Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Common stereotypes to avoid during job interviews

Yesterday, we took a look at some general dos and don'ts to keep in mind when conducting job interviews. Today, we'll delve a little deeper on the same topic, and examine some unconscious stereotypes that can unwittingly taint the interview process

The following are some examples of general stereotypes that could unintentionally pervade an interview and create liability problems under the employment discrimination laws:

  • Stereotypes in the advertising for candidates (i.e., "young grad").
  • Applicant's appearance makes him/her seem unable to do the job.
  • Not hiring or promoting married women because they are not "primary earners".
  • Refusing to hire or promote pregnant women, unwed mothers, or women with pre-school age children.
  • Minimum height and weight requirements.
  • People with disabilities and women will be absent more than other workers.
  • Older workers have "peaked" or run out of gas therefore do not hire or promote.
  • Younger people have high energy levels and are very open to learning new technology.
  • She was "macho", needs to take a course in charm school. She should walk more femininely, and talk more femininely.
  • Disabled individuals should be deemed candidates for short term employment only.
  • Assuming women don't have physical strength.
  • Women and minorities cannot do a job or do not want certain jobs.
  • Candidates who are shy during the interview, will not perform well on the job.

Some of these examples are more obvious than others. Educating interviewers about yesterday's and today's pointers will go a long way towards preventing unconscious biases from tainting an interview and making what could have been an otherwise lawful hiring decision appear unlawful.