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Three Interview Questions that Always Land HR in Trouble

We all know that there are certain types of questions that should never be asked in an interview, questions that could certainly land you in a ton of legal hot water. Just ask any HR rep and they’ll rattle off a list of no-no’s without batting an eye, including any obvious questions about race, age, gender or disability.

But the key word here is obvious.

You see, often times when you talk to a candidate, even if you have a set list of questions in front of you and are well versed in employee law to know where the no-go questions are, the chatty nature of these conversations can easily veer of course and get you into the danger zone.

Below, HR Morning, with the help of law firm Ogletree Deakins, identifies the top three HR no-go questions that HR reps slip on – and why they are such bad news.

“So, when did you graduate from high school?”
We’ll often ask a question like this in an attempt to make a personal connection with the job applicant (“hey, I graduated that next year!”) However, say an applicant is in their 50s and is not selected for the job, they could suggest that the interviewer used age-related questions as a basis for their hiring decision.

“How’d you injure yourself?”
Perhaps the candidate has his arm in a sling, or she walks with a cane. It seems only natural to ask about the nature of the injury, largely because it is easy to assume that the injury itself may be temporary in nature. However, if the injury isn’t temporary and is in fact a disability, the interviewer has effectively asked about an applicant’s disability, and that constitutes a pretty big problem.

“You married? Any kids?”
Again, the nature of human interaction often dictates that we try to seek commonalities to build a connection. However, if an interviewer is perceived as seeking information about a candidates family status, it can spell serious trouble, particularly if the candidate is in a state where marital or familial status is “a protected classification employers can’t inquire about,” HR Morning notes.

Can you think of any other interview questions that always seem to work their way in, but could spell serious trouble for your organization? Let us know in the comments.

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