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“Where are you from?” It’s an easy conversation starter and suitable in most settings except a job interview.
So too, are other common social inquiries like, “Are you married,” “When did you graduate,” or “Have I seen you at my church?” Asking a candidate the questions may signal a red flag to the prospective employee as well as signal a lack of understanding of workplace anti-discrimination laws, or worse, no concept of workplace diversity.
The above examples can lead to information about a candidate’s national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age, or religion. It is illegal to ask any questions that may illicit information about any status protected by federal, state, or local laws. The interviewer’s questions should stay focused on top-level priorities related to the job’s essential duties, such as the candidate’s work history as it pertains to the position, or availability for certain work shifts.
Other inappropriate interview questions include:
As for benefits like paid time off, a candidate should not assume they are legally entitled to them. For example, no state has passed mandatory paid vacation, so that also remains a point of negotiation. However, several states and cities have passed paid sick leave laws, and some even now include pregnancy or childbirth-related disabilities within their coverage (watch for that to be specified and explained in jurisdictions like California, Connecticut, Oregon, or Seattle and San Francisco). Make sure to put any negotiations in writing before offering the position to the candidate to avoid any future miscommunication.