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The Lawton Group Team
The biggest problem with interviews is when you veer off questions about the work and start asking more personal questions. You may think they are job-related but are they really?
When you ask something, think about what you really want to know and adjust your question accordingly. While the candidate can volunteer personal information, you can’t ask for it. Here are some examples of the most common questions that will get you in trouble. The first question is the wrong thing to ask, followed by your legal option(s):
• Do you have children?
vs. Are you able to work overtime or come in early when needed? Can we depend on you being at work every day?
• How old are you?
vs. Are you over 18 years old? (And stop. There are no other questions you can ask.)
• When did you graduate from school?
vs. Have you graduated? Do you have a degree/certification?
• Do you have a car?
vs. Do you have reliable transportation to ensure you are at work on time every day? (And, no, you can’t ask to see their driver’s license during the interview because it shows their age. But you can ask if they have a valid driver’s license.)
The easiest way to know what you CAN ask is to always format the question in a way that directly relates it to the job. You don’t care if they have children… you care if they aren’t available when you need them to work. You don’t (or shouldn’t) care how old they are unless you have to deal with child labor laws. You don’t care when they graduated… you care if they have the education the job requires.
If your question really reflects something you need to know about the candidate to determine if they are a good fit for the job, there’s a way to ask it legally. It just takes a bit of thought.
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