The HR Professor

The HR Professor

Teaching You How to Navigate the Workplace

Interview Questions You Should Not Ask

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual's race, children, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, and retaliation for reporting, participating in, and/or opposing a discriminatory practice.

If you are a hiring manager or HR Rep, there are certain interview questions you should never ask candidates. If you are a candidate, you do not have to answer the following inappropriate questions if asked. I have also provided acceptable question versions of the topics.

You May Not Ask

Age: How old are you? When is your birthdate? What year did you graduate high school, college?
Marital Status: Is it Miss or Mrs.? Are you married? What is your maiden name? Where is your last name coming from?
Family: How many children do you have? Who takes care of your children while you're working? Are you living with your husband/wife? What does your husband think about you working outside the home? Questions regarding pregnancy, child bearing or birth control. Questions regarding where a spouse or parent works or resides. Name or address of relative, spouse or children of adult applicant.
Sexual Orientation: Questions which indicate whether the applicant is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Health: Questions regarding applicant's general medical condition, state of health or illnesses. Questions about an applicant's height and weight. How many sick days did you take last year?
Citizenship: Birthplace of applicant, applicant's parents, spouse or other relatives. Are you a U.S. citizen? What is citizenship of parents, spouse or other relatives? Requirement that applicant furnish naturalization papers or alien card prior to employment.
National Origin: Questions as to lineage, ancestry, national origin, nationality, descent or parentage of applicant, applicant's parents or spouse. What is your race? What language do you commonly use? Kowalski...that's Polish, isn't it?
Disabilities: Questions regarding receipt of Workers' Compensation. Do you have any handicap or physical disabilities? [Applicants may be asked to describe or demonstrate how they will be able to perform job-related functions.] What is the nature or severity of your disability?
Religion: Does your religion prevent you from working weekends or holidays? What church do you attend?
Salary: Provide your salary history and/or pay check stubs. (Check your state regulations – this question may be allowed) What is your current salary and/or the salaries you were making at prior jobs?
Military Service: General questions regarding military service such as date and type of discharge. Questions regarding service in a foreign military
Arrest/Criminal Record: Have you ever been arrested? Have you been convicted of a felony?

You May Ask

Age: If hired, can you show proof of age? Are you over eighteen years of age?
Marital Status: None
Family: Statement of company policy regarding work assignment of employees who are related. Do you have any responsibilities that conflict with the job attendance or travel requirements?
Sexual Orientation: None
Health: Statement that offer of employment may be made subject to applicant passing a job-related physical examination
Citizenship: Can you, after employment, submit verification of right to work in the U.S.?
National Origin: Languages which an applicant reads, speaks or writes, if use of a language other than English is relevant to the job for which the applicant is applying
Disabilities: Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job with or without reasonable accommodation?
Religion: Do you have any responsibilities that conflict with the job attendance requirements?
Salary: What is your desired annual salary or hourly rate?
Military Service: Questions regarding relevant skills acquired during applicant's U.S. military service

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About Brenda Maday
Portland, OR