Illegal Questions to ask in a Job Interview

illegal questions to ask in a job interview | Of The West

Conducting interviews is the most integral part of the hiring process. Interviews allow you to look past just the resume and application and really get to know the candidate and how good of a fit they are for the position. As an employer, it is important to know what questions are illegal to ask during a job interview, as determined by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We have gathered the basic information on this topic so you can make sure you are following all the proper guidelines for an appropriate interview!

What You Can’t Ask

There are a few topics and questions that are completely illegal to ask during a job interview. By asking questions that fall into this category, you are opening yourself up to a whole lot of possible problems. Topics to avoid are age, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, ethnicity, and religion. Below are some examples of questions you cannot ask:

– Do you have a disability and/or health condition?

– Do you have kids?

– Are you married?

– Do you go to church?

– What’s your ethnic background?

Staying away from these questions and any questions alike will keep you in the clear. Some candidates will offer up some of this information voluntarily when you ask things like “tell us a little bit about yourself” but if they don’t, no digging for it!

What You Should Not Ask

These questions can be asked, but use caution if you decide to ask them. Questions in this category can be viewed by some candidates as suspicious and ultimately discriminatory. Below are examples of questions you should not ask:

– Are you biracial?

– What church do you attend?

– What language(s) do you speak at home?

– Do you plan to have a child within the next year?

It is recommended that you stray away from questions like the ones above, but again these questions aren’t illegal and fall into that grey area of interview do’s and don’ts.

What You Can Ask

There are a ton of questions you are able to ask to determine if the candidate is right for the job – without legal repercussions. These questions will fall into categories like experience, requirements of the position, education, and situational questions. Below are examples of questions you can ask:

– Are you able to execute the necessary job requirements of this position?

– Are you legally allowed to work in the U.S.?

– Would you be able to work weekends?

– What applicable experience do you have?

– Are you willing to relocate?

– Tell me about your educational background.

– What part of this job will be the most challenging for you?

– Is there anything else we should know about you?

Along with all the other regular interview questions, these questions will make sure you stay within the legal requirements and determine how good of a fit the candidate is!

One thing to keep in mind when interviewing candidates is to make sure you are asking the same questions to every candidate. This allows you to compare each candidate to one another on an equal playing field. For a complete guide on what you can and cannot ask, legally, visit the site of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  

If you’re new to the hiring process, or it’s been a while and you want to refresh yourself on the basics, don’t forget about our guide to help you know What to Look for in a New Hire.

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