Recruiting

More Untouchable Application Questions

Yesterday’s Advisor presented some undesirable employment application questions, including those that concern protected activity or reveal disability information. Today, consultant Bridget Miller shares more questions that your application shouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

AVOID: Questions That Could Appear to Discriminate Based on Aspects That May Be Covered by State Laws or Other Regulations

Here are some more examples of topics to avoid, becasue they may appear to be discriminatory or it may be illegal at the state level to query after them:

  • Marital status. This one should be obvious, but unfortunately it still bears repeating: There’s no need to ask questions that single out individuals of one gender, such as questions regarding an applicant’s familial status or questions about marriage and children. Asking such questions may appear to be discriminatory based on gender, since such questions do not relate to the individual’s ability to do the job—and in some states it is illegal to discriminate based on marital status. Questions about marital status (such as asking for a title Ms./Miss/Mrs., or asking for a maiden name) should be avoided.
  • Arrest records. Asking about arrests may or may not be illegal where you are, but it can appear to be discriminatory because it may inadvertently have a disparate impact on a protected class. Remember, arrest records are not the same as convictions—and even conviction information should only be included on an application if it is relevant to the job.
  • Sexual orientation. Questions about sexual orientation should be avoided, as it is regarded as a protected class in several states.
  • Height and weight. These questions can appear discriminatory if they’re not directly related to the ability to do the job—especially if they result in a disproportionate effect on one gender or national group.
  • Credit history. Questions about credit history—if not directly related to the job—may appear to be discriminatory because they may have a disparate impact on some groups. The same goes for questions about wage garnishment, bankruptcy, or home ownership. Financial questions are likely only permissible when directly related to the job—and this means only for a few select jobs.

Are you ready for the technical and legal issues that video interviewing raises? Start on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 2015, with a new interactive webinar, Video Interviewing: Effective Recruiting Tips for HR. Learn More.


AVOID: Any Other Questions That Unnecessarily Require Disclosure of Private Information

These questions should be avoided primarily to protect an individual’s privacy and sensitive data. Before making a job offer, it’s not usually necessary to have an applicant’s Social Security number, for example. This might be necessary for some background checks, but it’s not necessary before an applicant has even made the short list. Asking for extra unnecessary information means the employer has even more personal data on hand that could be at risk if there are any security breaches.

It’s worth noting that some of the questions we’ve suggested to steer clear of will be necessary after an applicant becomes an employee. Birth date is a perfect example of something that will become necessary later—but it is not necessary during the hiring process, so an employer should not ask at that time.

Bear in mind that many of these questions are not illegal to ask; they’re simply not advised for any employer that wants to avoid the possibility of appearing discriminatory in hiring practices. However, if there is a legitimate business reason to ask a certain question, be sure to have that reason available.

We can see that there are a lot of subtle ways to accidentally ask the wrong questions, leaving you in legal hot water! Did you know that there are also legal and technical pitfalls when conducting a video interview? Luckily, BLR has just announced a brand new interactive webinar where you can learn what the pitfalls are, and how to avoid them. Join us on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 for Video Interviewing: Effective Recruiting Tips for HR and save yourself some trouble!

Did you know 63 percent of HR Managers say their company uses video interviews? What about your company? Whether you have been using video interviews for a while now or will be in the future, there’s timely help in the form of BLR’s new webinar—Video Interviewing: Effective Recruiting Tips for HR. In just 90 minutes, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, you’ll learn everything you need to know about conducting a useful, professional video interview!

Register today for this interactive webinar.


Think you’ve got video interviewing licked? Think again! There are legal and technical concerns you may not be aware of! Join us Wednesday, July 29, 2015 for a new interactive webinar, Video Interviewing: Effective Recruiting Tips for HR. Earn 1 hour in HRCI Recertification Credit. Register Now.


By participating in this interactive webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • About how the use of video interviewing has increased and why
  • Suggestions on how to improve the quality of your technical set-up, and answers to questions like:
                – Where should your camera be? 
                – How far should you sit from it?
  • How to prep your candidates before the red light goes on so that you both have a worthwhile experience
  • What kind of backup plan you should have in case you lose a connection
  • Legal pitfalls you need to be aware of – and avoid
  • What background you should have on your side of the camera – and what you should be looking for in theirs
  • Why eye contact is so important
  • What you should be looking for in how your candidates present themselves
  • How to make your candidates feel comfortable
  • How and when to best follow up after a video interview
  • And much more!

Register now for this event risk-free.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Central)

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Mountain
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific)

Approved for Recertification Credit

This program has been approved for 1 credit hour toward recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

Join us on Tuesday, June 30, 2015—you’ll get the in-depthVideo Interviewing: Effective Recruiting Tips for HR webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.

Find out more

Train Your Entire Staff

As with all BLR®/HR Hero® webinars:

  • Train all the staff you can fit around a conference phone.
  • Get your (and their) specific phoned-in or e-mailed questions answered in Q&A sessions that follow the presentation.

Find out more