As of March of 2022, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 3.6%, which is down from 3.8% in February. This means that more people are being hired – and it may be time for you to bring some more folks on board, too! If you’re looking at hiring new employees, you’ll want to make sure that the interview process runs smoothly. You’ll want to learn as much as you can about your potential newbies, but make sure that you don’t step into dangerous territory with your questions.
We all know that there are questions which are absolute no’s. Anything that is prohibited by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act cannot be asked. Some of these include race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. (You can find all of the information here.) There are other questions, however, that seem to be in a gray area; they may not be explicitly prohibited but they toe the line into raising a potentially illegal conversation.
Here are some other questions that you really shouldn’t ask if you want to stay safe from legal action:
*Anything about alcohol consumption*
“What year did you graduate high school / college?”
“Are you married? Do you plan to start a family?”
“How many sick days did you take last year?”
“What are your plans for when you retire?”
In some states, it is also illegal to ask about salary / wages from previous employers. However, whether or not it’s legal, it’s most often still an inappropriate question. A person’s prior wages should have nothing to do with the position for which they are currently applying.
Make sure that you keep all questions related to the job opportunity. It is completely appropriate for a labor-intensive job to result in the question, “Do you have the ability to lift 20 lbs. regularly throughout the day?” It is not appropriate, however, to ask if the person has any medical problems which would prevent them from being able to do so. Lastly, remember that you should be asking all of your candidates the same questions. If it’s something that you want to know about a specific candidate that you wouldn’t ask someone else, just don’t!