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HR-110 Interviewing


Interviews for staff employment, transfer, or promotion will be conducted in a manner that complies with the University's commitment to equal employment opportunity to ensure that qualified candidates are not discriminated against in employment decisions on the basis of irrelevant criteria such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, protected veteran status, or other status protected by applicable state or federal law. Interview questions that are not relevant to the applicant's ability to perform the job and that are based on protected status are not consistent with the University’s commitment to equal employment opportunity and may increase risks of legal liability.

If any part of this policy does not reflect the Collected Rules and Regulations (CRR), the provisions of the CRR will govern.

HR Policy Provisions

  1. Employment and Promotional Interviewing
    1. Individuals conducting employment or promotional interviews shall:
      1. ask the same core, job-related questions of all candidates to ensure consistency of treatment and comparability of responses among those interviewed
      2. not ask any questions which are not relevant to the applicant's ability to perform the job.
    2. Information not relevant to job performance which is required for post-employment or promotion should be obtained after the applicant has been selected for employment or promotion but prior to hiring or promotion.
  2. Guidelines
    1. During employment or promotional interviews, questions that involve protected status and have no bearing on the applicant's ability to do the job, may be viewed as evidence of intent to discriminate and may discourage individuals from pursuing employment with the University. Individuals conducting interviews should be aware that: Comments may be viewed as discriminatory regardless of the intent of the person making the comment.
    2. If a candidate volunteers irrelevant information in the course of an interview, the hiring supervisor should immediately indicate to the individual that the information is not relevant to the ability to perform the job, and will not be considered in the hiring decision.
    3. The following examples of interview areas are taken from information provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.
      • These areas are representative of the type of interview questions which, if not relevant to the applicant's job performance ability, may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or other laws aimed at achieving equal employment opportunity for all.

The following statements serve as a guide to help evaluate questions that may be viewed as discriminatory or otherwise inconsistent with the University’s commitment to ensure equal employment opportunity.

  Examples of Questions to Avoid Examples of Appropriate Questions
Name What is your maiden name? Have you ever legally changed your name? Are there other names under which you have worked that should be used to verify your academic credentials or prior work references?
Age How old are you? How many years before you plan to retire? Are you 18 years of age or older? What are your career goals?
Birthplace Where were you born? Where were your parents born? Are you eligible to work in the United States?
Citizenship Do you hold citizenship in any country other than the United States? Are you eligible to work in the United States?
Physical Characteristics How tall are you? How much do you weigh? What color are your eyes or hair? What is your race? Can you perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation?
Health/Disability What is your medical history? What medications are you taking? Do you have any disabilities? What are your disabilities? How will your disabilities affect your performance? Have you ever filed a Workers' Compensation claim against a former employer? Can you perform the essential functions of this job with or without reasonable accommodation?
Marital Status Are you married, single, divorced, separated, widowed? Are you living with anyone? No appropriate questions with regard to marital status.
Family Where does your spouse work? Are you the primary wage-earner for your family? Are you pregnant? Do you plan to have children? Do you have children? What are your child care arrangements? No appropriate questions with regard to family.
Relatives What are the names of your closest relatives or friends? Are you related to anyone employed by the University of Missouri, or to a member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators?
National Origin What is your lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, parentage, nationality, or the nationality of your parents or spouse? Are you eligible to work in the United States?
Religion What is your religious affiliation? What holidays do you observe? Are you available to work on the days and shifts expected of this position?
Language What is your native language? What language do you speak at home? What is your fluency level in the language(s) required to effectively perform this job?
Financial Status How is your credit history? Have you ever declared bankruptcy? Have your wages ever been garnished? Questions regarding financial status are usually not job related so should generally be considered inappropriate. Consult with HR concerning appropriate questions in instances in which financial status may be job related.
Military Service Was your discharge honorable or dishonorable? Why did you serve with a foreign military? What training or experience that you gained in your military service is relevant to this job?
Organizations Are you a member of any social clubs, fraternities, sororities, lodges, teams, or religious organizations? Are you a member of any professional, trade, or service associations that are directly related to the requirements of this job?
Criminal History Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If so, is the nature of the conviction relevant to this job?
Substance Abuse Do you have a history of alcohol or drug addiction? What medications are you currently taking? Do you currently use any illegal substances, or any legal substances illegally?
Salary Level What is the lowest salary you will accept? Are you interested in the position at the level it is budgeted?
References What is the name of your pastor or religious leader? What is the name of an individual who would serve as a character reference?

See Also

CRR 600.010: Equal Employment/Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy
HR-102 Equal Opportunity Program

Date Created: 09/26/1997
Updated: 07/01/2000, 04/01/2005; 02/01/2021

Reviewed 2021-03-17