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Interviewing the Manager Candidate... and other potential employees



Having the right employee join your association’s team is critical. Experience will tell you that the correct fit for your team is someone that will encourage teamwork and have a generally good attitude. While the staff is mostly selected by the agreed upon subcontractor or the management company, when it comes to hiring the manager, the Board usually gets involved in the selection process.


The Board’s participation in interviewing potential employees should proceed only after the participating board members are educated on the do’s and don’ts of EEOC guidelines. Board members should use their management resource to assist in conducting interviews. A Board, or board members should not conduct interviews without assistance or participation from the management company or their attorney. The potential liability is quite great. If the wrong questions are asked, the association may be looking at a lawsuit that could have been easily avoided.


Prior to the actual interviews, the pre-employment process also has a few laws to be followed. Per the EEOC’s pre-employment guidelines, the information obtained and requested through the pre-employment process should be limited to those essential for determining if a person is qualified for the job; whereas, information regarding race, sex, national origin, age, and religion are irrelevant in such determinations. It is illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.


You will want to set a process whereby every candidate is asked the same set of questions. This will allow for a fair selection of the best qualified person for the position. Asking different questions may lead to suspected discrimination if the questions differ greatly. You should not ask questions that relate to any of the following:

o Age

o Race

o Ethnicity

o Family Status

o Pregnancy

o Color

o Gender or gender identity

o Sex

o Disability

o Religion

o Birthplace / Country of origin / Geography

o Sexual orientation

o Marital Status

o Salary history (in some states)


Taking the preceding information into account, here are some sample questions or comments that should NOT be asked:

How many children do you have?

Do you plan on having more children?

Are you married or divorced?

What is your maiden name?

Are you Latin (Hispanic)?

What country are you from?

Do you spend a lot of time with your kids?

What type of discharge did you receive from the military?

How many time shave you been arrested?

Although one might think it is easy to follow these guidelines, the conversation can get away from you quickly if you establish a good rapport with the candidate. Try to stick to the questions that should have been prepared prior to the interview. It’s natural to relax and begin what is usually small talk, but it should be avoided when conducting a formal interview.

Once employed, these laws protect employees against employment discrimination when it involves:

  • Unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in your workplace, because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

  • Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation that you need because of your religious beliefs or disability.

  • Retaliation because you complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

To review the laws in detail, go to www.EEOC.gov and surf their site. You may also wish to google phrases such as “questions to avoid when interviewing a candidate” or “EEOC laws that apply to interviews”. Seeing that each state may also have specific laws in place, you will want to ascertain those details as well.


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