HR Biz


Don't Say That In the Interview

As the job market outlook improves for those seeking employment it becomes critical to be a savvy owner and identify the best talent for your company.  The process itself can be unnerving in some ways when the investment is calculated and hinges on your best judgment in a short window of time.


Recruitment and hiring dos and don’ts are often the furthest thing from a small business owner’s mind when looking to shore up the staff. Everyone is familiar with the big job boards or the good old fashioned sign in the window to attract some applicants.  Hopefully that translates into at least a few qualified individuals to choose from.

Now that you have reached the moment to see who might be the right fit, let’s look at the potential pitfalls during the interview conversation.
These may present themselves in very innocent phrases or questions that can lead to future issues or even legal troubles.

The conversation goes something like this –


Interviewer:    Good Morning Mrs. Smith.
Candidate:      Good Morning.  It’s Ms Smith, I’m not married. 
Interviewer:    I’m sorry my mistake. How are you?  Hopefully
                       traffic wasn’t too bad on your way in.
Candidate:      Not too bad since I was riding instead of driving.
                        Today my boyfriend dropped me off after taking the
                        kids to school and daycare since my car is in the shop
Interviewer:   Wow! Sounds like a busy morning already. Well let’s get
                       to it and discuss the job duties and your
                      qualifications so we don’t hold you up too long….

If this seems like 2 minutes of telling information and red flags it may very well may be the case.  More importantly however is the fact that there’s nothing in this exchange to justify you cutting the interview short or eliminating the candidate.  Should you decide to move in another direction and somehow get challenged on your decision factors, the last things to mention would be the candidate’s marital or transportation status and childcare arrangements. Our instinct and human nature should not be the basis of decisions with potential legal consequences and costs.

There are clear guidelines on what items are fair game to ask candidates about and which ones should be avoided no matter how much it seems like a fair and legitimate question to determine “best fit”.  Keep in mind that “at will” employment is not a pardon for discriminatory behavior no matter how innocent the intention may be.

These types of issues should not be a deterrent to pursuing some necessary steps in the growth and development of your business.  Instead they point to the necessity to carefully plan for those next steps that may take you outside of your comfort zone or area of expertise.

Nicole MitchellComment