What Can You Legally Ask Employment Candidates? Three Things You Need To Know

Employers who want to hire the very best candidates for their companies want to gather as much information as they can before choosing a new hire. It is important to know which questions you can ask and which ones are forbidden before you start interviewing. This can keep you out of legal trouble while ensuring you are able to get the information needed to make an informed hiring decision. Here are a few things you need to know about interviewing applicants.

Ban The Box States

A movement to prevent employers from asking whether or not employment candidates have a criminal history has gained some traction in several states. The "Ban the Box" movement seeks to give job applicants with a criminal past a better chance at finding gainful employment by banning employers from asking about a criminal past. The movement is named after the box on job applications that asks about criminal histories. Make sure that your business is not located in one of the 13 states or multiple municipalities that have banned this question from hiring practices so you can avoid legal and civil consequences. Your employment screening company can make sure that your job applications don't violate these new laws.

ADA Compliance

While you may already know that you can't ask an applicant if he or she has a disability, you may not be prepared for how to handle an interview after a candidate has self-identified as being disabled. You can ask if a candidate is able to perform duties as assigned with or without reasonable accommodation, but inquiring about specifics of the disability can cause potential issues if you decide against hiring that candidate. Stick to asking only the questions allowed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and if the applicant continues to talk about his or her disability, steer the conversation in another direction.

Pregnancy And Children

As an employer, you may want to know whether or not an employee is likely to miss time due to pregnancy or family obligations. While this information may be useful to you, it is not legal for you to ask. Several laws, including the ADA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act all provide protection from these types of questions. If a candidate brings up a children or a pregnancy, this information can't be used to make a hiring determination. Avoid discussing the issue and stick to discussing the job and its requirements.

Use An Employment Screening Company To Remain Compliant

Employment laws can change fairly regularly, and it may be difficult for you and your human resources department to keep up to date with the laws. An employment screening company can help you remain compliant by creating a job application that asks the appropriate questions and helping you to screen applicants. This makes it easy to avoid asking the wrong questions while still getting all the information you need to make sound hiring decisions.

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