Illegal Interview Questions: Holidays Edition

By Adam Robinson,
December 11, 2012

The snow is falling (unless you live in the Chicago) the decorations are hung, and the gifts are wrapped. It is officially the holiday season and sometimes holiday celebration talk can creep into every conversation, like the one you are having with a job candidate during an interview. Whoops! Avoid these illegal interview questions which sometimes pop up during the holidays.

Will you need time off for Christmas/Hanukkah?

By asking this question, the candidate could explain their religion and that would be a messy situation if they don’t get the job. Play it safe here and ask if they need time off for the holidays instead of implying a certain religion. 

Where will you be heading home for the holidays?

A common question to be asked, if you are talking to a friend! When you are interviewing a job candidate it’s important that you don’t get off track and ask a question that could infer the candidate’s birth location. Anything related to asking a candidate their current home location or place of birth can be illegal.

Will your kids need childcare over Holiday break?

Do’h! This kind of question determines if the candidate has children who is 100% illegal. A candidate with kids cannot be a reason they were turned down for a job. Don’t make the mistake of casually asking this and risking a lawsuit. 

How Will You Be Celebrating the Holidays?

Whatever they may be celebrating, you shouldn’t want to know about it, atleast until after they are hired! Like we pointed out before inquiring about religion is a dangerous path to lead. It could lead to a lawsuit and no one wants that before the holidays!

During the holidays all of the office talk seems to go towards religion, children, and time off – even during an interview. However if you want to improve your candidate experience and lower your chances of a lawsuit then it’s best to stick to business.

Happy Holidays!

Don’t let any of these illegal questions sneak into your interviews in 2013.

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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