Interviewing represents the first step into the relationship with a potential new employee. It will set the tone for your ongoing professional relationship and lay the ground work for the candidates impression of you. While interviews are a crucial step in the hiring process, they also carry several risks that you should be mindful of. The key to executing an effective and low risk interview is all in the questions you ask and the way you present them. It is crucial that all of your questions are non-discriminatory and correlate with the essential functions, abilities, knowledge, and skills of the job being interviewed for.
Sometimes innocently asked questions can be construed as discriminatory. A red flag should always go up when asking about a person’s membership in any particular protected class such as their age or citizenship. If you must ask a question that might implicate a candidate’s membership in one of these classes, make sure that you are posing it in a way that is relevant to the job. For example, rather than asking how old a candidate is, ask if they are over eighteen. This does not require them to disclose further detail about their age but is relevant to their eligibility for employment. Similarly you may also ask, are you legally authorized to work in the US? Where asking is a person is a US citizen could be considered discriminatory. Avoiding these potentially discriminatory questions can feel intimidating. There are a multitude of protected classes and off-limits topics, however rest assured that there are ways to avoid these risks and still conduct an informative and pleasant interview.
Start by planning ahead. Decide what you specific objectives are and what questions you would like to ask. You do not have to rigidly stick to a script, however knowing your objectives and thinking ahead to what kind of questions you can ask will lay a safe ground work with thoughtful and lawful questions. A great way to develop questions that directly relate to the job competencies is to have a job description prepared. Not only will this make your question writing easier, it also provides you with a guide in the event that you get off track and do not know where to direct the interview next.
Being prepared with a job description is a great way to make sure that your questions remain relevant to the pertinent specifications of the position and accurately represent them.