Employers must be very sensible and sensitive in regards to what questions we can and cannot be asking in a job interview. Particularly, questions in regards to a candidate’s personal life or religious choices should not be asked at all. Recruiters' aim in a job interview is to get as much information out of the candidate as possible, but also not to make them feel uncomfortable, because at the end of the day, they would want them to wish to work for the company! Here are some guidelines in regards to what questions you shouldn’t ask in a job interview as an employer:
Questions about Age
It is important to note that you cannot make hiring judgments in regards to a person’s age. You must be careful not to discriminate against a person because they are too old or too young. You do not want to make them feel uncomfortable about their age, as it may lead you down a discriminatory path. However, this can be overcome when the person comes in for their interview, as you can gauge their age and maturity. Do not explicitly ask, “How old are you?” You can be safe by asking if the candidate is over the legal age to work.
Questions about Marital and Family Status
In today’s workforce, questions regarding marital status, particularly concerning women who may already have or are planning on having children, should not be asked in a job interview. Once again, this may lead down a discriminatory path that may make the candidate feel they are being judged by their stage in life, whether it be because they are settled with kids or just married and ready for a baby. To stay safe, do not ask if they plan to have children or if they are married.
Questions about Religion
Another sensitive topic that should not be brought up during a job interview is a person’s religion. This should not be an attribute that you can use to judge someone’s job performance, as they may be dedicated to their religion and you may not discriminate against them for it. Please refrain from making the candidate feel uncomfortable or judged because they are a part of any religion. You can, however, ask if they have any hobbies or outside interests.
Questions about Ethnicity
Finally, the last red flag to avoid would be questions regarding a candidate’s race, ethnicity, or origin. Do not offend a candidate by asking where they were born, or where their parents were born, or trying to guess their ethnicity. This may lead down paths of racial discrimination, and that is highly looked down on in the world of HR and general societal etiquette. If you would like to understand if a person is authorized to work in your country, simply ask if they are authorized to work, not if they are a citizen or how long they have lived here.
It is important that interviewers stay away from coming close to grounds for any type of discrimination or any questions that would make the interviewee uncomfortable.
Monique Goodyer works as a marketing specialist at Monaco Compensation Lawyers, one of Australia’s compensation law firms. She’s interested in all things online and the latest trends in social marketing.
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