You and your managers know the obvious questions you can’t ask job applicants. But sometimes, the most innocuous-seeming exchanges can put you in peril of violating discrimination laws.
Here are three fringe areas to avoid — and tips on how to get the info you need in a safe, legal way.
Don’t ask: How far is your commute? You can’t pick applicants based on where they live, for the obvious reasons — some neighborhoods are heavily populated by specific ethnic groups.
You really just want to know if the person can get to work during your operating hours.
Instead, ask: Are you able to start work at 9 a.m.?
Don’t ask: How many sick days did you take last year? This question could be interpreted as digging into a candidate’s personal health information – and that’s prohibited.
Instead, ask: How many days of work did you miss last year?
Clubs, organization affiliations
Don’t ask: Do you belong to any clubs or social organizations? You may want to know about workers’ hobbies and extracurricular activities, but this question can reveal info about workers’ political or religious affiliations, which aren’t related to the job.
Instead, ask: Are you a member of a professional group that’s relevant to our industry?
For an overview of effective interview questions, go here.