It’s pretty much common knowledge that there are certain questions companies can’t ask job applicants during a job interview.
However, many people might be hard pressed to identify more than three or four things about which companies can not inquire. In this blog post, we’ll be presenting 10 such things, but please note this does NOT constitute a comprehensive list.
The list of topics prohibited during a interview seems to grow almost every year, so you might want to consult your HR or legal department for more information.
In the meantime, below is our list of 10 things about which companies can’t ask applicants during an interview:
1. Age or date of birth—Just about everybody knows that this question is a no-no.
2. Height and/or weight—If a question is asked about this, it must be tied to the requirements of the position and be presented within the context of those requirements.
3. Sex or marital status—This encompasses a wide range of subjects, like divorce, children, family planning, and whether or not the applicant is currently pregnant.
4. Race or national origin—About the only thing companies can do in relation to this topic is to ask about the applicant’s citizenship status to make sure they’re eligible to work in the United States.
5. Religion—Trying to get around this issue by asking the applicant which holidays they observe is also not allowed.
6. Credit score or credit history—This has become more of a “hands off” topic in recent years. That’s why companies will simply conduct the appropriate checks allowed by law and otherwise avoid it.
7. Physical or mental disabilities—Like height or weight, if this subject is broached, it must be within the context of the job requirements. (“Are you able to perform the tasks detailed in the job description with reasonable accommodation?”)
8. Criminal history—There’s a caveat with this one, since regulations vary by state. Find out what your state mandates in regards to asking about possible criminal history.
9. Member organizations—This pertains primarily to organizations considered “private,” but since that’s a rather nebulous qualifier, this is a topic to be avoided altogether.
10. Relatives—You may not have heard of this one, but you can’t ask for the names or addresses of relatives.
The first step in a successful interview is making sure that the appropriate questions are asked . . . and the inappropriate questions are not.
(Please note that once again, this is NOT a comprehensive list. As mentioned above, contact your HR or legal department for more detailed information.)
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