|What Questions Shouldn't I Ask in an Interview?
If you've started your own company and are ready to hire employees, keep in mind that there are several questions you shouldn't ask during a job interview, even if your motives are pure. This is because they could make you vulnerable to a charge of discrimination if the prospective employee isn't hired. You also have to be careful about information volunteered by potential employees for the same reasons. You can take comfort, however,
in the fact that most "illegal" questions are unrelated to any legitimate hiring criteria.
Here are the general types of questions you should avoid:
1. "How old are you?" and other age-related questions. State and federal laws prevent discrimination against people over 40. For this reason, you shouldn't ask any question designed to discover directly or indirectly a person's age.
2. "What is your religious background?" Even if a prospective employee volunteers this information, don't engage in conversation about religion. Just move on.
3. "Do you have a disability?" Never ask this question. While physical capabilities may be directly relevant to job performance in certain types of jobs, you must never use the word "disabled" or "handicapped" in a job interview. Ask whether the individual is capable of performing particular job duties. You should also steer clear of questions about medical history or whether an applicant has previously received workers' compensation. These questions are regarded as potential surrogates for inquiries about disability status.
4. "Are you planning to have children?" You are not entitled to discriminate against someone on the basis of whether the person has or will have children. You can ask about a potential employee's capacity and willingness to travel or work overtime, however, if those issues are legitimately job-related.
5. "Are you married?" While this is a friendly question and may naturally come up in conversation, marital status is a protected category under federal and state employment laws.
6. "What's your maiden name?" Because surnames often reveal ethnicity, this question could be perceived as potentially discriminatory. The same is true of the question
7. "Are you an American citizen?" even though the employee would have to furnish proof of citizenship upon being hired. You can ask whether this candidate could provide proof of the right to work in the U.S. instead.
Rather than focusing on what you shouldn't say, focus on topics that are relevant, such as education, job skills, job history, and achievements. If you stay away from forbidden areas and remain professional, your interviews should go well.