Illegal Interview Questions

The principal objective to do interviews is to obtain information about person's abilities to do a job and avoid the illegal interview questions, so every companies must know that state and federal laws only allow employers making questions to get this objective and questions unrelated to the job and to find out personal information are illegals.

Illegal interview questions

That is to say, employers should not ask questions about religion, race, color, age, marital status, gender, sexual preference, ethnic background, disabilities or country of origin. You can protect your company and yourself from embarrassment and legal trouble, if you avoid the wrong questions, below are some examples about illegal interview questions:

It is important to consider certain details that help to be good interviewers. These interview tips provide information to understand basic human behavior. They can improve your own interviewing skills. Remember, the best interviewer should be intelligent, friendly and patient.

Race, Color and Religion

Questions about a person's color, race and religion are prohibited and considered discrimination, so this subject should be treated with great care and if it is possible, you have to avoid them. However, there are some questions that can help to get the information you need.

Example of Illegal Questions

  • What religion do you practice?
  • Which religious holiday do you observe?
  • Do you belong to a club or social organization?


It must avoid questions related to age, due to discrimination against people over 40 years is prohibited by state law. However, there are few jobs such as driving a school bus or physically dangerous work where employers can ask questions based on age to know is a person is old enough to do the job.

Example of Illegal Questions

  • How old are you?
  • What year were you born?
  • When is your birthday?
  • What year did you graduate from college/high school?
  • How much longer do you plan to work before you retire?

Marital and Family Status

In many companies, it is a requirement that employees are present full-time, avoid in the possible the tardiness and absenteeism, and your company is not the exception therefore you'll probably need to include some family and marital status questions, but be careful with inappropriate questions.

Example of Illegal Questions

  • Is this your maiden name?
  • Do you have or plan to have children?
  • Can you get a babysitter on short notice for overtime or travel?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Who is your closest relative to notify in case of an emergency?
  • What do your parents do for a living?
  • If you get pregnant, will you continue to work, and will you come back after maternity leave?


Questions about a person's gender are inappropriate and prohibited, however, you have to ensure don't make assumptions about a candidate's abilities and you can make some questions to clarify certain points, without to cause offence to your interviewee.

Example of Illegal Questions

  • We've always had a man/woman do this job. How do you think you will stack up?
  • How do you feel about supervising men/women?
  • What do you think of interoffice dating?


As in any business, you must be sure that a person may legally work in your company, therefore it is necessary to make some questions such as language and address citizenship, but you don't forget to be very careful how you ask these questions.

Example of Illegal Questions

  • Are you a U.S. citizen?
  • What is your native tongue?
  • How long have you lived here?

Health and Physical Abilities

It is important the employees' abilities and health are good, but you have to be careful with discrimination and assumptions, so there are some questions that can help you to avoid the legal troubles and get the information you need.

Example of Illegal Questions

  • Do you smoke or drink?
  • Do you take drugs?
  • How tall are you?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • How many sick days did you take last year?
  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations?

The interview questions are very important to obtain information and thus choose between the candidates, however it should be noted that there exist a large number of illegal interview questions to avoid. Please visit Types of questions: The most common types of questions are here, check them and be prepared if you are trying to get the job that you are applying for.