What Not to Ask : Interviewing Potential Employees

Dear M & M: I am thinking about hiring a new employee. What are some questions I cannot ask potential employees during the interview?


Dear Dan: Federal and State labor laws are in place to prohibit employers from asking questions that are not related to the job. All questioning during the interview or on the job application should be job related and should not be designed to find out personal information about a perspective employee. To not hire a potential candidate for the job based on any of the following areas would be discriminatory. Do not ask any questions about race, color, sex, religion, national origin, birthplace, age, disability, marital status or family. To avoid asking questions that could be discriminatory create a template of the questions you will ask. Ask each candidate the same questions to keep the playing field level among all the candidates interviewed. No one should be given special treatment everyone should have the same opportunity. You will be better informed about each candidate skill sets if everyone answers the same question as it will allow you to make comparisons between each candidates answers if they are answering the same question. Remember employer interview questions should be relevant to the skill sets an employer is looking for in a potential candidate. The questions should reveal important information to enable an employer to make an informed decision to make the hiring process easier. Ask questions that will bring out the thinking and decision making abilities of the candidates as well as the general knowledge and other characteristics or traits that the individual possesses to enable them to perform the job. General rule of thumb never ask personal questions of a potential candidate during an interview. Stay away from questions like; what is your religious affiliation, what is your political affiliation, how old are you, do you have children or plan to, are you in debt?


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