JOB INTERVIEW ERRORS TO AVOID « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


CareerBuilder Publishes Annual Survey and List of Most Bizarre Hiring Interviews

According to a nationwide CareerBuilder Survey released February 22, 2018, “around half of employers (49 percent) know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good or bad fit for a position, and only 8 percent make up their mind [after] a half hour or longer.”

Presumably (and depending on the job applied for!), it would be easy to make a snap decision about an applicant who wears a Darth Vader outfit to the interview, offers the interviewer pumpkins for good energy, asks to taste the interviewer’s coffee, requests a cocktail in the interview, or breaks out in song mid-sentence.

However, properly interviewing job candidates has become increasingly difficult due to California’s regular extensions of privacy and anti-discrimination protections.

Employers must not directly or indirectly inquire about an applicant’s “protected class,” meaning a characteristic protected from federal and state employment discrimination laws including but not limited to race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status. Under such limitations, The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) provides a user-friendly Fact Sheet to assist managers in employment interviews.

Examples of topics the interviewer must avoid include:

  • Origin of a name
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Fertility/childbirth
  • Biological gender
  • Gender identity, gender expression, or medical or surgical status or procedures
  • Marital status
  • Ages and/or numbers of children or dependents
  • Generalized inquiries as to health and present medical condition(s)
  • Nationality and ancestry
  • Require a photograph after an interview but before hiring
  • Birthplace of an applicant or the applicant’s family
  • Religious affiliation, dress, practices, or lack thereof

In California particularly, it is also vital for employers to know what interviewers can and cannot ask concerning salary history information or criminal history.

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For more information, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

April 13, 2018