You Could Be Asking Illegal Interview Questions without Even Knowing

Business man looking at a note pad with some notes written on it. Title - Are you asking illegal interview questions?

During your interviews, you’re trying to gather as much information as possible from each candidate. You’ve probably looked over their resume, called their references, and compiled a list of questions to ask come interview time. Most of those questions are valid and perfectly legal, but can you confidently say that every single one is in compliance? You might be surprised to learn that some interviewers are asking illegal interview questions that could lead to a lawsuit (and they don’t even realize it).

3 Indicators Your Interview Questions Are Headed In the Right Direction

A CareerBuilder study of 2,192 hiring and human resource managers asked participants if they knew the legality of some very simple and common questions. Thirty-three percent of those participants did not.

You could be asking questions that would provoke an applicant to claim discrimination. It’s a good idea to closely analyze each and every question that comes up in your interviews.Women sitting at an empty table, in an empty office, with her laptop open.

3 Signs You Already Lost Your Best Candidate for the Job

Many interviews involve an open conversation depending on the position and its requirements and it can be nearly impossible to anticipate and evaluate all questions that could possibly come up. To help, we wrote the “Interview Questions for Employers” eBook, you can find it here. For a brief introduction to the material, we’ve compiled a list of common questions that land in the DO NOT ASK category.

DON’T Ask These Interview Questions:

  • When did you graduate?
  • Did your parents graduate or go to college?
  • What are your retirement plans?
  • Do you have a mental disability?
  • Have you ever had cancer?
  • Do you have any chronic illnesses?
  • Have you ever suffered from depression?
  • Where are your parents from?
  • Does your family suffer from a history of illness?
  • Are you adopted?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you plan to have children?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • How tall are you?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Do you have any observed religious holidays that would prevent you from working?
  • Are you in the military?
  • Have you ever been a member of the military?
  • Are any members of your family military members?
  • Were you honorably discharged?
  • Do you have debt?
  • Do you have any outstanding student loans?
  • Are you married?
  • Is that your maiden name?
  • Do you plan to marry?
  • What are your living arrangements?
  • Do you own a home?

Any of these sound familiar? Hopefully not, but now you know. It’s also worth mentioning that some questions (in the right context) are perfectly legal if it specifically pertains to the ability to perform job duties. You can find a two-prong discriminatory test in the eBook. Print out this list for anyone in your company involved in the hiring process and download the eBook below for more information.

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