Every HR pro knows there are certain questions you shouldn’t ask job candidates. But what happens when hiring managers let one of those dreaded questions slip out during an interview?
According to Suzanne Lucas from the Evil HR Lady blog, making a mistake like that in the interview process isn’t the end of the world.
Not quite illegal
First of all, as labor and employment lawyer Bryan P. Cavanaugh points out to Lucas, simply asking candidates a question you shouldn’t doesn’t mean you’ve discriminated against them.
A candidate would, of course, have to prove they suffered “concrete harm” as a result of your illegal interview question.
That’s hard to do when there are literally thousands of reasons not to hire a single candidate.
What you should do instead
What is true is that “illegal” interview questions can give you answers you can’t use when considering a candidate for an open position.
At the same time, though, they’re part of your daily reality.
Best bet for HR pros and hiring managers: Don’t panic if you ask a question you shouldn’t or if you find yourself wandering into territory that’s supposedly “off limits.”
Instead, follow up your question quickly with what you should have asked.
Example: If you ask, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” (which is a no-no), follow it up quickly with, “Are you authorized to work in the United States?”