Typically the first forms that a potential employee will fill out are job application forms. These forms are somewhat general and are used to seek out general information. Name address, contact information, position being applied for and prior work history. Usually these initial employment forms also contain space to note education and sometimes accomplishments. Employment forms typically do not ask for the specific date of birth but may ask if the candidate can verify that they are at least eighteen years of age. All of these questions on these forms seem innocent enough but they may be request just enough information for someone to be discriminated against. It is illegal to ask a potential employees exact age, however simply identifying on the form which year someone graduated from high school will provide an employer with a very close idea of the persons age.
The name usually gives away the persons gender and in some cases may give away the persons religious preference and race. If an employee plans on discriminating based on these circumstances the form basically will give all the information that is required. If a women is of childbearing age it is illegal for an employer to ask whether she has children or not and whether she has a reliable day care, but simply reading the form that was filled out may provide a good idea whenever the women may have small children at home. If the women indicates that she is Mrs. So and So that may send up a red flag to an employer that she may have children or be getting ready to have children. Employers would like to avoid hiring a woman that may wind up out on maternity leave for awhile or a woman that may have small children at home that may get ill requiring the parent to stay at home with the child. So all of these harmless questions on the job forms actually provide quite a bit of information.
The interview process is also regulated by what questions can be asked. The interviewer will have likely read the job application form and already have quite a bit of background information the interview may only be a formality, the hiring manager may already have made a decision based on the job application forms. Human resource personnel are very well versed in which kinds of questions can and can not be asked. They are also well versed in how to ask a question and word it in such a way that they may get some personal information from the interviewee without the interviewee ever realizing what information they just volunteered.
There really is no way around this situation either the employee is going to be honest or not. Fill out the forms to the best of ability and hope for the best. If an employer has predetermined that they will not hire from certain groups as long as they cross their t's and dot their I's with the legal forms there is not much that can be done. Proving discrimination is difficult.