Interviewing in America
What you should know before interviewing candidates for a job in the US
If you’re looking to hire a worker in the US, it’s important to follow certain rules during the hiring process to avoid discriminating against potential employees.
America has a well-deserved reputation for being litigious and there are many pitfalls to interviewing. It’s easy to get it wrong — for example just by failing to ask all applicants the same questions.
To avoid being embroiled in a lawsuit, make sure you plan interview questions that closely align with the job description. This will help avoid inadvertently asking questions that could be viewed as discriminatory.
Questions relating to religion, age, sex, marital status, country of origin or any other legally protected category can violate state and federal laws in the US. Topics to avoid include:
- age and birthdate
- arrest record (suspected criminal activity that has been documented)
- family structure (whether someone is married or has children)
- physical or mental status
- military status
- national origin
- religious beliefs
- pregnancy or medical history
There are three things to find out about a candidate when hiring – whether they can do what you need them to, whether they’ll fit in with everyone else and how much they want the job. So when planning your questions, make sure they relate to these areas. And remember that some of the best questions are open-ended.
- describe a time when you’ve had to multitask at a job
- can you tell me about a manager or colleague that you didn’t get on with? How did you handle the situation?
- describe a past report, presentation or project that you are proud of
- tell me about the most difficult experience you had at a past job
- describe a past group project. How would you describe your role in that team?
If you want to employ workers in the USA, Foothold America can help you through each step of the hiring process, including interviewing candidates.