Advice Given for Job Interviews

Advice Given for Job Interviews

It's well known, of course, that you cannot ask or comment on race or color. Nor should you ask or comment about sexual orientation or gender. You also should not ask or comment about the applicant's ancestry or his national origin or about that of his or her parents.
Be aware that interviewing guidelines may vary by state.

That said, what follows are some interviewing issues kitchen/bath firm owners should be aware of:

You can ask what languages the applicant reads or speaks fluently, but you cannot ask, "What is your native language?" or "How did you learn English [or Spanish]?"

You can ask the applicant if he or she is 18 or older, and ask the applicant's age if it is less than 18. But you cannot ask, "How old are you?"

You cannot ask about marital status. Questions such as "Are you single?" "Are you divorced?" "What does your husband [or wife] do?"

"Will you want time off for your honeymoon?" are all out of bounds.

Do not ask about birth control, or about family planning, such as asking a female job applicant, "Are you and your husband planning to have children?" You cannot ask who should be contacted in case of emergency until after the
person is hired.

You can ask what the person's current address is, however, you cannot ask how long he or she has lived there. You can ask if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime, but you cannot ask if he or she has been arrested.

You can ask about the applicant's military experience in the U.S. armed forces or the National Guard. You can ask if he or she received an honorable discharge. You cannot ask about other military experience, or if there was a discharge other than honorable.

You can ask about relevant membership in organizations or societies. For example, if the person is a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) or Certified Bathroom Designer (CBD), it is permissible to ask about that. But you cannot ask an applicant for a list of all societies and organizations he or she belongs to.

You can ask if the applicant is a citizen, and if not, if the applicant has a legal right to remain in the U.S. You can ask if he or she intends to become a citizen or intends to remain permanently. But you cannot ask non-citizens what country they're citizens of. You can't ask naturalized citizens when they became naturalized, or whether their parents or spouses are also naturalized. And, you may not require that applicants produce proof of naturalization.

If the job duties do not require driving, you cannot ask if the applicant has a driver's license. However, if the job does, you may.
You cannot ask, "How many days were you out sick at your last job?" You cannot ask, "Have you ever had mental health problems?"

You cannot ask about disabilities. You can ask if the applicant can satisfy certain physical requirements for the job, such as the ability to lift a cabinet or the ability to climb a ladder, but only where those requirements are necessary for the job. You can ask the applicant to demonstrate how he or she would perform these job functions. If a disability is apparent, or voluntarily disclosed, you can ask if the person needs reasonable accommodation for a job. For example, you can ask a person in a wheelchair if he needs a wider aisle in the office, or a lower desk. But you cannot ask about that person's physical condition ("What put you in that wheelchair?").

You can ask about illegal drug use, but not prescription drug use. You can ask about current illegal drug use, but not about past addiction.

You can ask if the applicant drinks alcohol, or whether the applicant has ever been arrested for driving under the influence. You cannot ask how much the applicant drinks or whether the applicant is an alcoholic or has been treated for alcoholism.

Some states may allow you to give applicants drug tests; other states forbid it.

You can require job applicants to take job skill tests as long as there is a legitimate business reason for the test. For example, you can require applicants to take physical agility tests only if there is a legitimate business reason for the test. You must be able to show the abilities tested accurately reflect an applicant's ability to successfully perform the job. And, the tests must be administered fairly; in other words, you cannot single out female applicants and test them, but not male applicants.

Two other issues to be aware of:

1. Even if the job applicant brings up a forbidden topic, that does not "open the door" for you to ask questions about it.
2. Many of the same guidelines apply when you give references for a former employee's job. You cannot give out information about age, sex, race, national origin or disabilities. You cannot give out confidential information.