addictions job interview

Questions Not to Ask in an Addictions Job Interview

Questions Not to Ask in an Addictions Job Interview

If you are a manager tasked with filling an opening in your organization, you have probably been coached on basic employment practices and the sorts of questions that definitely shouldn’t ask in an addictions job interview.  In the event that you haven’t been, here is a brief refresher.

Complying with the Laws in Job Interviews

State and Federal Laws are crystal clear that discrimination based on an applicant’s age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status or sexual orientation is illegal.  Even with addiction job, there are protected categories that prohibit you from asking about health and disabilities, citizenship, pregnancy status, military discharge status and criminal records unless they are specifically related to the occupational qualifications for the job. Potential legal problems from asking these sorts of prohibited questions include, but are not limited to, violations of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991.

Addictions Job Interview Questions

Because of the restrictions (above), there are many subjects that are off limits in a job interview and things that you simply cannot ask.  Sometimes, it comes down to how you word a question.  Other times, you just avoid addictions job interview questionsthe subject altogether.  Here are a few examples:

  • Criminal Records – Depending on the job and the crime, most convictions don’t automatically disqualify a candidate for a job.  You can’t ask an applicant if they’ve ever been arrested but you can ask if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
  • Family – Any questions with regards to family should be ruled out.  Don’t ask someone if they’re married, have children or are planning on having children.  If you want to find out about an applicant’s availability and commitment to work, ask them those specific questions instead.
  • Nationality – Again, forget it.  You can ask if an applicant is authorized to work in this country and leave it at that.  You can’t ask if they’re a citizen, where they were born or what their native language is.  You can ask if they speak any other languages if is relevant to the job.
  • Age – Don’t even go near this one, even from the sidelines or around the corner.  You shouldn’t ask what year they graduated high school or college, how long they’ve been working, or if they remember The Beatles.  Nothing.

Remember, stick to the relevant questions about the job and, if there is ever an issue, it will come down to what your intent was with regards to asking those questions so take a close look at your motives.

Being Asked Forbidden Questions In an Interview

If you are on the other side of the desk and have been asked some of these questions in a job interview, that’s unfortunate.  When these things happen, consider how you can re-direct your answers to reply to the more appropriate (and legal) version of the question.  Also consider that many cases of discrimination are not deliberate and are simply a case of hiring managers being uneducated and ignorant about the laws.  However, if you feel you have been intentionally discriminated against, you are certainly within your rights to contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  No matter what side of the addictions job interview desk you are sitting on, open dialogue with a clear and honest intent is the most beneficial.

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