Interviewing: How to Insure Fair Treatment for All Applicants

Category: Articles
Posted: 12-05-2010 03:57 AM
Views: 937
Synopsis:

Discrimination in hiring is prohibited by federal and most state laws and should be avoided at all costs. Individuals who have been discriminated against can seek redress in civil court and it can cost your company dearly in both reputation and dollars. Discrimination is prohibited against the following protected classes or groups: race, national origin, age (40 and over), sex, disability, military service, religion and color. The questions asked during an interview are the most important part of avoiding employment law discrimination. The best way to avoid any mistakes is to ask the same exact questions to every candidate who comes to your business for a job interview.

Discrimination in hiring is prohibited by federal and most state laws and should be avoided at all costs. Individuals who have been discriminated against can seek redress in civil court and it can cost your company dearly in both reputation and dollars. Discrimination is prohibited against the following protected classes or groups: race, national origin, age (40 and over), sex, disability, military service, religion and color. The questions asked during an interview are the most important part of avoiding employment law discrimination. The best way to avoid any mistakes is to ask the same exact questions to every candidate who comes to your business for a job interview.

If you start to find that some of your questions aren't appropriate for some candidates, then it's a dead giveaway that they are legally dangerous questions. When you formulate a question, ask yourself if you will be able to ask it of every applicant. If you can't, then don't ask it. It's better to be safe than sorry. Also, make sure that every question you ask is job-relevant. Examine every question and if there doesn't seem to be job relevance then strike it. Questions that don't get you hiring information are a waste of time anyway.


It's easy to ask questions out of habit or to fill silence. This is ok in social situations, but in a job interview it can be disastrous. Most legally inappropriate questions are inadvertently asked during these periods. A question an interviewer views as innocuous or a throw-away question could be the question that gets them in legal hot water. You may think it's just idle conversation to ask a female candidate if she has trouble finding child care, but to the same woman who doesn't get the job the question may lead her to think that you didn't hire her because she has kids. Also, avoid any questions on marital status, health, age or physique.

Some legitimate job-related questions you could ask are about previous work history, job-related experience, interest in or motivation for the job you are hiring for, short and long term goals, accomplishments, projects worked on or specialized training.

An interview can be a mine-field if you are not careful. However, with preparation you can formulate questions that are based on job-related skills and that are the same for everyone. Not only will your interviews be legally defensible, but they will also be more effective garnering better employees.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of hiring and interviewing training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of behavioral interviewing video and DVD programs such as More Than a Gut Feeling.

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