Dresser & Associates

Tips for Avoiding Illegal Interview Questions

The interviewing process can be tricky. It is important to ask questions that will provide enough information to determine which candidate is best suited for the job, while staying within the federal guidelines of what you are allowed to ask. As you may know, the federal government prohibits employers from making hiring decisions on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, national origin, age, political affiliation and genetic information. Therefore, interview questions surrounding these topics are off limits.  While improper questions asked by an interviewer might be a simple oversight, it could be mistaken for an intentional case of discrimination.


When conducting an interview, remember: if it’s not job-related, don’t ask! The guiding principal behind any questions to a job applicant is: Can the employer demonstrate a job-related necessity for asking the question? If the answer to this question is no, it is best to avoid the question all together.

Here are some examples of interview questions that should be avoided:

  • Do you have children? Are you pregnant?
  • Are you married? What is your maiden name?
  • Where are your parents from? What is your race? Are you a United State citizen?
  • How old are you? When did you graduate from high school?
  • Are you a member of any social clubs, societies or lodges? What religion are you?
  • Do you have any physical or mental disabilities?
  • Have you been arrested? When was the last time you used illegal drugs?

Keep an eye out for my next blog on more in-depth guidelines on keeping employment interview questions legal!

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Dresser & Associates

Posted in Compliance & Taxes, Human Resources, Recruiting | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Tips for Avoiding Illegal Interview Questions

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