Off Limits

"Are you currently on active duty?"

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Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution by way of New Old Stock

Military men and women are leaders outside and inside of the boardroom. We thank you all for your service.

In an interview setting, asking a candidate about his or her service requirements is not only obnoxious - it's illegal. Hiring decisions cannot be influenced by the time required to serve our country. 

Our recommendation for any military personnel who are put in this situation is to respond briefly and then raise the issue with human resources. 

First, we think it's appropriate to respond with something like the following if asked about your service requirements: 

I proudly serve my country whenever I am asked and will continue to do so whenever I am called to duty.

Hopefully, something along those lines alerts the interviewer that this question is off limits. If it doesn't and you are pressed again for an answer, then we recommend reminding him or her that this question is illegal and then asking for an explanation for whether your service is a concern.

When the interview is over, we recommend alerting the company's human resources department about the interaction - perhaps this is indicative of something more systematic with your interviewer's hiring practices. 

Finally, if given an offer, we encourage you to do further due diligence on the company's culture specific to military personnel. Perhaps ask to speak to other associates that have had military experience before making your final decision about whether to accept the offer or not.