13 Illegal Questions You Should NEVER Ask a Candidate During an Interview

Interviews are great for getting to know potential employees – but there is such thing as TMI (Too Much Information)!

In fact, there are a ton of illegal questions that many employers get caught asking every year. Many of these questions may seem harmless at first, but they are in fact discriminatory and put candidates in an awkward position. Not to mention that these questions can add significant bias during the hiring process.

Off-limit topics include:

  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Health & Disability
  • Sex and/or Gender
  • Country of origin
  • Age
  • Family and/or Marital status

Any question that forces the candidate to reveal the above information about themselves can be considered an illegal question by state and federal law. This is because employers are only allowed to ask questions that help determine whether the candidate is able to complete the job. Referencing any of the above topics, even in a roundabout way, can be interpreted as discrimination.

Here’s a sample list of questions you should NEVER ask:

1. “What year were you born?”
2. “Where were you born?”
3. “Is English your first language?”
4. “Which religious holidays do you observe?”
5. “Are you married?”
6. “Do you have kids?”
7. “What’s your sexual orientation/gender identity?”
8. “Have you been arrested?”
9. “Do you have any outstanding debt?”
10. “Do you use illegal drugs?”
11. “Do you have a disability?”
12. “What type of discharge did you receive in the military?”
13. “When do you plan on retiring?”

Remember: Hiring Managers aren’t there to judge candidates based on their personal lives. Stay focused on asking questions that help you pinpoint their unique skills and traits that will help them shine at work while providing them the necessary support to do so!

We can help you hire more effectively! Connect with our Hiring Experts at sales@higherme.com, or check out our Applicant Tracking System page!

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