Ethical Interviewing (Nursing)

by Amber Vanderburg

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    00:00 Interviewers have a responsibility to conduct interviews with the intention to avoid bias.

    00:07 Many countries, industries, and organizations have safeguards in place to help prevent unethical interviewing processes.

    00:16 That being said, sometimes interviewers may ask inappropriate or illegal questions or leave room for bias.

    00:25 You should understand your rights as an interviewee when you are applying for a position.

    00:32 If you're in the United States, the EEOC or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has strict guidelines about what questions cannot be asked in an interview.

    00:44 If you are in another country, there is a likelihood that these types of questions are also considered illegal or discouraged.

    00:52 If you are in an interview, I want you to recognize these types of questions as often illegal and unethical in nature, and have an opportunity for bias.

    01:05 This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a guideline.

    01:10 First, any questions about your age is not acceptable.

    01:15 This could include questions about when you plan to retire, what year you graduated high school, or a blunt, How old are you? Also any questions about your religion are not acceptable? This could include questions such as, What religious holidays do you celebrate? How religious are you? And what church do you go to? Any question about your race or ethnicity are not acceptable? This could include questions such as, Are you a native Spanish speaker? Where is your family from? or How long have you been in the United States? Questions related to your wellness and ability are also not acceptable? This could include questions such as, How many sick days did you take last year? Will you need time off for medical treatments related to your disability? or, How severe is your disability? This also includes genetic wellness and ability questions, such as, a family medical history that might lead to illness which would cause you to miss work.

    02:25 This also includes any generic questions about height, weight, or impairment that is not directly related to the job.

    02:35 Now, there might be a legitimate reason why ability questions are asked if they are directly related to the job.

    02:46 Other questions that are not allowed include questions related to your personal life and scheduling, such as, What are your childcare arrangements? Are you planning to become pregnant? What is your kids school schedule? Are you married? Are you planning on getting married soon? Background check questions in this nature of homeownership, alcoholism and bankruptcy are generally not allowed.

    03:19 If you are from a military background, any questions related to the type of discharge you receive, or if you were diagnosed with any sort of PTSD is also not allowed.

    03:31 Lastly, questions about your education that are not directly related to your job are discouraged and can provide room for bias.

    03:41 You can help to prevent some unintended inappropriate follow up questions in your answers.

    03:48 For example, when a recruiter asked an open ended question such as, Tell me about yourself. Do not take this opportunity to share that you have three kids. You graduated in 2002.

    04:01 You go to the church called Versus simply a God].

    04:04 That you are recovering from a broken elbow.

    04:06 And that you're planning on getting remarried at the end of the year.

    04:10 Many times candidates will share information that leads to bias without the bias question actually being asked, A great interviewer will try to disregard the vast amount of illegal information you just provided, and move on to the job related questions to try to mitigate the opportunities for bias.

    04:34 Some interviewers out of curiosity will ask pure intentioned follow up questions to worry a response like this which could further the opportunity for bias such as, How old are your kids?, or Where did you graduate from? Do not open the door to these questions.

    04:56 Craft your answers to be job related responses.

    05:01 Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but rather a guideline for interviewees.

    05:09 If you have other questions that are asked in your interview that make you uncomfortable, or you believe there is a cause of bias, then you are not obliged to answer the question.

    05:23 It is not your responsibility to know every single legal and illegal question.

    05:30 But it is your right to know and understand your rights as an interviewee.

    05:36 If these types of questions are asked, how should you respond? First, you can steer the conversation away from the question.

    05:48 Or point out to the interviewer that the question is illegal.

    05:53 If you do point this out, use a neutral and professional tone.

    05:57 Do not assume that the interviewer is trying to be malicious, bias, or wrong.

    06:03 It could be that they are genuinely unaware that the question is not allowed, or more curious to get to know you as a person.

    06:13 Generally the interviewer will apologize and pivot the line of questioning.

    06:19 If the interviewer continues in the inappropriate line of questioning, you do not have to answer the question and you can leave.

    06:30 Again it is not your responsibility to know everything about equal employment laws and practices.

    06:36 But here's what I do want you to do.

    06:40 Understand your rights as a candidate.

    06:43 Be prepared to mitigate bias in your interview and advocate for yourself if you find yourself experiencing illegal or unethical hiring practices.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Ethical Interviewing (Nursing) by Amber Vanderburg is from the course Transition to Nursing Practice.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. “What year did you graduate high school?”
    2. “Which are your preferred pronouns?”
    3. “What are your salary expectations for this position?”
    4. “Can you tell me about an area of weakness you have?”
    1. “You would have to work every weekend; will this interfere with any religious obligations?”
    2. “This position requires heavy lifting; are you comfortable with that?”
    3. "You would be working only night shifts; would that work for you?"
    4. “This position requires experience with pediatric populations. Do you have that?”
    1. “This position requires standing for long periods. Is that something with which you would be comfortable?”
    2. “How severe is your physical disability?”
    3. “How often have you missed work due to your disability?”
    4. “Does your disability require you to take medication or visit the doctor often?”
    1. “I want to ensure I get as much nursing experience as possible before I get married next year.”
    2. “When I graduated from high school ten years ago, I never dreamed that I would become a nurse.”
    3. “I have excellent time management skills. I was never late at my previous workplace, despite having to drop off my children at two schools every morning.”
    4. “Through my time as a full-time nanny to five children, I developed excellent communication and critical thinking skills.”
    5. “After graduating from nursing school, I started working part-time in a nursing home while obtaining my master’s in nursing education.”

    Author of lecture Ethical Interviewing (Nursing)

     Amber Vanderburg

    Amber Vanderburg

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