Wednesday, November 24, 2010

8 Questions Never to Ask During an Interview

During an interview, questions about personal topics are not only in poor taste, but can be illegal to ask. These types of questions are considered discriminatory and should be avoided when interviewing potential employees.

1. How old are you? The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), protects those that are 40 or older from being passed over for a position in favor of someone younger. You are allowed to ask only if someone is over 18, to determine if they are eligible to perform a job.

2. Are you married? You might be tempted to ask this question to determine if a relationship could have a negative impact on performance, but it is prohibited.

3. Are you a U.S. citizen? The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) ensures citizenship and immigration status cannot be used against a potential employee. Employers have to wait until after a job has been offered to require a worker to submit documentation. It is acceptable for an employer to ask if a candidate is authorized to work in the U.S.

4. Do you have any disabilities? The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires employers to accommodate disabilities unless it can be proven that it would cause expense or difficulty to do so. Employers also are not allowed to ask about past illnesses or operations.

5. Do you take drugs, smoke or drink? While you cannot ask this question directly, it is acceptable to ask if someone has ever violated past company policies regarding the use of alcohol or tobacco. You can inquire about illegal drug use, but not prescriptions medications.

6. What religion do you practice? Religious beliefs are always a sensitive subject and strictly off limits for interviewers. Employers are also required to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs in regards to dress policy and flexible scheduling.

7. What is your race? Employers are only allowed to ask an employee to reveal their race on a voluntary basis for affirmative action purposes.

8. Are you pregnant? While employers might have concerns about an employee taking time off work due to a pregnancy, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that an employer cannot refuse to hire someone because of pregnancy or a pregnancy related condition.

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