What Not to Ask in an Interview

At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) one concern that we hear repeatedly from our membership is how to hire the best people for your practice. Oftentimes there is information about a perspective employee that you feel would be helpful to know for the smooth-running of your practice but during the interview process certain topics become a landmine of legality. There are some questions that are illegal to ask. If you have any doubts about the legality of a particular question, you should consult an attorney who is familiar with labor laws. Below are some common questions not to ask and suggestions for how to legally get the information you are looking for:

No: Are you married? Do you have children? What are your childcare arrangements?

Yes: Are you willing to travel? Are you available to work overtime? Would you be willing to relocate?

No: Are you a U.S. citizen?

Yes: Are you authorized to work in the U.S.?

No: How old are you? When did you graduate from college?

Yes: Are you over the age of 18? Tell me about your education.

No: How tall are you? How much do you weigh?

Yes: Are you able to lift a 50 pound weight and carry it 100 yards (questions about height and weight are only acceptable if there are certain minimum requirements essential to safely performing a specific job).

No: Have you ever been arrested?

Yes: Have you ever been convicted of (fill in the blank of a specific crime that must be reasonably related to the job the applicant is applying for)?

No: Do you have any disabilities? Have you had any recent illnesses or operations?

Yes: Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job with or without reasonable accommodations? (This assumes that the interviewer has described in detail what those essential functions are.)

Again, when in doubt about a particular topic or question it’s better to check with an attorney first.

Hiring top notch employees is one of many topics that members of IPED are able to learn about in the exchange of ideas and experiences between podiatric professionals at all stages of their careers that is a key part of our mission. To learn more about IPED, contact our Executive Director, Ruth Ann Donahue, by calling: 978-296-7634.