Slam the Do
Interview Di

or on

by Sheri Rosenthal       

This article provides practical information
misperceptions and the appearance of wrong-
By following these common sense guidelines,
vulnerability to discrimination

employers can use to avoid
doing in the interview process.
employers can reduce their

   FOR MOST PEOPLE, THE INTERVIEW PROCESS IS A NERVE-RACKING AND IMPERFECT INTERACTION. Job interviews terrify many smart and accomplished people for various reasons. One such reason for interview anxiety is the fear of the unexpected from the often suspicious interviewer. However, just as there are imperfect interviewees, there are imperfect interviewers.
There are many wild cards in interviewing � unexpected things that individuals from both sides of the table do, say and think. Unfortunately, great interviewing skills are not learned overnight.    Some interviewers show poor judgment when they evaluate candidates. A perfect example is the asking of illegal questions which may indicate a deep-seated prejudice, reflect a form of ignorance or may actually be asked with some job-related relevance, but put the company at risk none-the-less. Learning how to properly

structure interview questions, so as to gather necessary job-related information without violating federal and state anti-discrimination laws, is the key to a successful recruitment program.


   The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws against job discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Whew! Each of these laws individually and as a whole protects employees against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, national origin, religion or disability. There are so many laws and guidelines that it would seem impossible for an employer to conduct an interview at all without seeming to discriminate or, at the very least, offend some group.
   Contrary to popular belief, federal employment laws do not expressly prohibit interviewers from asking questions about an applicant�s color, gender, religion or national origin. Fortunately, for interviewers and interviewees, many state nondiscrimination laws are typically more specific and include lists of permissible and impermissible questions. Most importantly, while the EEOC and the various state agencies are not particularly interested in the questions interviewers ask, they are vitally concerned about how the employer uses the answers to the questions posed. If questions regarding race, gender, religion, etc are asked for non-employment related purposes, and used to make a hiring decision, they are illegal. For example, if it is part of the job function to work weekends, it is relevant to inquire if the interviewee has any other obligations or beliefs that would interfere with this schedule. It is not permissible to ask an interviewee if they attend church on Sundays and to then surmise that they are not eligible for hire since included in the job requirements is working on Sundays.

     �> Next Page