Questions Mine Field
This section applies to both employers and job seekers. Employers should be aware of what questions they cannot ask in an interview and Job Seekers should also be aware of what constitutes an illegal question.
Interview questions that should not be asked
No matter what, it’s illegal for a potential employer to ask about your national origin and whether or not you’re a U.S. citizen. Because when it comes down to it, it’s none of their business. What they can ask is whether or not you are authorized to work in the United States. And if you are, it’s illegal for them to discriminate against you based on anything else, such as citizenship or immigration status, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prevents discrimination against employees ages 40 and above. And because of that, it’s completely irrelevant for an interviewer to ask you anything regarding your age or date of birth. The only question that is allowed here is “Are you at least 18 years of age?”—and that’s because of labor law restrictions.
Employers are not allowed to ask if you have a disability or medical condition, if you take any prescription drugs, or if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness. What they can ask is “Are you able to perform this job with or without reasonable accommodation,” and “Do you have any conditions that would keep you from performing this job.”
This question falls under the same category as your disability status. Potential employers cannot ask applicants if they’ve ever been addicted to alcohol or drugs, or if they’ve ever been to rehab for these addictions. On the other hand, they are allowed to administer drug tests and ask if you’re currently using any illegal drugs.
Employers are unable to discriminate against applicants for their religious beliefs, which means asking this question is totally irrelevant. The only question employers are allowed to ask is whether you’d be able to work on the weekend (and even then, the question should only be asked if the job actually requires work on the weekend).
While interviewers in most states cannot ask if you’ve ever been arrested, they can ask if you’ve ever had an arrest that led to a conviction. In other states, employers are only allowed to ask about convictions that relate directly to the job you’re applying for (for example, the interviewer for a driving position could ask if you’ve ever been convicted of driving under the influence).
Just like employers are not allowed to ask where you’re from, they’re also not permitted to ask what your native language is—even if you’re applying to a job that requires you to be bilingual. Instead, they can ask which languages you speak and how fluent you are in each.
Because it’s illegal for an employer to make a hiring decision based on your marital status, the subject of marriage should never come up. Instead, employers can ask if you’d be willing to relocate for the job or put in overtime. If the interviewer continues to push on this issue, respond with something like “I can assure you that my personal life will not interfere with my professional responsibilities.”
This question can bring up a ton of loaded emotions and should never be asked. That’s especially true since not hiring someone to avoid giving them maternity leave is incredibly illegal. Additionally, employers can’t ask what you will do (or already do) for childcare and whether or not you already have children.
On a similar note, potential employers cannot ask where your spouse is currently employed.
While employers are allowed to ask if potential employees are part of any professional organizations, they shouldn’t inquire about an applicant’s participation in other types of groups, such as sororities, fraternities, and country clubs. These questions could be seen as proxies for questions about race, sex, and age.
Due to the fact that military status is federally protected, an employer cannot inquire or make decisions based on a person’s past, present, or future service. Interviewers also cannot ask what kind of discharge you received from the military, unless it is to ask whether or not it was an honorable or general discharge.
Employers are not allowed to ask the following questions related to a potential employee’s living situation: If they own their home or rent Who they live with, or if they live with anyone How they are related to the people who live in their home They are, however, allowed to ask how long you’ve been at your current address, what that address is, and how long you lived at your previous address.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 and the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996, there are protections that exist to keep your credit history confidential. That means an employer can’t ask if you have a bank account or if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy. However, despite these protections, an employer can still ask for a credit check. Unlike other credit inquiries, this one may not affect your credit score.
How much do you weigh?" Unless a potential employer can definitively prove that a certain height or weight is required to perform a job, they are not permitted to inquire about either, says Betterteam. They are able to ask if you’re able to perform all of the functions of the job without an issue.