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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

What interview questions do you need to avoid when hiring?

Some larger companies might use recruiters to fill job positions. Others have individuals within the company handle the hiring. Any company that uses its own employees to interview potential employees should ensure that those individuals know what they can and can’t discuss while they’re talking to a job candidate.

In some cases, seemingly innocent questions or conversations could be construed as discriminatory, especially during the hiring process. It might help some companies to have a preset list of questions that interviewers can draw from when they’re talking with someone. 

It’s also wise to remember these three rules:

1. Never ask about a person’s immediate family

Asking a candidate if they’re married or have children could open the business up to legal issues. One question you shouldn’t ever ask under any circumstance is whether a person is pregnant or plans to become pregnant because these can lead to claims of gender, pregnancy, or disability discrimination. 

2. Don’t ask about a person’s accent or citizenship

Even if a person has a neat accent, you shouldn’t ask them about it in an interview. You even have to be careful when asking candidates about the languages they speak (unless it’s somehow relevant to the job). For example, don’t ask what language a job candidate speaks at home since that could lead to national origin discrimination. 

Instead of asking a person if they’re a citizen of the United States, you can ask them if they’re legally able to work in this country — which is the extent of your concern.

3. Avoid questions about disabilities

You can face serious issues if you ask a job candidate about their disability — obvious or not. Instead, you should ask if the person can do the job at hand. A person with a disability can discuss the accommodations they’ll need if you opt to make a job offer. 

Employers who are interviewing candidates should speak carefully. If they’re accused of discrimination during the interview process, the company should learn the options for addressing the accusations. This can help them to determine how to protect the company.

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