.
Looking for new candidates? Get in touch with The Liberty Group, an executive search and staffing firm serving 24 cities and their surrounding markets nationwide.