Now that you’re a big, important manager, you’ll probably be called on to interview job candidates. Despite what the experts in Human Resources and Legal say (cough — who cares — cough), the whole issue of what constitutes legal and illegal lines of questioning is blown waayyy out of proportion. Some people are just too uptight.
Nonetheless, here are a few things you might want to say to reassure job candidates that you’re “in sync” with HR and Legal on those touchy topics:
I just want to let you know that we wouldn’t mind hiring a really old person such as yourself. Your generation has done so much for our country, particularly in World War I. The fact that you even showed up today is pretty amazing, when you think about it. I mean, your kids are probably on Social Security by now, right? Ha-ha. No, but seriously — I know you probably didn’t even get that joke, and that’s okay, because I know you’re a little slow mentally. I just want you to know that we’re willing to sacrifice productivity a bit by hiring you. Can I call you Grandpa?
I wanted to let you know that this company does not discriminate against short people. Because if we did, that would be extremely bad for you, because you’re really, really short. Do people ever come up to you and pat you on the head, or try to rub you for good luck? I think that would be totally uncool. I had a cousin who was about your size. He was in the circus. He made a pretty good living too. Did you ever think about joining the circus? As short as you are? Man, you could make some serious jack. Anyway, just wanted to make it clear that you won’t be discriminated against here.
So, I see you’re wearing a dress that totally covers up your arms and neck and cleavage and stuff. Very — what’s the word — Amish. Are you Amish? If so, that’s totally cool. You guys make great candles. Also, we might suddenly decide to build a big barn! We don’t discriminate against weird religions here. You can be anything you want, and we still might hire you anyway. Over in the mailroom, I think we’ve even hired a couple of guys who were Hindu or Muslim or something — I kid you not! You’re not Mormon, are you? I’ve seen Big Love. That multiple wives thing? That just creeps me out. Anyway, we value diversity here — I just wanted to make that perfectly clear.
By addressing these sensitive topics head-on rather than letting them be the elephant in the room, you’ll put candidates at ease. Take charge, and remember: there are no bad questions — only bad answers!