1 in 5 HR managers have asked illegal interview questions

1 in 5 HR managers have asked illegal interview questions

1 in 5 HR managers have asked illegal interview questions A recent survey has revealed a shocking number of HR professionals are under-informed about what they can legally ask in an interview.

More than 2,100 HR managers across a range of industries participated in the study by CareerBuilder and twenty per cent admitted they’d asked an out-of-bounds question without realizing.

"It's important for both interviewer and interviewee to understand what employers do and don't have a legal right to ask in a job interview—for both parties' protection," says Rosemary Haefner, CHRO at Career Builder.

"Though their intentions may be harmless, managers could unknowingly be putting themselves at risk of legal action, as a job candidate could argue that certain questions were used to discriminate against him or her."

HR managers also expressed uncertainty around many questions; at least one third indicated they didn’t know if the following questions were legal:

·         What is your religious affiliation?
·         Are you pregnant?
·         What is your political affiliation?
·         What is your race, colour or ethnicity?
·         How old are you?
·         Are you disabled?
·         Are you married?
·         Do you have children or plan to?
·         Are you in debt?
·         Do you social drink or smoke?

Hiring expert Carol Quinn told HRM that there is no excuse for an illegal interview question to slip in.

“There is absolutely zero need to ask inappropriate questions when it comes to correctly identifying and hiring top performers,” she said. “There is nothing good about this and everything bad.”  

Joseph Campagna, founder of My Virtual HR, said HR managers should speak up if they see a colleague do something unorthodox.

“If you are in an interview with a colleague who asks an inappropriate or even illegal question, the best thing to do is correct it immediately,” he said. “Don't just butt-in or change the subject. It's important to make the statement that it has no bearing on their selection for the position. If you don't, you leave that open as a liability,” he warns.

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9 Comments
  • Jeannie McQuaid 2015-04-21 11:29:03 AM
    If one third of the polled HR Managers didn't know those questions were illegal, they have no business being in HR and whoever hired/promoted them into the HR position should go out the door behind them. Due diligence people, know your job.
    Post a reply
  • Anonymous 2015-04-21 10:20:41 PM
    I agree, these people shouldnt be in HR.
    Post a reply
  • Ian Ratchford 2015-04-22 7:31:19 AM
    This article does not surprise me at all. Employers hire people who can be led around by the nose. "They are one of us".

    In my experience, every interview I have been in on always involves out right lies from the HR Manager and or illegal questions. One time I was so disgusted with the panel who was interviewing me that, I produced the source law evidencing their out right lies.

    I was instructed to leave. How dare I make them look like a liar and obviously " You are not one of us".

    Here us my unsolicited non legal advice to these types of people: reading is free. Get off your fat ass...pick up legal text references and examine and apply the law to yourself first. Liars are not leaders.

    You don't have to worry if you are a lying HR Manager as in my experience, it is always top down (cough, cough) leadership.
    Post a reply