Employers may put themselves in hot water when they ask questions and other things they shouldn’t. Some questions can be seen as breach to privacy matters or considered as discriminatory according to local laws. Job seekers may refuse some questions if they could cause discrimination or difficulty in finding a job.

  • Are you married? : This question may seem innocent enough, but it could be used to speculate about future pregnancies, the number of dependants and sexual orientation. Marital status has no relation with most job positions.
  • Do you have criminal records? Although a candidate has been convicted to previous felonies, he or she already served time in jail and considered as normal part of the society. If the job seeker has been incarcerated in the past, his answer to this question could weigh heavily against the hiring decision.
  • Do you have any kind of disability? In some countries, this type of question is prohibited. Unless the disability may affect the productivity for specific job position, it shouldn’t disqualify someone for a type of job. Employers should focus more on skills and experience that are highly relevant to job performance.
  • Did you have moderate or serious illnesses in the past? It is illegal to delve into the potential future illnesses of the job seekers. People with long term illnesses also need to make a living and especially earn enough money to cover their medical costs. As long as job seekers can guarantee that there will be no absenteeism, employers shouldn’t put them at any disadvantage.
  • Is your spouse working: This question has no relation whatsoever with how job seekers will perform in the workplace. In any case, we shouldn’t initiate any discussion about our spouses, because it isn’t relevant.
  • How old are you? Age doesn’t have correlation with experience and skill. Age is irrelevant and if employers are concerned if the candidate is too young or too old for the type of the job, then the appropriate age range should be clearly mentioned in job ads.
  • Are you observing specific religious holidays? Many companies operate using Christian calendars and this can represent a problem with more diverse workforce. This religious question should be considered as taboo. It is better to explain about the company holidays and work hours, then ask whether the job seeker can work based on this schedule.

If interviewers want to learn more about candidates, it is better to use open ended questions. Then job seekers can be allowed to share and elaborate on their own. This will allow employers to determine whether job seekers are able to fit into the company. Open ended questions can also be used to reveal how well job seekers are able to work on their own or with groups. A common question that is used by interviewers is “tell me about yourself” and this is an opportunity for job seekers to describe more about themselves. They should be able to properly describe about themselves.

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