Interviewing Quick Training

Key Points

  • Ask only questions that are job related and based on the job description.

  • Ask Behavioral Based Questions.

  • Do not use social media as a reference source to “check out” an applicant’s suitability.

  • Do not ask questions about: Race/Color, Gender, Religion, Age, Disability, Health, National Origin, Citizenship Status, Genetic Information, other Protected Classes.

** NOTE: "Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) defense is permissible discrimination if legally necessary for employer's particular business." BFOQs are very rare. They must be confirmed by the Human Resources and AA/EO Offices.

(Bennett-Alexander, D., & Hartman, L. (2007). Employment Law for Business. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin)

What to do:

  • When dealing with applicants who may or may not have obvious disabilities:

    • Describe the essential duties >and functions of the job.

      • Essential job functions and duties should focus on functionality not physicality.
        • Ex: Job requires moving a heavy box
          • Functionality- using a cart or dolly,

          • Physicality- bending, lifting, carrying, etc.

  • Then ask (of all applicants) "Can you perform these duties with or without reasonable accommodation if necessary?"

You may request:

  • A demonstration of how the applicant would perform the job task. (If you ask one applicant, you must ask all applicants to do the same demonstration.)

  • Information to know whether the individual may need reasonable accommodation for the interview process and/or on the job.

  • To determine if accommodation is reasonable, contact HR.

  • If someone “spills the beans" of a disability during the interview or is obviously disabled:

    • Discuss only the essential functions and how the candidate could do them if hired.

  • You can only require medical examinations or drug tests if it is job related and after the job offer has been made.


  • Do you have to tell the person why they didn't get the job?

    • Best practice: Explain why the successful candidate was hired.

  • Can you ask about a gap in the resume?

    • Yes, but it can be dangerous if it is due to health or disability. See above for instructions on dealing with that information.

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Last Updated on 7/27/12

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