Any growing business from time to time has to interview potential new employees. Whether you do this yourself or have a human resources person on hand, there are still key things you want to know. During the interview, you want to determine whether they person has the skills and experience for the job, is interested in working for your company, and will be a good employee. However, there are certain questions you shouldn’t – or can’t – ask during the interview process. You don’t want to ask questions that imply you’re going to discriminate. There is certain information your potential employee isn’t required to share with you and asking these questions can put them in an awkward position.
- Family Plans: It may seem like talking about children is great small talk, but it could also create tension, especially if there are some details there that the potential employee doesn’t want to disclose. You can’t ask someone whether they plan to get married or start a family and, unless it’s relevant to the job, you can’t ask about their childcare arrangements. It’s better to stay away from questions about marital status, children, childcare, and sexual preferences. You don’t want to come across as someone who discriminates against women with children or unmarried individuals. Again, just confirm they are able to work the required hours and, if necessary, work extra hours or travel on short notice.
- Age: You may be able to make a good guess of their age based on their resume, but beyond confirming that they’re old enough to legally work, the interview is not the time to talk about age. If you’re worried, ask about their experience to get more insight or inquire about long term career plans.
- Citizenship or Ethnicity: As an employer, you main concern is whether they are eligible to work in the US. You may also ask if they are fluent in the language(s) necessary to complete the job. Beyond that, while you can ask demographic questions on your application forms, this is for overall diversity monitoring, not something that should be discussed during the interview.
- Religion: Your main concern here is whether an employee will be available to work certain days. As long as they’re willing to work the schedule you need them to work, religious beliefs shouldn’t be an issue that is discussed during an interview. Instead, just ask if there are any particular dates they can’t work and listen as a surprising number of people ask for their birthday off.
The main exception to these guidelines are when an employee needs to meet certain requirements in order to perform specific tasks as part of their employment. For example, they need to be able to lift a certain amount of weight or appropriately represent a religious organization. However, if the information won’t impact how they perform their jobs, don’t ask.
The lawyers at Virtus Law Firm have many years of experience handling business questions and employment matters. Let one of our team members help you as you start, grow, and plan your business and give you the peace of mind that everything is just as it should be. Call 612.888.1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment today.