We’ve all been there. You have an opening for a position in your company, and you need to fill it. Then the worry sets in. How do you find the right person? How do you figure out what questions to ask them to help you choose the right one? What legal concerns or bookkeeping concerns are you not aware of? What do you do to get it all right the first time?
If you, or the person you hire to do the interviews, is bad at interviewing, lots of horrible things can happen.
For one, you could end up with the wrong person for the job. In the best case version of that, he just doesn’t get the job done right because he’s just unqualified for the position. In the worst case, he’s a detrimental force to the company – his personality brings everyone around him down, slows or even halts production for you, and costs you major clients.
Then, when you can’t take it anymore, and you need to fire him – it becomes a legal battle that further exacerbates the stress you’ve been living under.
But the potential for stress and disaster isn’t a risk that only happens after you’ve hired someone…the risk starts during the interview process.
If you ask questions that you shouldn’t ask, you can open yourself to lawsuits during the interview. To sum it up, you can’t ask questions that would lead to bias against a protected class of applicants. You can, however, modify your questions to get the right information you need to make an informed decision without violating the candidate’s rights to fair consideration for the job.
For example, you can’t ask how old they are or when they plan to retire because those answers could lead to age discrimination. You may be trying to determine if they are going to be retiring shortly after being hired. What you can ask is what their long term career goals are.
Another example would be asking if they have, or plan to have, children. You might be concerned about scheduling issues or ability to travel. So instead, you can ask if they will be able to work overtime and be able to travel as needed.
You may also be concerned about disabilities affecting their work performance, and you would be tempted to ask if they have any disabilities. Instead, you should ask if they are able to perform the required duties of the position.
Did you also know that you can’t ask if they’ve been arrested? While their legal background can be important to your company, you have to be careful how to ask. You could ask if they’ve ever been convicted of x (theft, fraud, etc).
This just barely skims the surface of questions you have to be careful about during an interview.