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Old 09-10-2018, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Southeast Texas
747 posts, read 1,211,080 times
Reputation: 571

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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
Sorry, but none of those questions are illegal. Some of them are not wise, but they are not "illegal. "

I know a lady who was asked by the interviewer what she would do if if the interviewer gave her an elephant.

https://employment.findlaw.com/hirin...pplicants.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymu.../#2981a75c191f

According to those two links, some of the questions are actually illegal.

About the elephant question - what is the purpose of that one? LOL
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Southeast Texas
747 posts, read 1,211,080 times
Reputation: 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsthetime View Post
"If you could sing any song on American Idol, which one would it be?"
I guess the correct answer isn't "Uh I have no idea - what is American Idol?" huh? I've never actually seen the show.
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:54 AM
 
9,778 posts, read 16,990,740 times
Reputation: 18395
Quote:
Originally Posted by pnc66 View Post
https://employment.findlaw.com/hirin...pplicants.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymu.../#2981a75c191f

According to those two links, some of the questions are actually illegal.

About the elephant question - what is the purpose of that one? LOL
People -- including folks in HR -- throw the word "illegal" around when what they actually mean is inappropriate. I can legally ask you anything that I want to. My response to that information may be illegal, but the question itself is not. There are some minefields you should not dance in, but that doesn't make it illegal.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:11 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,815 posts, read 54,486,657 times
Reputation: 31124
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
People -- including folks in HR -- throw the word "illegal" around when what they actually mean is inappropriate. I can legally ask you anything that I want to. My response to that information may be illegal, but the question itself is not. There are some minefields you should not dance in, but that doesn't make it illegal.
Exactly, and it's a shame that articles like those linked are misleading. There is no illegal question, the law is preventing discrimination. Those questions could be considered evidence of discrimination, but asking them is not illegal, just stupid.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:56 AM
 
8,978 posts, read 8,112,623 times
Reputation: 19497
Lets look at some of the questions most often asked, and why they are asked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pnc66 View Post

Tell me about yourself...

When interviewing a person you are not wanting to find if they can do the work. Interviewer is trying to find out a little about you, and looking at you as an individual, and looking to understand if you would fit in with other employees.


Why should/would we hire you?

If you cannot tell them a good reason to hire you, and how you would fit in with the company, then you are not the one that will get the job.

What is your greatest weakness?
Tell me about a time you failed miserably and what did you learn from it?

Both questions are to see how you can think on your feet. If you just stutter and stammer when asked such questions and cannot come up with a reasonable answer it is a sign you get flustered when something such as a problem comes up. The company wants someone that is able to think and give a reasonable answer.

What can you tell me about our company?

This question is to try to find out if you are considering the company and are seeking a job with a company they are a little familiar with, or someone just throwing out resumes and application to every company with no knowledge of the company or really want to work with the company.

Why have you had so many different career paths?
If you have had a lot of non related jobs, but just lots of jobs of any type that you can earn a paycheck from, you are not a favorable applicant. They are asking this question to find out if there is some reason they can considering hiring you.

Questions that are not about if you can do the job, are just as important as the job related ones. Unless they are hiring someone to work by themselves in a room completely detached from other people, you have to react with other employees, and/or customers. How you will react with them, is just as or more important than do you have the ability to do the job itself.

How you answer the non job questions when there are several candidates that can do the job very well, become more important to get you the job, than the job related questions.
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:38 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn,NY
10,614 posts, read 13,157,404 times
Reputation: 16173
I had one interview where an interviewer asked me about ny previous job. After I answered he asked me why I got fired. I never got fired, left on my own due to a sale and reorganization. Went on 4 more interviews with the same company, took unpaid time off my present job. Had to call to follow up and find out they hired somone else. Huge waste of time.
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Southeast Texas
747 posts, read 1,211,080 times
Reputation: 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
People -- including folks in HR -- throw the word "illegal" around when what they actually mean is inappropriate. I can legally ask you anything that I want to. My response to that information may be illegal, but the question itself is not. There are some minefields you should not dance in, but that doesn't make it illegal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Exactly, and it's a shame that articles like those linked are misleading. There is no illegal question, the law is preventing discrimination. Those questions could be considered evidence of discrimination, but asking them is not illegal, just stupid.
Okay, we'll go with inappropriate instead of illegal. Thank you both for the explanation.

I'm honestly curious - if the answers to those types of questions can be used to discriminate against an applicant, what is the purpose of asking the questions in the first place?
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:33 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,815 posts, read 54,486,657 times
Reputation: 31124
Quote:
Originally Posted by pnc66 View Post
Okay, we'll go with inappropriate instead of illegal. Thank you both for the explanation.

I'm honestly curious - if the answers to those types of questions can be used to discriminate against an applicant, what is the purpose of asking the questions in the first place?
First, the discrimination laws only apply to employers with 15 or more employees, so some of these questions may have been asked by "mom and pop" companies, or people that were a very small business and failed to change their habits after growing.



I have been a hiring manager for a long time, and until 1978 it was not illegal to discriminate against a pregnant woman. As a young supervisor in 1976 I would not have hired a young woman that was pregnant, because of the high likelihood that she would be taking significant time off before even finishing the 6 months probation. After the law passed, we changed that question to "is there anything in your personal life that would prevent you from being here on time every day?" with the hope that they would volunteer information. Currently, I have an employee that I hired in May who is due a month before probation is completed. because of the law, we just have to deal with it, and extend her probation by the time she is off. The babysitting and child sickness questions are also meant to determine whether the person is going to be taking a lot of time off. Now, we have FMLA and in our state, additional protections with a "family care act".
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:23 PM
 
2,614 posts, read 2,245,375 times
Reputation: 4894
What animal would you be?

And to top it off the person was visibly upset after I answered and this was after one of the best interviews I have ever had. We even talked salary. It was also the very last question. After I answered and the guy got upset, he ended the interview right then.

The questions are meaningless and any person who bases their opinion of another person from questions like these is just plain dumb. There is no way you could ever know the reason why someone answered the way they did.

I definitely dodged a bullet with this one. I can't imagine what working for this guy would have been like.

A friend of mine was asked to explain the color of his shirt?

He didn't get the job, I guess he didn't answer the shirt question correct, lol.

Last edited by High Altitude; 09-13-2018 at 09:32 PM..
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Old 09-14-2018, 05:12 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn,NY
10,614 posts, read 13,157,404 times
Reputation: 16173
Quote:
Originally Posted by High Altitude View Post
What animal would you be?

And to top it off the person was visibly upset after I answered and this was after one of the best interviews I have ever had. We even talked salary. It was also the very last question. After I answered and the guy got upset, he ended the interview right then.

The questions are meaningless and any person who bases their opinion of another person from questions like these is just plain dumb. There is no way you could ever know the reason why someone answered the way they did.

I definitely dodged a bullet with this one. I can't imagine what working for this guy would have been like.

A friend of mine was asked to explain the color of his shirt?

He didn't get the job, I guess he didn't answer the shirt question correct, lol.
These types of questions are sometimes used by more laid back interviewers just to see about personality and sense of humor, (like asking who your favorite Star Wars character is and why) The case you mentioned though seems more like some weird quirk with the interviewer themselves. You did dodge a bullet with that guy. If he got upset because you did not agree the Liger is the most elegant animal in the world, imagine how it would be working with him almost daily.
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