Illegal Job Interview Questions Which Should be Avoided

by on April 1, 2011

Illegal questions and unlawful inquiries on the person’s ability to do the job should be avoided. A few such questions are listed in this article.

Age or Date of Birth

Inquiries related to age should be avoided. The state law prohibits discrimination against persons aged 40 and older. If the work need rigorous burden, then age factor definitely comes in play but not otherwise.

Marital Status

Questions on marital status should be strictly avoided. Many employers believe that this is a common source of absenteeism and tardiness. Asking these questions only from women makes it discrimination and it is unlawful. On the other hand, if the employer is concerned about the attendance, then the question would be: “Is there anything that would interfere with regular attendance at work?”

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Personal Questions

Personal questions should be avoided. Questions regarding height and weight are unlawful unless the employer can show that a height or weight requirement is essential for job performance.


Inquiries regarding a person’s disability are unlawful. Employers must avoid medical checks of the candidates. However, employers can inquire about the candidate’s ability to perform certain job functions.


Inquiring about a person’s citizenship or country of birth is unlawful. This creates a sense of discrimination. Employers should not ask the candidates to mention their citizenship at the time of the interview.

Arrest records

There are many laws which prohibit inquiries regarding previous arrests in the past. It does, however, permit the consideration of the current arrest. The employer should add a clarifier if an inquiry about convictions is made. A conviction will not necessarily disqualify you from employment. It will be considered only as it may relate to the job you are seeking.

Military Services

It is against the law to discriminate against people on the basis of membership in the National Guard to another unit of the force. However, questions related to experience or training received in military is considered valid.

Race, Colour and Religion

It is unlawful to discriminate against people on the basis of race, colour and religion. An employer should indicate that a reasonable effort is made to accommodate religious beliefs or practices.

Homeowner, Credit Records

These questions should not be asked in the inquiries. This data is irrelevant to job performance. As census data that indicates minorities, on an average, are poorer than whites, consideration of these factors may have a disparate impact on minorities. Thus, an employer should not ask anything related to these.

Educational Background

Employers are only allowed to ask job-related education questions. Any other type of education-related questions should not be considered. Rather, find a reliable way to determine if applicants have the necessary skills to function successfully in the job.

Friends or Relatives Working

This is again discrimination against the people. Such questions are not relevant to an applicant’s competence and should be avoided by the employer. Such measures eliminate the opportunity for minorities or women. Such questions may also reflect a rule that only one partner in a marriage can work for the employer. This tends to have a disproportionate impact on women.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Interview Questions April 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

To avoid asking the wrong questions, develop an interview form and use a copy of it for each candidate. It will document that you asked each interviewer the same questions.


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