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What Questions Should Never Be Asked During an Employee Interview in Massachusetts

A. Here is a list of things that employers should not ask in an interview:

1. Do not ask questions about age. Alternative: Request education transcripts.

2. Do not ask if a prospective employee has a disability or a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Alternative: Ask if the prospective employee requests a reasonable accommodation.

3. Never ask about a candidate's race.

4. Never ask about religion or participation in religious activities. Alternative: Consider inquiring as to professional associations.

5. If an issue arises as to citizenship do not ask what country are you from or about someone's accent. Alternative: If hired, can the prospective employee provide documentation that they are eligible to work in the United States.

6. Do not ask about financial issues, per se. Alternative: Request that the prospective employee provides you with consent necessary to do a credit check.

7. As to status in the military don't ask about the status or military service. Alternative: Ask how the experience in the military is relevant to the employment position currently sought by the candidate.

8. On the issue of appearance and grooming, there are certain religions and cultural differences that affect a person's appearance. You may need to make an accommodation if a worker's religion requires a specific hairstyle or appearance. Depending on the situation, a call to legal counsel may be required to discuss the nuances of any such situation.

9. Do not ask if someone has been arrested. Alternative: Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Make sure that if the answer is yes that you mention that any such criminal record will not automatically disqualify that candidate from employment.

B. Here is a list of things that a prospective employee should not ask in an interview:

10. When will I be promoted? On this one, the cart is before the horse. Alternative: How does one get promoted within this department?

11. What is the salary for this position? Not a good question to ask in the first interview, particularly. Wait until a later round to open such a discussion.

12. When can I expect a raise? Same issue as number 10. Approach this issue from the standpoint of what does it take to work up to a higher level of compensation.

13. What sort of flextime options does your company have? This question is asked often and is not one you want to ask as it suggests that you are more interested in leaving work than working.

14. Any questions that show you have not been listening. Nothing is more irritating to human resources than to have a perspective employee ask a question to which the answer has already been given. Alternative: According to my notes and excuse me if this has been asked previously…

If you have any further questions about the interview process, please feel free to reach out to us at the Katz Law Group at 508-480-8202

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