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Joni Prose
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7 Questions Not To Ask During A Job Interview


Questions that you might ask in everyday conversation have no place in job interviews. Asking any of these seven questions puts you at risk of being charged with discriminating:

What kind of last name is that?

Stay away from questions about a candidate’s heritage, race or citizenship. You can’t even ask a candidate if she’s a U.S. citizen. Instead ask if she’s eligible to work in the U.S. and whether she speaks multiple languages.

How tall are you?

Don’t inquire about a prospective employee’s height or weight unless it’s directly relevant to the job. Don’t ask a candidate if he has any limitations or disabilities unless they directly relate to the role. Use the job description as a guide by reading the specific job requirements and asking the candidate if he is capable of performing the requirements.

When did you graduate from college?

Unless a job has an age requirements, don’t ask a candidate how old she is. Asking what year she graduated from college makes it seem like you’re trying to determine her age. If you have a normal retirement age for the company, you can ask a prospective employee if she is younger than the normal retirement age

Can you work on Christmas?

If you’re trying to create flexible schedules for candidates who might have to work on religious holidays in December, don’t do it during the interview. Avoid any talk about religion. You can’t ask a prospective employee about his religious affiliation, whether he observes specific religious holidays, what church he goes to or what his core beliefs are.

Did you see combat when you were in Iraq?

If you’re interviewing a former soldier in the military, limit your questions to the military branch in which he served, the rank he achieved and how the education and experience he acquired in the military have prepared him for the role you’re discussing.

Don’t inquire about medals or ask any other questions related to his military records. Don’t ask if he served in combat overseas or what kind of discharge he received from the military.

What does your spouse do?

You probably wouldn’t ask this one in an interview, but might you ask it during a casual lunch? A candidate’s personal life is off-limits. Don’t ask she’s married, if she has children or plans on having more children. Instead confirm ask what you really need to know: Can he work the hours you need him there or is she available to travel?

How’s your credit?

Unless someone is applying for a job that requires him to handle money or a management position that has the authority to spend the company’s money, don’t ask an employee about his credit or his current financial situation. Many states prohibit or restrict the use of credit reports to make employment decisions.

You can ask an employee if he’s ever been convicted of theft or another crime, but you can’t ask if he’s ever been arrested for theft or another crime.

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Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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