Interview Questions to Avoid

While it’s important to ask effective interview questions to help find the right fit for your practice, it’s equally critical to avoid venturing into restricted areas of inquiry.  Knowing what not to ask will make you a stronger interviewer.

Interview - 2 people

You want to avoid questions that ask about the following:

  • Date of birth.
  • Maiden name and/or previous married name.
  • Marital status and/or name of spouse.
  • Number of children and ages.
  • Child care arrangements.
  • Garnishment of wages.
  • Arrest record.
  • Ancestry.
  • National origin and race.
  • Age or sex.
  • Religion.
  • Disabilities.

It is a good sign if you look at the list and everything seems like common sense.  However, it’s still easy to make mistakes.  For example, if your practice sometimes sees late emergencies and you want to make sure the applicant can stay late, you might ask, “Do you have someone who can watch you kids if we have to see a late emergency?”  Even though you may have genuine concern about the disruption of working late, this question is one to avoid because it concerns children and child care arrangements.

Interview - post it

Even if applicants volunteer information about restricted areas of inquiry such as where they go to church or how long they have been married, as an interviewer you want to avoid asking additional questions about those topics.  Instead, reply with a polite comment such as “that’s nice” and move on to another question.

Even though you have some rules to navigate, you can still conduct insightful interviews.  And by avoiding the topics listed above, you will have more time to focus on job-related qualifications.

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