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Don’t Ask These Age Related Interview Questions

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Don’t Ask These Age Related Interview Questions

Posted by Payroll Data Processing in Blog Oct 20 2015

When it comes to interview questions, managers and HR professionals know that they have to be very careful to avoid asking anything that could potentially send them to court. One of the most common ways that the interview process could head toward dangerous territory is when it comes to age related questions. Of course, most people are well aware of the fact that you can’t ask an applicant about their age during an interview but believe it or not, there are a lot of questions that get dangerously close to crossing that line. Here are some other age related interview questions that you should avoid asking.

When interviewing a potential employee, managers and HR professionals may want to ask some of the following questions simply out of curiosity but they could get very close to prodding the candidate to reveal their age. Common age related interview questions to avoid include asking the candidate: How long they plan to stay with your business? How long they plan to keep working? How they would feel about working under the supervision of people younger than them? When they graduated? At first glance, these questions might seem harmless but legal experts conclude that they can land you and your company with a lawsuit since they ask about age, even though they’re not as direct. A rejected applicant could attempt to sue for age bias and if any of these interview questions were asked, their case against you will be stronger.

Of course, you need to gather as much information as possible before deciding which candidate will be the right fit for your company and your workplace. Many of these legal issues arise simply because of poor wording or phrasing. All of your interview questions should revolve around the applicant’s ability to do the job. Applicants of all ages can be capable, productive, and efficient employees as long as they suit the job requirements. Some questions can draw out information that is supposed to be off-limits during the interview process such as race, religion, disabilities, and age. Make sure to keep your questions strictly work related and you should be in the clear.

Other risky interview questions to avoid include family status and disabilities. What may seem like an innocent and even friendly question, asking a candidate about their children, is actually a no-no. If you need your potential employee to work unusual hours or a lot of overtime, simply ask them if they will have any issues with availability. Similarly, you should avoid asking interview questions about physical ability and health including questions about injuries, disabilities, height, or weight. If the job position requires physical activity such as lifting heavy boxes, ask the candidate specifically about their ability to perform that task.

There’s nothing wrong with asking your applicants a lot of questions. You just have to make sure that you’re asking the right ones. Before starting the interview, look over your list of questions and make sure that they are worded correctly to avoid accidentally prompting the applicant to provide legally off-limits information.