Questions to avoid

An interview is a meeting among potential employees and the employer. During this process, potential candidates try to convince the interviewer that they can offer high performance, enthusiasm and teamwork to the job. The interviewer sees if one of the candidates would be a good fit for the job position. Both the interviewer and interviewees must know that during the give-and-take information exchange there are questions to avoid because are inappropriate or illegal to ask.

The United States cares about equal employment opportunities to all citizens, no matter their age, marital status, religion and disability, to mention but a few. The employers must be focused on what they need to ascertain if a candidate is able to do the job. The interview questions must be relevant to the job position for which the interviewee is applying.

Questions to avoid

There are not specific federal, state, or local entities that provide a list of illegal interview questions; however, there are some precedents in the legal history, in court rulings, legislative decisions, regulations, and constitutional laws that regulate certain categories of questions. Some of these questions may be acceptable outside of the US.

As an interviewee, you must know the types of questions that may be problematic in the US. So if you have an interview and for any reason you feel uncomfortable with the questions, you should know how to deal with them and give the best answer to your interviewer for continuing the conversation in a correct way.

Furthermore, this article offers information about how to recognize questions to avoid and a list of illegal interview questions, inter alia, questions about sexual orientation or national origin. So if you have doubts about possible legal alternatives to illegal questions, take a look at this site and find out more relevant information related to this topic.

Topics to Avoid During an Interview

  • Age or date of birth.
  • Sex, race, creed, color, religion or national origin
  • Disabilities of some kind.
  • Date and type of military discharge.
  • Marital status.
  • Arrest records.
  • Maiden name for female applicants.
  • Sexual orientation.

Age Questions

An interviewer must be careful to avoid questions about the age of a candidate or date of birth because in some cases it can be discriminatory, so a good way to determine the age, the interviewer can ask about the date of graduation from high school or college. To determine if a candidate is over 18, interviewer can ask if the candidate meets the state's minimum age requirement for employment.

Family Questions

An interviewer must not probe the candidate's family or marital status, so the interviewer should know if the candidate can face the work load. Interviewer cannot ask if the candidate is married, how many children he/she has and if a female candidate is pregnant or plans to have children because these questions are illegal. A good way to know these aspects is to ask the candidate if he/she is able to work long hours and overtime, or if anything precludes him/her to work in a specific schedule.

Disability Questions

During an interview, it is prohibited to ask direct questions about disabilities that the candidate may have because these types of questions are considered discriminatory. The interviewer can provide a job description and ask the candidate if he/she is able to perform the duties without any inconvenience.

Examples of Questions to Avoid

  • Where were you born?
  • What is your birth date?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you married?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Do you have child care arrangements?
  • What is your race or ethnic origin?
  • Have you been treated by a psychologist or psychiatrist?
  • Do you have problems about drug addiction or alcoholism?
  • Have you been arrested before?
  • Do you have any disability?
  • How many days were you sick last year?
  • What recent illnesses have you had?
  • Which church do you attend?
  • What is your religion?

Interviewee Questions to Avoid

A candidate must demonstrate interest in the job and ask thoughtful and meaningful questions because if a candidate asks inappropriate questions, these could shoot itself in the foot. During the initial interview, the interviewee should avoid asking questions about specific salary of the position, benefits, and vacations so this way the candidate can appearance its interest about the money and benefits. Besides, the candidate should avoid asking basic questions about the company's history or who runs the company because Basic asking fundamental questions shows that the interviewee did not review information that can be easily founded on the company's website or through other resources.