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Thread: 10 illegal interview questions

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    Default 10 illegal interview questions



    Steer clear of these 10 illegal
    Version 1.0
    September 17, 2007 job interview questions
    By Suzanne Thornberry
    Although HR departments should be aware of questions that are illegal to ask prospective employees, some
    hiring managers arenít so savvy. Many illegal questions are easy for just about anyone with elementary social
    graces to avoid, but others might surprise you. In general, you should not ask interviewees about their age, race,
    national origin, marital or parental status, or disabilities.
    Note that this list offers only some very broad guidelines and is not exhaustive. Check with your companyís HR
    department to see if your state or locality, or even your company, has additional restrictions on what you may ask.
    Where were you born?
    This question might seem like small talk as you get to know a person, but it could also be used to gather
    information illegally about the candidateís national origin. Although it may seem more relevant, you should also
    avoid asking, ďAre you a U.S. citizen?Ē You can ask whether a candidate is authorized to work in the United
    States, but avoid asking about citizenship.
    What is your native language?
    Again, the problem is that this question could be used to determine national origin. You can ask whether the
    person knows a language if it is required for the job. For example, if job responsibilities include supporting
    Spanish-speaking customers, itís fair to ask whether the candidate speaks Spanish.
    Are you married?
    Hereís another question that would seem innocent in most settings, but definitely not in a job interview. Because
    you canít discriminate on the basis of marital status, this question is off limits.
    Do you have children?
    This might sound like small talk, too -- an innocent question in most settings -- but not in a job interview. Itís
    covered by a general prohibition about discrimination over parental status.
    Do you plan to get pregnant?
    In the past, employers sometimes asked this question to weed out women who might take a maternity leave. It
    has always been rude coming from a casual acquaintance, and now itís illegal as well.
    How old are you?
    Some companies used to avoid hiring older workers for a variety of reasons, ranging from a fear of higher
    healthcare costs and absences to a social bias in favor of youth. But age discrimination is clearly illegal, and you
    should avoid this question. Donít try to get the information by asking when the person graduated from college,
    either.
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    Do you observe Yom Kippur?
    You canít discriminate on the basis of religion, so this question is illegal, as would be asking about Good Friday,
    Ramadan, or the Solstice. If youíre concerned about the candidateís availability, you could ask whether he or she
    can work on holidays and weekends, but not about the observance of particular religious holidays.
    Do you have a disability or chronic illness?
    This information is not supposed to be used as a factor in hiring, so the questions are illegal. If the job will require
    some specific physical tasks, such as installing cables in walls and ceilings, you may ask whether the person
    could perform those tasks with reasonable accommodation.
    Are you in the National Guard?
    Although some managers may find it disruptive when employees leave for duty, itís illegal to discriminate against
    someone because he or she belongs to the National Guard or a reserve unit.
    Do you smoke or use alcohol?
    In general, you canít discriminate on the basis of the use of a legal product when the employee is not on the
    premises and not on the job.
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    Tip: To avoid asking the wrong questions, develop an interview form and use a copy of it for each candidate. It
    will document that you asked each interviewee the same questions. Failing to do so may establish a pattern that
    could seem discriminatory. For example, if you ask only women about their willingness to travel, thinking that the
    responsibilities of childcare would make them balk at business trips, you could establish a pattern of
    discrimination.

    Page 2
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    ē 13 useless interview questions... and what you should ask instead
    ē 13 interview questions that will help reveal a candidate's true qualities
    ē Use this checklist to thoroughly verify job skills and resume claims
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    Published: September 17, 2007
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    When you are posting images Skele could you change the kind of link you are using so that if someone clicks on it they are directed to the site or it enlarges.
    Last edited by Anubis; Aug 19, 2009 at 09:52 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anubis View Post
    When you are posting images Skele could you change the kind of link you are using so that if someone clicks on it they are directed to the site or it enlargens.
    The image is a capture of a PDF document I did and uploaded to Photobucket. Original source of the PDF can only be viewed by subscription. You'll have to save the picture to view it properly. Maybe something can be done about the zooming, but I'm not sure. That's why I also copied the text, although it's a bit messy.
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    Illegal in the United States. Our laws are a bit different.

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    Illegal in JAmaica also?
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    Quote Originally Posted by digimon View Post
    Illegal in JAmaica also?
    That's what I would like to know as well. I know that some of these are asked innocently or otherwise in Jamaica ... including the one not listed about working on Saturdays or Sundays.
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    I worked in HR for in excess of 12 years. Actually many of the questions said to be illegal in the article are actually mandatory for us. Companies are required to maintain reasonably accurate databases on their employees. Companies ae also held responsible for hiring illegal aliens since we have work permit laws. #2,5,7 & 10 probably wouldn't be asked here. Nature of the job would determine if the Saturday and Sunday work was an issue. Most prospective employees would be required to do a medical anyway but most companies will not do an AIDS test.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSunny View Post
    I worked in HR for in excess of 12 years. Actually many of the questions said to be illegal in the article are actually mandatory for us. Companies are required to maintain reasonably accurate databases on their employees. ...
    keyword EMPLOYEES. Once an applicant is selected then sure, ask all the personal questions and more. Not when they're at the CANDIDATE stage though since it could be misconstrued.
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    3 4 5 6 and 8 i can see being asked, but its highly unlikely and situational.

    Q3 and 4: if the job is high demand and taxing on the potential employee, but i guess they person applying should know what they getting into so its up to them.

    Q5: this one I highly doubt would be asked but I can see it. In countries like Canada where a single parent can take up to 1 year parental leave per child, this can get abused, as a matter of fact ive seen it get abused, people go on mat leave and come back pregnant again. One of the reason they can get away with it is because its the government that pays for it not the work place.

    Q6: well come on, some time this question has to be asked, some jobs i can see where having a 21 year old manage a mans multi-million dollar account can have him questioning the company. However, that question does not really depict the persons skill or knowledge.

    Q8: This one I can again see as a possible question in certain instances, If someone going to be working on a oil rig and have a heart condition that's a insurance nightmare right there.

    Bottom line is these questions are not illegal in every company/country, just ensure that if you do get asked you don't reply by saying "that's illegal you shouldn't ask me that"
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