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Illegal Interview Questions: Holidays Edition

Posted by Erin Borgerson on December 11, 2012

The snow is falling (unless you live in the Chicago) the decorations are hung, and theillegal interview questions 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.

illegal interview questions guide

Erin Borgerson is the Marketing Coordinator/Tweeter/Crisis Controller/Culture Ambassador (the last two titles she gave to herself) for Hireology, a web-based selection management platform that provides customized interviews, job profiling, and one-click background checks to help you hire the right person through their Selection Manager. Start your free trial at www.Hireology.com today!

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Erin Borgerson

About the Author

Erin is the Director of Marketing, Crisis Controller and Culture Ambassador (the last two titles she gave to herself) who joined the Hireology team in April of 2012. As a certified Inbound Marketer, Erin manages Hireology's marketing department, the Hireology Blog, and media relations. She is also a co-leader of the Chicago Hubspot User Group which brings together Hubspot users from around the Chicagoland area. Erin set off to Chicago after graduating from Western Michigan University. In her spare time she can be found shaking it in a Zumba class, reading a bestseller, or drinking a craft beer on her Wrigleyville porch.