Questions Not to Ask Candidates During an Interview

What are some of the questions that interviewers can’t ask candidates during the interview process? First, let’s set the scene and discover the U.S. laws that prohibit these questions from being posed to candidates.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Title VII

This law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, pregnancy, marital status, and family status.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967)

This law prohibits discrimination against all people over the age of 40. In many states, age discrimination is prohibited against all people—not just those over age 40.

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

This law protects all citizens with disabilities of any kind. Employers must provide reasonable accommodation and jobs must reflect bona fide occupational qualifications.

Below are some types of questions that are not legal to address during an interview.

Gender

  • Do you have children?
  • Are you married, single, widowed, or divorced?
  • What does your spouse do for a living?
  • What is your Maiden name?
  • Who lives in your household?
  • What are your thoughts on career vs. marriage?
  • What kind of child-care arrangements do you have?

Race

  • What is your race?
  • Where are your parents from?
  • Can you submit a photo with your application?

Religion

  • What is your religion?
  • What church do you attend?
  • Do you believe in prayer in school?

Age

  • What is your date of birth?
  • How old are you?
  • When did you graduate from high school/college?
  • Using terms such as boy, girl, young, or designating a preference for specific age

National Origin

  • What country are you a citizen of?
  • Are you a naturalized or native-born citizen?
  • Ask for naturalization papers or first papers before the start date
  • Applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, parentage, or nationality
  • What language the applicant commonly uses?
  • The name of any relative, such as parents, spouse, or minor children

Disabilities

  • Do you have any physical defects?
  • What is your eyesight?
  • Have you ever collected worker’s compensation?

Compensation

  • What is your past, current, or most recent salary?

Looking for more hiring insights geared toward recruiters and HR managers? Check out Acara’s interview guide for hiring managers here.

Curious as to how HR managers can optimize their video interview performance? Our team offers some creative advice here.

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