Four potential dangers when interviewing are 1) asking improper questions; 2) making discriminatory statements; 3) making binding contract statements; 4) allowing personal biases to cloud your judgment. The following are examples of questions that should be avoided in interviews because they may be alleged to show illegal bias.

Citizenship

  • Are you a U.S. citizen?" (adversely impacts national origin)

Physical/Mental Handicaps

  • "Do you have a visual, speech, or hearing disability?"
  • "Have you ever filed a workers compensation claim?"
  • "How many days of work did you miss last year due to illness?"

Marital/Dependents Status

  • "Are you planning to have a family? When?"
  • "Do you have children? How old are they?"

Organizations

  • "What off-the-job activities do you participate in?"

Sex

  • "Would you have a problem working with a female partner?"

Place of Origin/Birthplace

  • "Where were you born?"
  • "Where did you grow up?"

Age

  • "What year did you graduate from high school?" (reveals age)

Religion

  • "What is your religion?"
  • "What religious holidays do you normally observe?"

Military Service

  • "What type of discharge did you receive from your military service?"

Prior Criminal Record

  • "Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime?" (can only inquire about previous criminal convictions)

Name

  • "Would you like to be called Miss, Mrs., or Ms.?" (denotes marital status)

As you can see, these rather simple and seemingly non-threatening questions can easily violate one of the aforementioned dangers when conducting interviews.

Mike Poskey

Mike Poskey is the President of ZERORISK HR, a Dallas-based human resources risk management firm and exclusive provider of the ZERORISK Hiring System. ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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