Legal vs. Illegal Interview Questions

Interviewing applicants for an open position can be a difficult task. Many times interviewing responsibilities are given to whatever manager is in charge of the department the open position is in, regardless of whether or not they have any formal HR/Recruiting experience or training.

If you’ve been given the task of interviewing candidates, you might wonder where you should even start. The answer is preparation. There are a lot of questions that you are not allowed to ask applicants during a job interview. This is because information revealed from those questions could result in employment discrimination. Before you begin interviewing, make sure you check out which interview questions are illegal to ask.

Illegal interview questions and their legal counterparts

Illegal: How old are you?
Legal: After hiring, you can ask are you over 18?

Illegal: Do you have children? Are you planning on having more?
Legal: After hiring, you can ask the number and ages of children for insurance purposes only.

Illegal: What country are you from?
Legal: Are you legally eligible to work in the United States?

Illegal: Are you married?
Legal: After hiring, you can ask the status for insurance purposes.

Illegal: What is your military discharge status?
Legal: Do you have job related experience in the military?

Illegal: What religion do you practice?
Legal: Can you work the days/schedule required for this position?

Illegal: What is your gender?
**There is no legal alternative question you can ask.

Illegal: Do you have any disabilities or handicaps?
Legal: Are you able to perform the specific duties of this position with reasonable accommodations?

Illegal: How far would you be commuting from?
Legal: Can you be at work at 8am?

If an applicant brings up information you are not allowed to discuss during the course of the interview, do not pursue the topic further.

There are numerous other questions that you are not allowed to ask applicants during a job interview. These questions relate to areas that are protected by Federal Law prohibiting employment discrimination, and include: gender, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, citizenship, veteran status, and gender expression and/or identity.

As an equal opportunity employer, Key Resource Group is committed to considering applicants for all open positions without regard to all classes protected by federal, state, or local laws.