The Interview - What Questions Can Employers Ask?

Recruiting applicants and interviewing new applicants is critical to running a successful business and staying ahead of the competition.  I think this is one area that many companies do not spend enough time thinking about, training their managers about, and tracking how effective managers are in hiring good people.  As noted on Guy Kawasaki's blog, one of his readers provides a very detailed explanation of the interview process at Hewlett Packard.  This is a must read for any human resources manager establishing a protocol for interviewing new applicants.  It is obvious that HP knows how critical interviews are for determining fit within the company, and have given the process a lot of thought. 

Managers conducting the interviews should also be well trained in what is and what is not acceptable to ask during an interview.  Below is a short list of a few subjects and the acceptable and unacceptable questions for those subjects under the law.  A more complete chart "General List of Acceptable Interview Subject and Questions" can be downloaded here.

Subject Acceptable Unacceptable
Name Name Maiden Name
Residence Place of residence Questions regarding renting or owning.
Age Statements that hire is subject to verification that applicants meet legal age requirements. • Age
• Birth date
• Date of attendance/completion of
school
• Questions which tend to identify applicants over 40