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What questions can employers not ask in job interviews?

Ninja Gig offers employers the convenience of accepting online job applications. While these employment applications are customizable, it is important for employers to know what types of questions are illegal or questionable under federal laws.

In fact, nearly 20-percent of company’s hiring managers admit to having asked a question that is off limits, with nearly one-third of hiring and human resources managers admitting they are not familiar with the legality of interview questions.  The following highlights some of the questions that employers should never ask on job interviews:

  • Are you pregnant?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children and if not, do you plan to?
  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • What is your political affiliation?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you disabled?
  • What is your race, color or ethnicity?
  • Do you participate in social drinking or smoking? (Please note this question does not pertain to illegal drugs.)
  • Are you in debt?

The aforementioned questions can easily give evidence of discrimination on job interviews, which opens companies to potential lawsuits and government fines.  The government protects people based on national origin, age, religion, citizenship, disabilities, gender/sex and familial status. To ask any questions that hint toward breaching this opens companies up to legal issues. Additionally, some states and cities have increased employment protection, adding laws that relate to sexual orientation, breastfeeding in a public place, gender identity, use of Section 8 certificates, military status or Veteran, etc.

However, there are ways to comply with federal laws, while obtaining any necessary information that does affect a company. For example, age is a touchy subject. Many states have age discrimination laws, which begin at 40 years old; however, there are select states that have lowered this to 18 years old. To be safe, interviewers can ask minors to provide proof of age in the form of a certificate of age or a work permit. If age is a requirement for a job, it is acceptable to say, “If hired, can you furnish proof of age?” Once an employee is hired, it is standard to require proof of age by a birth certificate, driver’s license, work VISA or passport. These types of questions come into play for bar tending jobs, which require anyone around alcohol to be 21 years of age or older, companies that are allowed to hire children 14 years and older, after school work programs, etc.

Employers can also ask if applicants have any physical, mental or sensory handicaps that might affect their work performance or may need consideration before job placement. What employers may not ask is if candidates have any handicaps. They may also not ask any questions about if candidates have received worker’s compensation from previous employers, as this indicates an on-the-job accident or disability.

While the rules surrounding employment questions may seem daunting to human resource professionals, they are designed to encourage employers to solely focus on candidates’ qualifications. Hiring managers need to keep these types of questions in mind when creating job applications online.  Sign up today for your free trial and start asking custom questions for your job openings.

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How Politics Affect Human Resources

Several hot button human resources topics have arisen during the 2016 presidential election. The candidates are discussing expanding overtime eligibility, paid family-leave mandates and even taxes on high-end health plans.

As part of domestic policy decisions, human resources issues are bound to play a role in the upcoming election.

  • Increasing Overtime Pay – President Obama called for increasing overtime pay in June 2015. Generally, most Democrats favor this, while Republicans are in opposition. Under current federal regulations, employees that earn up to $455 a week may qualify for overtime pay. President Obama’s proposal would increase this to $970 a week. If this change passes, more than 5 million U.S. workers could see a significant increase in their take-home pay. Opponents’ say that these regulations will hurt companies, resulting in layoffs and reduced hours.
  • Paid Family Leave – President Obama is calling for government legislation that will mandate paid sick leave, including paid maternity leave for all employees. The parties are split on this subject.
  • The Cadillac Tax – Relating to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this provision will take effect in 2020. It includes a 40-percent nondeductible excise tax on all employer-sponsored health plans that offer benefits of over $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. Nearly all candidates oppose this tax.

While on the campaign trail, candidates have voiced their opinions about the aforementioned human resources issues. So how are they weighing in on these concerns?

  •  Hillary Clinton – Hillary Clinton is backing President Obama’s policy decisions about increasing overtime pay. She also supports the ACA, but is against the Cadillac tax, and would like to see the Family and Medical Leave Act allow families up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new children or family member’s health needs. As her campaign continues, Clinton will be announcing more details related to paid family-leave.
  • Donald Trump – Donald Trump supports raising the minimum wage and higher taxes on the wealthy. Trump is keeping his options open about paid family-leave. He has stated, “Well it’s something that’s being discussed, I think we have to keep our country very competitive, so you have to be careful of it. But certainly there are a lot of people discussing it.” Trump supports repealing the ACA and has not discussed the Cadillac tax at length.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications, which makes it easy for human resources’ departments to accept applications online. Completely customizable, these applications are ideal for asking candidates simple to advanced job-related questions. Human resources’ departments can then use this information to weed out unqualified applicants, which helps simplify the in-person interview process.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial to see how great the software is!

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The Presidential Election

You can’t escape the presidential election. Whether you are in a coffee shop or grocery store, the newspaper headlines regularly highlight the latest election news. In fact, even airports stream 24/7 news channels to traveling passengers. Furthermore, it’s impossible to not login to Facebook or social media without presidential campaign information being splattered across the screen. This 2016 presidential election has literally changed the way our world views politics.

In an election year where a significant number of Americans are not satisfied with either candidate, this begs the question: how can the Office of President attract candidates that are more qualified?

Employment for non-elected officials begins with human resources departments and managers reviewing resumes, qualifications and key skills. Businesses understand the importance of hiring qualified candidates, as employees can either make a business successful or shatter a company’s professional image.

It is ironic, however, that political candidates do not have any such requirements. Aside from requiring U.S. citizenship, being 35 years old or older and residing in the U.S. for 14 years, there are no restrictions on running for president. Perplexing and concerning, this leaves the most important office in our country in the hands of state delegates.

Additionally, felons that are incarcerated or on parole do not have the right to vote, but do have the right to run for president. Yes, that technically means someone in jail could launch a campaign for president.

So how can the U.S. be more diligent about the candidates that run for office? It’s important that the public look at the Office of President not as celebrity status, but as the most important job in our nation. Representing the U.S., the president is in charge of our foreign relations, which are integral components to maintaining peace. This office requires a strong leader and good communicator, someone who motivates the people and makes the country a better place. Presidents should unite citizens, not tear the country apart.

The bottom line is that electing a president requires that citizens voice their concerns and opinions. Recently, Maine eliminated their delegates, favoring a popular vote system. Many states are looking to Maine as an example, but whether other states will eliminate delegates is yet to be seen.

Ninja Gig is an excellent solution for human resources resume management. Helping simplify job applications, employers can easily review resumes, pose questions to potential candidates and post employment openings. For example, employers can ask candidates if they have ever been convicted of a crime or felony, if they are authorized to work in the U.S. and much more. This software is specifically designed as an application tracking system, commonly referred to as an ATS.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial to see how simple your hiring process can become.