Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Dennis Kucinich, John McCain, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson are among the Republican and Democratic contenders who have submitted their”resumes” and running for the job of the President of the United States of America. A recent high profile interview with one of those leading candidates made me wonder how many of us could stand the scrutiny of this kind of “interview from hell”.
Let’s face it, they are all up for a really tough and challenging job and as such the interview process necessarily needs to be tough and challenging. As each candidate experiences the longest, toughest interview of their life, they appear, to me at least, to be spending a lot of time answering “illegal interview” questions that don’t say much about how they will do the actual job. These types of illegal interview questions which, by the way, would not be tolerated in other interviews, seem to be driving the hiring decisions, so to speak, and will have great significance in who ultimately gets the job.
These illegal interview questions actually have put some candidates in the spotlight more than others who might have preferred to discuss their qualifications for the job at hand.
For jobs, other than that of the President of the United States, hiring managers know to steer clear of the EEO minefields and avoid questions about Race, Color, Sex, Religion, National origin, Birthplace, Age, Disability and Marital/family status.
As the search for the best candidates narrow, the following are just some of the otherwise illegal interview issues that candidates from both the Democratic and Republicans are being asked.
Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama have all been asked to explain their religious beliefs and the influence it will have on their ability to do the job of President. Mitt Romney ultimately had to explain how the Book of Mormon and the US Constitution could work together without compromising either. More recently, Mike Huckabee had to explain if the framing of the window panes into a cross behind him in his Christmas greeting was intentional. Huckabee had even previously been asked about whether or not he believes Mormonism to be an actual and real religion.
Barack Obama has been called on to explain whether or not he is really a Protestant and not Muslim. His Color has certainly come to the fore as well, being that his father was a Black man from Africa and his mother, a White woman from the Midwest.
In addition to religion, Barack Obama has been questioned about his national origin and how he spent his time in the Muslim country of Indonesia. Obama has also been asked to answer for statements the pastor of his church might have made.
Rudy Giuliani has also fielded questions about his ethnicity and what influence his Italian American heritage might have on his presidency. Bill Richardson’s Hispanic background has also been tossed around probably more than his record as Governor of New Mexico has.
In terms of marital status and family status, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani have probably been more scrutinized than the others. Giuliani marital history has been examined through questions about his three marriages and his current estranged relationship with his children.
The indiscretions of Hillary Clinton’s husband, former PresidentBill Clinton, continue to be front and center. In fact, many have asked her about whether or not she is only qualified because of her relationship with the popular ex-President. In other words, would her candidacy even be legitimate if her last name was not Clinton?
Some of the illegal interview questions floating around in media land for Hillary? How involved will your husband be if and when you are hired? Will your husband actually be running the country or will you?
Fred Thompson at 65 years old and John McCain at 71 years have both faced questions about their age and how that would affect their ability to govern.
Some other questions that, if used in a real interview would certainly be flirting with illegality include:
For Rudy Giuliani – We have seen photos of you dressed in women’s clothing, is that an issue?
For Mike Huckabee – So you have lost some weight? How did you do that?
For Dennis Kuscinish – Have you seen UFOs? Do you believe in UFOs?
For Barack Obama – So your father is Black and your mother is White, how Black are you really?
Fortunately these types of questions are off limits in a real job interview and for good reason. Who among us would want to be in interview mode for months at a time and I am guessing we also don’t have millions of dollars to spend on our own job search, like the Presidential candidates do. We would rather a company just got to the point and focused on our knowledge, skills and abilities and our potential to do the job for which we will be hired.