Illegal Job Interview Questions to Avoid


Conducting an employment interview is stressful for every party involved. You are looking for the best possible new team member, and the person being interviewed is hoping to make the best possible first impression.

In today's competitive environment, the quality of your team is paramount to your success. In your enthusiasm to find the right person, you may not think about what you should and should not ask. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOA) prohibits you from asking questions that might lead to discrimination, or the appearance of discrimination.

Bottom line: you cannot ask questions that in any way relate to a candidate's:







Sexual orientation or gender identity

Country of origin




Marital status

Family status


Salary history (in some states)

This sounds easy, but can be hard, especially if you develop an easy rapport with the candidate during the interview. It is natural when getting to know someone to ask about family, friends, education or other off-limits topics, but that can get you into trouble during an interview. [Interested in background check services? Check out our best picks.]

When determining what questions to ask your candidates, consider what you need to know to make an educated hiring decision.

"It's important to ask the same questions to every candidate you are interviewing for a particular position," said Shobi Nunemacher, president of Referral Staffing Solutions. "You may have a different set of questions for different positions but when you are comparing two or more candidates for one opening, keep your questions the same."

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