Talking about recruitment in specific, an added legal angle comes into the picture as well. We are seeing an increasing focus on inclusion and merit-based hiring. Certain questions posed to candidates during interviews which seem “normal”, may, in fact, go against these very concepts. Interactions discussing age, ethnicity, religion, race, and disability can present a dicey situation, if the sensibilities of the candidate are offended. There is also a chance that legal intervention is sought, and that could mean a lot of hassle and millions of dollars in lawsuits; definitely not what any recruiter or organization wants! It is best to be the smart recruiter and not touch upon off-limit topics.
Here are a few questions that you should ideally avoid:
1. What is your current pay?
With all the hubbub around the Equal Pay Act, past pay can be a dicey topic to touch upon. Of course, laws pertaining to whether proposed pay is related to past pay differ across states, but it is best to be on the safer side, especially when recruiting minorities. How then, do recruiters decide the pay scale to offer to the candidate, without a data-basis? Recruiters then need to be tactful about how to elicit the pay ranges, without directly pressing on the mater. Alternatively, HR departments must put in place other innovative methods for pay calculation such as role-based and competency-based pay.
2. Are you married/Do you have kids?
Though this seems like an innocuous question, many people find it to be an intrusion into their personal lives, which they have no intention to share with their probable future employer. More importantly, it is viewed as a way to assess whether a person will be able to give 100% of his or her time to work, or has other priorities back home. Or it may be used to assess the benefits (and costs) one would need to allocate to the potential employee. Work-life balance is a fast-emerging need, especially for millennials, and life needs are something that employers should include in the employee value proposition, not be stingy about. Not only does it leave the candidate with a bad taste in the mouth, in many states, inquiring about the marital or familial status is prevented by law.
3. How did you hurt yourself?
This is a common question that people with a disability often face, often leading to the awkward and uncomfortable silence. Recruiters must be sensitive to the fact that a deformity or injury may not be a temporary one, but a permanent one. If a person walks in with a cane and receives this question, it will be frowned upon, looked upon as a disregard and outright discrimination. And if the candidate is rejected, he or she can claim that disability was a reason for rejection. Not a great legal situation to be in.
4. When did you graduate?
This is a way of finding out the age of a candidate. This may seem like an innocent question on face value. However, the reality is that job descriptions often come with an ideal “age bracket” for the ideal candidate, and if a person is rejected after the age is questioned, it can be raised as the reason for rejection. This goes against the philosophy of skill-based hiring, where a candidate with the right skill-fit should be considered irrespective of whether he or she is 40 years plus.
These are some of the questions that recruiters and HR professionals must be aware of. These changes must be integrated into the process, by reviewing and rewriting the interview guides and coaching line managers to interview the right way. A great interview experience can go a long way in swinging top talent to accept the job, setting up a great employer brand for you.
Source: HR Technologist