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How to Conduct a Legal Job Interview

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

If your business is growing, at some point you are going to need to recruit help. However, the job hiring process can be filled with legal pitfalls for those who are not prepared. So you will definitely need to know how to conduct a job interview.

Depending upon the job, a lot of employers take different approaches to the interview. Some employers may require the prospective employee to actually perform the job while others may ask vague questions about someone's strengths and weaknesses.

Regardless of your tact, you should keep the following tips in mind.

  1. Advertisements and Recruitment. Even before the job interview, you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit based on your ad. You should avoid ads that have a discriminatory preference. For example, you should not look for "young and dynamic" workers or "recent college grads" as these could all discriminate on age.

  2. Interview Questions. There's a thin line between informal chit-chat and discriminatory questions. In everyday life, it may be acceptable to ask someone whether they are married, how old they are, and if they have any children. It may even be okay to ask someone their race and ethnicity. However, these questions should be avoided during the job interview. Instead, you should focus on questions directly related to the job.

  3. Pre-Employment Tests. It's increasingly common for employers to have applicants take a test prior to employment. It's also increasingly common for employers to be sued for such tests. You must make sure that these pre-employment tests relate to job specific requirements. Otherwise you could be sued for discrimination, even if you had no discriminatory intent.

  4. Background Checks. What better way to see if an applicant is lying or not than by conducting a background check? Just be aware that while most public information is fair game, state background check laws may prohibit employers from accessing certain types of information like criminal records, military records, and medical history.

Keep these tips in mind on how to conduct a job interview. Running a business is hard enough without having to worry about being sued during the hiring process. If you have any specific questions about hiring, you may want to talk to an employment attorney.

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