When you are 20, 35 may seem older but when you get to 55 you may say 70 is old! It is all about perspective and personal opinion. Jack Welch had advocated against hiring the older worker (in his “Winning”) but I have met recruiters who hold firmly to the thought that “You cannot hope to get a wise head on young shoulders!
This is why certain personalized interview questions, which allow people to give free rein to their personal wisdom, are held illegal. When hopeful candidates put in every possible effort preparing for a job interview, to end up facing questions which seek to ascertain the details of their personal lives instead of pertinent ones about their skill sets, career goals and expertise, it could lead to a huge let down for the candidates and possible legal consequences for the interviewer.
Among the list of things that need to go into an interview – testing the skills of a candidate has its own place, and here, we only try to look at the regular interviews conducted to hire permanent employees and what would be considered illegal on them and why. Diligent interviewers steer clear of all questions which even have a flavor of the illegal ones that cannot be brought up in a job interview to avoid future repercussions. Let no one assume that the candidates may not be aware of them in this Age of Google where people get to learn a whole lot of things in a nanosecond.
The illegality behind any personal pre-employment inquiry arises from harboring a motive to deny or restrict employment to or screen out people because they are female or members of minority religious or ethnic groups or have disabilities even if they may not restrict the person’s performance on the job. The ethnic approach has been reserved for a separate post and we deal here with the regular issues around the questions on an interview.
(*CA, CO, CT, GA, HI, ID, IL, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NY, OH, PA, RI, UT, VA and WI )
A rule of thumb would be for interviewers to avoid all questions of a personal nature, be they gender related or about personal preferences or religion and sexual orientation, or about the candidate’s friends and relatives, unless they can demonstrate a clear and admissible correlation to the job in question. As was emphasized by the Supreme Court which found fault with a job which required high school graduation saying its only purpose seemed to be eliminating blacks as a group and not because it was required for the job itself.
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