20 Do’s and Don’t’s for Interviewers

Whether you’re an owner, manager, or employee—that is, anyone involved in communicating with prospective employees—you need to know what you can and cannot ask during the interview process. To help her are 20 questions that are not OK, and what you can ask instead.

Tip: You can’t ask, “How far from the office do you reside?” However, you can ask a related question like, “Can you be at our office by 8 a.m?”

50 You can’t ask a prospective employee what they weigh, but you can ask whether they can lift something that weighs 50 pounds.

 

  1. NATIONALITY

NO: Are you a citizen of the U.S.?

OK: Are you “authorized” to work?

 

  1. RESIDENCY

NO: How long have you lived in…?

OK: What is your current phone number and residential address where you can be contacted?

 

  1. FIRST LANGUAGE

NO: What is your native tongue?

OK: What languages do you speak fluently?

 

  1. HEIGHT

NO: How tall are you?

OK: Can you reach something on a 5’ shelf?

 

  1. WEIGHT

NO: What do you weigh?

OK: Can you lift a package/product that weighs 50 pounds?

 

  1. NAME

NO: Is this your maiden name?

OK: Have you ever worked or earned a degree under a different name?

 

  1. RELIGION

NO: What is your religion and what holidays do you celebrate/take off from work?

OK:  Are you able to work on our stated schedule?

 

  1. CHILDREN

NO: Do you have or want to have children?

OK: Can you travel for work or work overtime?

 

  1. GENDER

NO: How do you feel about supervising men/women?

OK: Tell me about your previous management experience.

 

  1. AGE

NO: How old are you or at what age do you plan to retire?

OK: Are you working age (over 18) and what are you long-term career goals?

 

  1. RESIDENCE

NO: How far from the office do you reside?

OK: Can you be at our office by 8 a.m.?

 

  1. HABITS

NO: Do you drink alcohol or smoke?

OK: Have you ever been cited for violating a company’s policies re. alcohol or tobacco?

 

  1. DRUGS

NO: Do you take drugs?

OK: Do you use illegal drugs?

 

  1. DISABILITIES/ILLNESSES

NO: Anything…just don’t go there!

OK:  Are you capable of performing the duties/specifics of this job with or without reasonable accommodations?

 

  1. RECORD

NO: Have you been arrested?

OK: Have you been convicted of (a specific crime like theft, for example)?

 

  1. DEBTS

NO: Are you in debt or have you declared bankruptcy?

OK: Nothing. Don’t talk finances except to let them know it is your policy to conduct a credit check.

 

  1. MILITARY SERVICE

NO: What kind of discharge did you receive?

OK: What skills did you gain in the military? What was your rank when discharged?

 

  1. DRIVING

NO: Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?

OK: Ask about their driving status ONLY if the job requires driving.

 

  1. SOCIAL SECURITY

NO: Do you receive any social security or disability benefits?

OK: We will require your social security number for benefits purposes if you are hired.

 

  1. CONTACTS

NO: Even after hiring: Name/address of relative to be notified in case of emergency.

OK: Name, relationship, address of individual to be contacted in case of emergency

 

Do your written policies include what’s appropriate and what’s not ok to discuss with prospective employees? Tell us about your policies and how you communicate them by joining the conversation on Facebook here.

 

Erinn Morgan