Take care: What you ask may be questionable

One must be careful these days what he asks when interviewing job applicants. Ill-advised questions tend to backfire. An illegal question could land you in a pot of litigational soup.

12/01/1999


One must be careful these days what he asks when interviewing job applicants. Ill-advised questions tend to backfire. An illegal question could land you in a pot of litigational soup.

The key is to make sure that questions posed and information disclosed are job related if they affect your hiring decision. Unrelated they could spell trouble.

Stuart Rice, Assistant Maintenance Manager in a metals manufacturing company, learned this the hard way. When Ed Woods, a job applicant, confronted him across the interviewing table, Rice had mixed reactions. On the one hand, Woods' application was impressive; he had the training and experience required for the job. On the other hand, the guy didn't appear, at least superficially, to be in the best of health. His hollow cough could be no more than the echo of a recent cold, but then again...

"The job you're applying for will require some heavy lifting," Rice said. "Do you have any health-related problems or disabilities which could hamper your performance?'"

The applicant frowned. "No sir."

Rice refused to let it go at that. "How many days were you absent last year?"

Woods became increasingly edgy. "I don't remember; not that many."

"What about compensation claims? Did you file any?"

"These questions are out of order," Woods snapped. "They're illegal and I don't have to answer them."

"In that case, thank you for your time, Mr. Woods."

If Rice thought that was the end of it, he was mistaken. The applicant took his indignation to Rice's boss, Plant Engineer Bradley Groat.

Question: In Groat's shoes, what response would you make?

Groat's reply: Groat summoned Rice to his office and confirmed that he had indeed posed the questions the applicant claimed. "The man has a legitimate beef," Groat said. "You can ask him if he's able to handle the tasks applicable to the job description in question; you can refer to the company's sick days policy and ask if he can comply with it; but you can't inquire about compensation claims until after a job offer has been made. I'll try to smooth over this as best I can, but I think this points up the need for some training and sensitivity sessions on the subject of interviewing and hiring. Ignorance about what you can and cannot ask could lead to all kinds of problems."





Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me