Five Questions Employers Should Not Ask in an Interview

by | Published on Feb 19, 2019 | Interview Transcription

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While our blog on February 8, 2019 discussed some questions that employers should ask in a job interview, here are some questions they should avoid.

Conducting an interview requires solid preparation on the part of job seekers as well as employers. Employers must make sure that during the interview, they ask only legal questions that can help identify the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and determine whether they suit your job requirement. Typing up interview details word-for-word can be time-consuming for business professionals. Instead you can record the interview in any format and get it transcribed with reliable interview transcription services. These transcripts in verbatim or non-verbatim mode also serve as a source of reference for the interviewer while conducting a follow-up interview.


Ask Legal Interview Questions

The Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOA) of 1972 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law. In case of discrimination, the commission will try to settle the charge. If not successful, a lawsuit will be filed with the concerned authority to protect the rights of individuals and the interests of the public.

A good interviewer will avoid questions such as the following:

    1. Age – What is your age?Age discrimination laws prohibit interviewers from asking the candidate’s age or date of birth. Ask a candidate’s age, only if the job has a minimum age requirement.
    2. Religion – Where do you go to church?Being an employer, if you think that religious practices may affect weekend work schedules just ask the candidate’s availability to work on weekends – “Will you be available to work on weekends?”
    3. Citizenship or National Origin – Are you a US citizen? Where were you born?Are you legally eligible to work in the United States? Can you show proof of citizenship/visa/alien registration if we decide to hire you? Are you known by any other names? Can you speak, read, and write English?
    4. Marital – Are you married? Do you have any children?Never discriminate candidates on the basis of gender or marital status. Any questions about marital status, children and future family plans should not be asked at an interview. If this matters with regard to the job assigned, you can check with them whether they have any commitments that might prevent them from working in assigned shifts.
    5. Health and Disability – When did you last visit your doctor? Do you have any disability?Avoid questions about sickness or health. Never ask an applicant whether they are in good health or if they have had any past illnesses. Employers should also refrain from asking about the candidates’ height, weight or any information regarding their physical or mental limitations. Instead, accurately describe the job and then ask the candidate if he/she can perform all of the functions.

California Legislation Prohibits Questions on Crime Conviction and Salary History

California Legislation update has also banned questions about salary history and criminal convictions in a job interview. With this update, California employers must avoid questions such as the following.

      • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?Make sure not to seek information about an applicant’s conviction history. Also, while conducting a conviction history background check, never distribute information related to specified prior arrests, diversions, and convictions.
      • How much do you currently make?Starting January 1, 2018, California employers were advised not to ask jobseekers for any history regarding their salary details. Companies cannot rely on salary details to decide whether to offer a job or how much to pay. In cases where the candidate is voluntarily disclosing salary history, you can use those details in setting salary, if prior salary is not the only factor justifying any difference in pay. However, employers can ask about an applicant’s expected salary for the position.

To make your interview processes stay compliant with such rules and regulations,

      • Consider involving more experienced people in the decision panel
      • Let the candidate know the eligibility rules even before the interview
      • Create interview rules formally as a rule book that is accessible for all employees in your company

While outsourcing your interview transcription tasks to digital transcription agencies, make sure you provide quality recordings, which helps transcribers to provide you with error-free transcripts for further reference.

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