It’s no secret that job interviews can be stressful for the job applicant. Presenting yourself well, saying the right things: there is a lot to consider. However, there are just as many considerations for the St. Louis small business owner looking to hire their next star employee.
In an effort to find the best fit for the team, a hiring manager can be tempted to ask something that they shouldn’t ask.
Question #1: Will you need time off for personal reasons?
While this seems like a reasonable question, it does cross a line. The issue with this question is that it can elicit responses that are actually illegal for you to consider in making the hiring decision. For example, what if the candidate explains that she’s pregnant and will need time off in six or seven months? If you reject her application for any other reason, you need to prepare to prove that you didn’t turn her down because of the pregnancy.
Question #2: Are you religious? What is your faith?
You cannot legally make a determination on the applicant on a basis of their religious affiliation. To do so would be considered a form of discrimination. A good rule of thumb is to avoid questions that are irrelevant to the hiring process or doing the job itself.
Question #3: How old are you? How many more years do you plan on working?
Like the religion question, this crosses a boundary into illegal questions for job applicants. The only time a question regarding age is appropriate to ask is to verify that the applicant is over 18 if applicable to the position. Otherwise, you open the door to discrimination allegations.
Question #4: Do you have any serious health conditions or disabilities?
As a business owner, you have the legal obligation to make reasonable accommodations for a disabled employee. As such, this may seem like a fair question. However, if the person discloses a disability, you are in the position of having to prove that you did not allow the disability to be a factor in your hiring decision.
To protect yourself and your business, stick to questions that apply directly to the position or working within your company.