10 Interview Questions to Avoid — And What to Ask Instead

 In Human Resources

Interviewing plays a critical role in building the right team of clinical and administrative staff, but asking the wrong questions could land an employer in legal hot water over allegations of unfair hiring practices or other problems.

It’s illegal to discriminate against job candidates based on factors such as race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, and religion, making it important to steer clear of questions that go there.

Here are 10 interview questions to avoid — along with sample alternatives that more effectively get to the heart of the matter: an applicant’s ability to meet the bona fide requirements of the position at hand.

 

Illegal Interview Question - Do you have family at home

Don’t ask this interview question: Do you have a family at home?

Instead, ask this interview question: Can you travel and work nights and weekends as needed?

 

Illegal interview question - how far away from the office do you live?

Don’t ask this interview question: How far away from the office do you live?

Instead, ask this interview question: Can you be at work on time every day?

 

Illegal Interview Question - When is your birthday or how old are you?

Don’t ask this interview question: What’s your birthdate, or how old are you?

Instead, ask this interview question: Are you at or above the minimum legal age to work in this position?

 

Illegal Interview Question - Are you retiring soon?

Don’t ask this interview question: Are you planning to retire soon?

Instead, ask this interview question: What are your career goals for the next decade?

 

Illegal Interview Question - What is your religious affiliation?

Don’t ask this interview question: What’s your religious affiliation?

Instead, ask this interview question: Are there specific times of the week or year you’re unavailable to work?

 

Illegal Interview Question - Are you planning on becoming pregnant?

Don’t ask this interview question: Are you pregnant or planning to become pregnant?

Instead, ask this interview question: Where do you see yourself over the next five years?

 

Illegal Interview Question - Do you have any physical disabilities?

Don’t ask this interview question: What, if any, physical or mental disabilities do you have?

Instead, ask this interview question: Can you perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation?

 

Illegal Interview Question - Have you been arrested?Don’t ask this interview question: Have you ever been arrested?

Instead, ask this interview question: Do you have convictions for these types of crimes?

 

Illegal Interview Question - What are your physical fitness levels?

Don’t ask this interview question: What are your weight, height, and physical fitness levels?

Instead, ask this interview question: Can you lift 60 pounds, sit for long periods, and reach items 6 feet high?

 

Illegal Interview Question - What is your race or ethnicity?

Don’t ask this interview question: What race and ethnicity are you?

Instead, ask this interview question: Skip it altogether. There is no appropriate alternative.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

If you’ve ever had an interview-question misstep, you’re not alone. About one in five hiring managers has inadvertently asked a prohibited interview question, per a 2014 CareerBuilder survey of nearly 2,200 hiring and human resource managers.*

Federal and state laws provide protection and guidance against discriminatory hiring practices, but the line between permissible and impermissible questions can seem fuzzy at times. The best bet? Keep questions consistent across all candidates, and focus only on the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the job.

 

Audigy’s Human Resources Team can help you create a culture of remarkability, including ensuring best employment practices are in place for success. To learn more about our HR experts or what questions to ask when interviewing job candidates, contact our team today.

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