Tech & Work

There's a reason you won't hear about some benefits in an interview

Have you ever wondered why interviewers don't offer details about health insurance benefits in early interview stages? It could be because they're smart and don't want to break the law. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits recruiters and hiring managers from asking questions about an applicant's health or questions that are likely to reveal the existence of a health problem or disability before making a job offer. Interviewers should also try to keep the candidate from revealing any health-related information about himself inadvertently.

An example: Let's say a candidate asks what the health insurance policy is on pre-existing conditions. Even if he doesn't specify why, the interviewer now knows there is some condition the candidate is already being treated for. If he's a complete jerk, he could let that knowledge unconsciously weigh in on his decision not to hire the person. If the candidate can in some way prove that, then the manager and company could be in legal hot water.

Of course, once an offer is made, it's fine to discuss details of benefits.

According to the ADA, it is prohibited to make any query or comment that refers to:

  • Health conditions
  • Injuries
  • Sick-day usage
  • Medical insurance coverage
  • Workers' compensation claims
  • Prescription drug use
  • Mental health problems.

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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