6 Illegal Interview Questions You Shouldn't Ask
August 06, 2010
Need a refresher on which questions you can and can’t ask when conducting a job interview? There’s no shame in reusing the old standbys, such as “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “What’s your greatest weakness?” And the more colorful questions, such as “What animal best describes you?” and “If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?” that can help you get a better sense of a candidate’s personality.
Regardless of what questions you choose, there are a handful of interview questions you should never ask. Be aware — questions about subjects in these categories violate candidates’ rights:
|• Age||• National origin|
|• Birthplace||• Race|
|• Color||• Religion|
|• Disability||• Sex|
|• Marital/family status|
However, don’t assume that personal questions are automatically off-limits. It’s your job to assess whether someone is fit for the job. While you can’t and shouldn’t directly about any of these topics, don’t be hesitant to get the information you need. Given the right context, it’s perfectly appropriate for candidates to discuss their families or religion with a potential employer. It all depends on how the question is phrased.
While it’s important not to ask illegal interview questions, there are legal alternatives. Be prepared and know your options by checking out these six examples of illegal interview questions, and how they can be rephrased to comply with the law.