• Jack Sharp

Can a hiring manager really ask that?

If you’re looking to develop an efficient hiring process at your business, it’s important to look at your interviewing stage. This stage is often make or break for many candidates, and sometimes it isn’t always the candidates fault. Rather, what a hiring manager asks a candidate can make them uneasy, on edge and even push a high-quality candidate to turn down a job offer.

Here’s what a hiring manager probably shouldn’t ask during the interview process.

According to the law firm Shegerian and Associates, some questions that hiring managers often ask but shouldn’t include:

  • ‘Will you need time off for personal reasons?

  • ‘Is anyone in your family disabled?’

  • ‘Do you have any serious health conditions or disabilities?’

  • ‘How old are you? How many more years do you plan on working?’(Any age question should be avoided unless you are making sure the person is not a minor.)

  • ‘Are you religious? What do you believe in?’

  • ‘What race do you identify with?’

  • ‘What gender are you? Are you transgender?’

  • ‘What's your sexual orientation?’

Re-read the above list. What does it have in common? Well, they’re all personal questions, and they’re all unrelated to the job a candidate has applied for. A person’s gender, age or religious beliefs should have no impact on their ability to perform their work well.

These are questions you can’t use to decide on a candidate, and if you do, you ought to reconsider your approach to hiring.

Sure, the first question ‘will you need time off for personal reasons?’ might seem like a reasonable question to ask. You need to make sure someone is going to be committed to the job. However, a question like this can illicit answers which are illegal to base your decision upon. For example, let’s say you ask this question and the response is ‘yes, I need three months off because I’m pregnant.’ If you decide not to hire this candidate, you now need to prove that it wasn’t because they needed three months off. This would be deemed discriminatory.

Today, racial bias is still a big issue. It’s such an issue, in fact, that minority races are ‘whitening’ their CVs in the hopes of boosting their chance of consideration.

But it’s not just race. Understanding someone’s age, disabilities and religious beliefs can create a bias towards who to hire and who to respectfully decline. In theory, however, the only things that matter are whether an employee can commit to a job role, fits into the culture of the company and can perform the job up to standard.

Deciding on a candidate for any other reason causes issues that are perhaps deeper than your hiring process. If this is the case, it is time to rethink not only your process, but perhaps your company culture altogether.

Remember, your impression counts for just as much as the impression a candidate makes on you. Think wisely.