It’s understandable that when you are interviewing a potential employee, you want to find out as much information about the candidate as humanly possible. You want to know the type of person that you may be working alongside and whether they can adequately perform the job that they have applied for. However, desiring to know this information can pose problems as there are some topics and specific questions that you simply cannot ask due to legal reasons such as discrimination. Here are some of the questions that you should avoid – and ways around each of them.
How Old Are You?
This is one of the questions that you simply can’t ask. It’s against the law for an employer to select a candidate to employ based upon their age. So long as the employee is legally old enough to work and is able to work, the age should not be a concern.
However, there are ways around this question. Although you can’t find out the exact age of the candidate you can ask them questions such as Are you over the age of 18? and What are your career plans for the future? By asking these questions you can gauge the candidate’s age, their commitment to the company and a general sense of their maturity without appearing too inquisitive.
Do You Have Children?
Sometimes it may be necessary for you to obtain an understanding of the applicant’s experience with children; this could be due to the nature of the job role or the necessity of the skills that looking after children can help people to develop. On the other hand you may be asking this question as you are concerned that the candidate will soon leave the company in order to have a child.
One of the ways that you can get around this issue is to ask about the general availability of the potential employee and whether or not they have any experience with a particular age group. If you ask about the candidate’s experience with a specific age group they may volunteer information concerning their home life and future plans regarding children.
What Do You Think of Inter-Office Dating?
Any questions that are related to gender and dating are usually off limits. There are a large number of potential issues that can arise if you inquire as to the marital status or sexual interests of a possible employee. Once you have hired an individual you can inquire as to the marital status of the employee for insurance purposes, but this decision must not affect the interview process.
A question such as this can also be interpreted as an unwanted advance, or if the interviewer asks several similar questions in conjunction it could be classed as sexual harassment and you could be facing an inquiry soon after.
You can get around this question and acquire an understanding of the applicant office behavior by asking Have you ever been disciplined due to behavior at work?
There are many other ways in which you can get around issues regarding discrimination and prejudice; one of the best ways is to carefully plan your interview questions in advance and have another member of staff review the questions.
This post was written by Alastair Dawson is a dedicated employee at Access 2 Barristers Direct, a company focused on providing professional legal advice and access to a barrister with expert knowledge that will suit the needs of your case.