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How Hiring Works

Illegal interview questions

There are several laws that dictate rules about hiring. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act was created to protect those with disabilities from discrimination because of their disability. This act makes it illegal to ask job candidates certain questions about their disabilities.

Here is a list of the most common interview questions you can't ask job candidates.

  • DON'T ask how many days the applicant was sick last year (But you CAN ask how many days were "missed").
  • DON'T ask broad questions about a disability, such as "do you have any disabilities?" (But you CAN ask if they can perform the necessary duties of the job.)
  • DON'T ask about any past workers' compensation claims or job injury history.
  • DON'T ask about lawful drug use (unless it is as part of a screening for unlawful drug use).
  • DON'T ask age, gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, religion, or anything else that could be discrimination-based. (This includes seemingly innocent questions like: "Where did you grow up?" "When did you graduate from high school?" or even "Are you married?" or "Where is your spouse from?")
  • DON'T ask about child care availability.
  • DON'T ask about employment status of family members.
  • DON'T ask about their sexual preference.
  • DON'T ask about criminal arrest records. (But you can in some instances ask about convictions.)

The main thing to keep in mind with the questions you ask a job candidate is to stay away from anything that could be construed as discriminatory. Don't even make notes about physical appearance, ethnicity, disabilities or other attributes about the candidate. If they offer such information do not make note of it or respond to it.