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Three Questions to Keep Your Interviews Legal

Kennedy's Column

Here is a quick check you can use on your favorite interview questions to make sure they are legal. There are three criteria to consider when deciding whether or not to ask a question in an interview:

1. Is it job related? Have you prepared a well thought-out Job/Candidate Profile ahead of the interview? It should identify the Essential Functions in the job and requirements for a successful candidate.

2. Is my intent positive? What is your intent in asking this question? For example, seeking to accommodate a person with disabilities is a positive intent rather than seeking otherwise illegal information.

3. Is it fair to all? Does it fairly consider all candidates without excluding a certain kind of person?

If "yes" to all three criteria ­ use the question. But remember ­ When in doubt, leave it out." In other words, if you are not sure whether a question is legal, you are better off not asking it.