Interview Legalities: What You Can and Can Not Ask

Delta Diversified, Inc. is a results-driven professional and executive search firm.

“How old are you?” “Are you married?” “Have you ever been arrested?” If you have asked any of those questions to a prospective employee before, you have asked them an illegal question. It’s common practice to try to gather as much information about a candidate as possible when holding an interview but questions about ethnicity, age, marital status and more are simply illegal. Check out this list of commonly asked illegal interview questions and their legal counterparts before you conduct your next interview.

Interview

Illegal: What is your date of birth? How old are you? What year did you graduate high school?
Legal: Are you over the age of 18?

Illegal: Where were you born? What is your first language? Are your parents from the US? Is your last name German?
Legal: If hired, can you provide proof of US citizenship? This job requires a lot of overseas travel; do you speak, read or write any foreign languages that might be helpful?

Illegal: Are you married? What does your spouse/partner do? Do you have any children? Do you plan to have children? What is your child care plan? Are you a single parent?
Legal: Will you have the ability to work overtime/travel if necessary? Are you willing to relocate?

Illegal: Do you have a physical impairment or disability? Have you been to the hospital recently? Do you have any history of illness? How many sick days did you take last year? How often do you go to the doctor? How tall are you? How much do you weigh?
Legal: Are you able to perform the essential duties and responsibilities associated with this job?

Illegal: Have you ever been arrested?
Legal: Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

Illegal: What is your military discharge status?
Legal: What education and training did you receive while you were in the military?

Illegal: Is this your married name or your maiden name?
Legal: Have you ever been employed under another name?

Illegal: If you took this job, how long would your commute be? Do you own or rent your house? Who do you live with?
Legal: Are you able to start work on weekdays by 8am?

Illegal: Do you belong to any clubs?
Legal: Do you have any certifications in the industry? Do you belong to any industry organizations?

Illegal: Which relative should we contact in case of an emergency?
Legal: Who should we contact in case of an emergency?

Illegal: What religion do you practice? Do you attend any religious ceremonies on Saturdays or Sundays? Which holidays do you celebrate?
Legal: Will you be able to work on Saturdays and Sundays? Will you be able to follow our work schedule?

Were you surprised that any of these commonly asked interview questions are actually illegal?

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