During the interview process the interviewer and interviewee must be aware of questions that may be illegal, discriminatory, or inappropriate. Summarized below are a few examples of those types of questions and how to answer them appropriately and professionally if asked.
Interview Questions That Cannot Be Asked
Questions pertaining to age such as, “How old are you?” are forbidden and is considered illegal if asked during the interview process (Raisbeck, 2010). Other questions relating to age that are considered illegal include: “What is your birthdate?”, “When did you graduate?”, and “How much longer do you plan to work before you retire?” (Guiliana, 2006). The only question relating to age that can be asked is “Are you over the age of 18?” It should be asked only if knowledge of the applicant’s age is needed to ensure the candidate is legally old enough to work for the company (Guiliana, 2006).
Race/Religion/ National Origin
Inquiring about a job applicant’s race, color, religion, or nation of origin during an interview is also prohibited and considered illegal (Grohar-Murray & Langan, 2011). Questions related to birthplace, ancestry, or descent of applicant if asked during the course of the interview is illegal (Guiliana, 2006). An example of illegal questions regarding an applicant’s race is “Are you considered to be part of a minority group?” or “Are you a United States Citizen?’(Guiliana, 2006). An employer can only ask if you are legally entitled to work in this country.
Religion is a subject that should be treaded on lightly during an interview. Questions regarding religious preference cannot be asked. An interviewer cannot even ask the question of “Which religious holidays do you observe?” instead if the inquiry is regarding scheduling the question “Are you able to work with the required schedule?” is acceptable (Guiliana, 2006).
Marital/Family Status or Gender Preference
Questions regarding marriage, family status or gender preference cannot be asked. The interviewer cannot ask if an applicant is married, how many children an applicant has, or whether they plan to have any children. Questions regarding sexual preference such as “Are you gay?” are illegal and can be very offensive to an interviewee (Raisbeck, 2010). An interviewer cannot even ask a women applicant what is their maiden name.
Personal Information and Personal Health
A future employee’s health and abilities may be essential to getting the job completed, but an interviewer should avoid questions regarding an applicant’s personal health or disabilities. Questions such as “Do you have any health or disability problems?” or “Have you had any recent illness or operations?” are illegal and should not be asked (Guiliana, 2006). It is also illegal to ask questions related to a candidate’s alcohol, tobacco or recreational drug use.
Personal questions including “How tall are you?” or “How much do you weigh?” should be avoided. Questions about height and...