When your small business venture grows beyond what you can handle on your own and it's time to hire employees, you need to know what to expect from the hiring process. Becoming an employer comes with a whole new set of legal expectations and insurance requirements, and knowing your boundaries is essential. Here's a look at a few common interview questions that can lead to a discrimination case and the potential for a significant liability expense.
How Much Longer Will You Work Before Retirement?
Even new employers typically understand that you cannot ask a job candidate their age. However, some people may consider a question like this to be a reasonable alternative. The truth is, a question like this can get you in just as much trouble. A candidate's retirement plans have no bearing on his or her ability to do their job. It is, however, permissible to ask a candidate if they are over the age of 18, because that can speak directly to their eligibility for employment. You can also ask about any long-term goals, because that gives you insight into a would-be employee's ambition and motivation.
Will You Be Deploying With the Reserves?
A question like this, while seemingly innocent, can actually be problematic in an interview. When you directly question someone's military affiliation, you put your company in a position to appear discriminatory. The only thing you can legally ask about any military history is how their military experience could be useful in the role you're hiring for, and you can only ask that if the candidate addresses their military history on the application. If you are concerned about a candidate being called for deployment, you can legally ask if there are any upcoming events or other commitments that may interfere with the individual's ability to do their job.
How Much Debt Do You Have?
Even if you're hiring for a position that requires cash management or accounting skills, you cannot legally ask a candidate if he or she is in debt. If you have concerns about money management, trustworthiness or other similar issues, you can legally ask the candidate to sign an authorization for a consumer credit check. This report tells you how well he or she manages money and fulfills those responsibilities, but must be done with the individual's consent.
Although you might think that any of these questions could be a legitimate alternative to other prohibited questions, it is important to understand why these are not permissible either. With this information and the help of a business insurance agent, you can make the transition to employer with confidence.
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