10+ Illegal Interview Questions to Avoid
When you are in the interview process as a future employee, it is imperative that you understand what some of the questions are that hiring managers or the interviewing party cannot ask you. These questions are considered illegal interview questions. Meaning, if they are asked, the employer is clearly violating certain privacy policies and you have no obligation to answer them. In addition to not having to answer them, you can file a complaint against the business for having these practices.
Most often, these questions are experienced when you are in the phone interview stage of the hiring process. This is because future employers are trying to get to know you better in order to understand if they want to move you onto the next stage of the interview process. And because of that intent, hiring managers, employees, or anyone who may be conducting the interview often forget that these questions are related to personal privacy.
Understand that if an employer asks you these questions it doesn't always mean that they have the worst of intentions. Unless they are questions that clearly harass your race or gender, sometimes simply asking "Where did you grow up?" can be a violation of privacy but is gentle enough to where you should understand someone isn't trying to attack your personal nature.
Area's that are illegal to ask about
Generally speaking, these area's of interest or potential discussion points are often times somewhat sensitive to speak about in the interview process. If you are conducting an interview, it would be best if you simply avoided the subject matter altogether. That will be the most risk-averse in the scenario and protect both your employment as well as the company. Employees who are conducting interviews that have asked questions in these topics often get terminated once the interviewer reports the issues.
- Race, Color, or National Origin
- Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation
- Pregnancy status
- Age or Genetic Information
- Marital Status or Number of Children
Here are some sample questions to make you understand what's legal and what's not legal to ask based on different aspects:
What is your current residential address?
How long did you live at your previous residence?
Does someone live with you?
When did you start college?
Do you have a reliable way mode of transport to work?
Question about owning a car unless the job requires.
Citizenship or national origin
Can you provide the proof of citizenship/visa/alien registration if we decide to hire you?
Are you capable of speaking, reading and writing English?
Can you please provide your birth certificate?
Where are your parents from?
Where is your birthplace?
How did you learn English?
What college or university degrees do you have?
Emergency Contact Name
What is your current and expected salary?
Height or weight
What’s your weight?
Are you married?
Race or Color
Religion or Creed
Who is your pastor?
Sex, Orientation, or Gender Identity
Illegal interview questions
I hope this acted as a simple guide for which areas you can discuss in an interview. Keep in mind, while we did cover the fact that some questions inside of these topics are considered legal, I would still recommend that you avoid the topic area's all together. It simply will not be worth it if there's miscommunication regarding the questions that you asked and how the other party interpreted it. And generally speaking, the policy for all employers is that they will side with the interviewing party and potentially terminate your employment.
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