In an interview, it’s all about the questions.The conversation is pretty much a standard question-and-answer format for the most part. But there are some questions that should not be asked because it is illegal to do so. Federal and state anti-discrimination laws are designed to get you hired based on your skills, not a stereotype.
Doostang recently posted a list of Ten Questions You Should Never Be Asked In An Interview. It’s a clear list of questions that could be discriminatory and the possible “fair” questions that would be similar. The basic categories are simple:
Who you are — your race, national origin, disabilities, age, gender, marital/parental status. These things should not affect your job in themselves, although being eligible to work in this country (national origin) or capable of doing the job with/without accommodation (disability, age) can be fair questions.
What background you have — bankruptcy, arrest records, type of military discharges might come up in a security check, but they should have disclaimers or be part of a credit check you approve. They shouldn’t be reasons not to hire you.
Which groups you belong to — political, social, religious groups or unions; if the employer is a religious association, they can give preference to those belonging to their religion, but for the most part, it shouldn’t be asked. Job-related groups like professional associations are different.
There are many reasons an inappropriate question comes up during an interview. Often, it has nothing to do with wrong motives. The interviewer is just unaware they crossed a line. Your response can be professional, tactful, and firm without creating more problems. Try answering in the form of how it affects your job. “I am able to fill all the requirements of this position” sounds a lot better than “That is a discriminatory question! You have no right to ask me that!” Of course, if they push it, you could go there if it’s clear you are dealing with discrimination. But be professional, tactful, and firm about it and you’ll have a better response. It is important to be prepared for potentially discriminatory questions, and that is part of your interviewing skills. There are a number of helpful posts when you follow the link, and each one will give you good advice. Professional Resume Services has a goal: we want to see you go through the interview successfully and get the job you want!
How to Deal With (and prevent) Discrimination Against Primary Caregivers
It seems unbelievable to me that Americans are still faced with employment discrimination when we there are so many other options available. While once rampant discrimination was perpetrated based on race, sex or religious affiliation, today one of the worst forms of discrimination is discrimination against primary caregivers (a.k.a. parents and children of sick/aging parents). Many people do not realize that there are several different kinds of primary caregiver discrimination. Learning the different types of discrimination that are practiced against primary caregivers is the best way to learn how to prevent it. In some cases, there are laws that help prevent primary caregiver discrimination. These laws often include not only those who care of their children, but also those who care for a sick or aging parent as well a sick spouse. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed. Under this act, specifically Title VII, primary caregiver discrimination is declared illegal. The law gives primary caregivers protection without declaring them a ‘protected class.’ It is also true that women are the primary targets of this type of discrimination. This is because gender stereotyping is still rearing its ugly head, making many people assume that only women can be primary caregivers. This stereotyping can lead to an additional kind of discrimination against women. Some companies will refuse to hire young married women – specifically because there is a high chance that those same young women will soon have children and thus become a primary caregiver.
Preventing discrimination against primary caregivers is a tricky matter. The truth is no company would refuse to hire a primary caregiver and give that as the cause. Instead they will site lack of experience or even too much experience. Companies that have successfully implemented a program of primary caregiver discrimination prevention have typically taken one step: they disallow interviewers or hiring managers from asking questions designed to determine if a particular candidate is or will become a primary caregiver.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC has developed a list of guidelines specifically aimed at preventing discrimination against primary caregivers. These are merely guidelines and not legally binding, but it’s still important to know and perhaps implementing a similar program might ensure that a company is not actively discriminating. The following is what the list includes:
Develop a list of qualifications for each open position
Focus only on a candidates abilities, strengths and weaknesses
Actively recruit primary caregivers
Engage in careful review programs to monitor performance and compensation evaluations
Whenever possible offer flex time as an option for employees
Remember: an employer IS NOT ALLOWED TO discriminate against primary caregivers. Because of the prevalence of lawsuits, employers are recommended to follow the guidelines set forth by the EEOC and to actively monitor their hiring practices as well as the terms and conditions of employment. Primary caregiver discrimination is still a problem today, but it doesn’t have to be.
Reasons job seekers don't get a job (that no employer will admit to)
Let’s face it – legal or not,discrimination is still alive and well in the job market. While most forms of discrimination are illegal, when there are many qualified applicants for a job, certain things may knock you out as a candidate even before you have a chance to prove yourself. Here are some of the types of discrimination job seekers face, and how you can combat them. Family – To put it bluntly, married applicants with children are something of a liability. They take more time off work, expect to earn more, need more insurance, and often place their priority on family, rather than career. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if an employer is forced to choose between a married, and unmarried applicant, it’s an easy choice as far as money is concerned. Make sure that you keep all family information as private as possible in an interview. Employers can’t legally ask your marital status, so don’t volunteer anything you don’t have to. Force them to choose based on merit, rather than on convenience. Gender – There is a lot of gender discrimination going on in the workplace, but not in the way many would assume. Sometimes an employer will bring their own preconceptions into an interview. For example, some employers prefer female employees because they’re viewed as more personable, dependable, and statistically, women are less likely to ask for raises. Some employers prefer male employees, because they think they will be more aggressive, and more willing to take charge of projects. If possible, show up to the interview early, and try to meet a few people in the office if anyone is accessible. Get a feel for the gender mix and the personality type of the employees that already work there, and do your best to project that personality in the interview. Age –Young or old, there are a lot of hang-ups employers have in regard to age. Every employer wants someone who’s there to work long-term, because training a new employee is an expensive investment. If you’re very young, you may not have much experience, but what the interviewer will really be looking for is you potential anyway. They may not be keen on hearing that you intend to return to college, or that you are planning on getting married soon – these are all things that could make you leave. Never volunteer more information about your personal life than absolutely necessary. Also, if you are reaching social security age, make it clear that this *is* your retirement, and that you have no plans to stop working any time soon.
Education – Often, a college degree means absolutely nothing in terms of how prepared you are for a job, but it does show that you are educated, not to mention able to make it through four years of disciplined study. Those without a degree will have to work twice as hard to seem more educated than their degreed peers, and that means going the extra mile. If you don’t have a degree, make sure your resume includes plenty of relevant educational experience, like managerial training, classes you’ve taken, and specific work training courses. It may also help to work with a public speaking coach for a few sessions, in order to help you articulate yourself well, and maybe even quash a strong dialect, if you have one. Dress is also important. Having an off-the-rack suit tailored for you is a cheap and good way to look well put together. If you look affluent and successful, it will help remove the stigma that those without a college degree are doomed to be stuck in blue collar jobs.
Regardless of the job you’re looking for, do your research. Get a feel for the company, and try to look at as many current employees as you can. Try to find any common threads between them, and use that to your advantage. If nothing else, the more you look like you already belong in the office, the easier it will be for the employer to imagine you as part of the team.