interview questionsIn my last article, I went over some interview questions you should never ask. Remember all it takes is one person to lodge a complaint and your dental practice will suffer.

Let's go through a few more illegal interview questions and what you should ask instead:

What languages do you speak fluently? This is one of those borderline questions. Only ask it to a candidate if you are going to ask it to everyone – and if there is a business reason for it. If having a bilingual hygienist is important based upon the demographics of your immediate area, then make sure it is in the job description as a preferred skill. And be sure to ask everyone not just the candidates of Hispanic descent.

Generally we have hired older more experienced office managers, do you think you are up to it? This is a question in which the removal of one word would make it better. Just take out the word older – then you are sticking to years of experience, and that is relevant to the job.

What are your child care arrangements? I am assuming your goal with this question is to make sure they can get to work. This is a legitimate concern, but you cannot ask like this. It is better to lay out the hours you need them there and then ask them if they are sure they can make it to work when you need them. For instance, an office my wife used to work at had "Pedo Saturday" once a month when they scheduled the dental assistants to do child cleanings – this is allowed in Minnesota, where we lived at the time. The office was very clear about this need for work on a Saturday and asked if she would have problems working with the schedule, but they never asked her who would watch our kids.

In many cases, potentially illegal interview questions are trying to gather legitimate information about how well a person will fit into the office – or if they will be able to show up when you need them. Just remember it is important to think carefully about what you really want to know. You don't really need to know if they have kids, you need to know if they will be able to show up when you need them. You are not truly interested in how old they are, you just need to know if they have a degree. The key is to understand what sort of information you want and then find ways to ask about it directly.

Adam McWethy, MA-HRIR, SPHR, is the Director of Human Resources and Faculty at Spear Education.

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