You are probably asking illegal interview questions

Nigel Ravenhill

Knowing what not to ask is as important as knowing what to ask during the hiring process.

Unintentionally Illegal

When hiring a new employee, want to get to know them as well as possible so you can make the best hire for your company. But, not all questions are ‘kosher’ and those that fall outside the legal bounds may surprise you. Interviewers and candidates are often equally ignorant about whether a specific question is actually illegal. While genuine interest may have prompted it, an illegal question is still illega. What is illegal? Many questions that might come up in casual conversation – basically most questions related to family, marital status, nationality, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.

The Solution

Learning how to phrase interview questions appropriately to gather the information you’re seeking helps avoid crossing any lines. Often a strict focus on professional accomplishments, experiences and behaviors, rather than personal topics is the simplest way to avoid danger zones. Another way is to follow our recommendations below:

How to Ask The Right Way

Nationality
Asking where someone’s hometown might seem normal for you, especially in small talk, but it actually violates federal law in the USA.
Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 4.45.23 PM Legal Source in USA: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Religion
You may want to know their availability on weekends if that’s relevant to your company, but don’t connect it to religious practice.
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Legal Source in USA: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Marital and Family Status
There are fair ways of phrasing questions if you must obtain information on the availability of the candidate.
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Legal Source in USA: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Age
Whether you want to avoid employing a minor, or someone who may retire fairly soon, you can’t ask the candidate their age until after they have accepted a job offer.
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Legal Source in USA: Both bring up discrimination troubles. The latter, however,  runs awry of The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older.

Disability
You don’t need to ask candidates about their disability, rather focus on their capabilities and how they will be able to perform in the job.
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Legal Source in USA: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits general inquiries about disabilities, health problems, and medical conditions. Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments.

Arrest Record
If the candidate has been arrested in the past, it’s not proof that he’s currently engaged in criminal conduct. If you’re hiring a teacher you can ask about convictions for offenses that would particularly affect job performance, such as sexual offences or selling drugs.
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Legal Source in USA: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII).

What could happen if you don’t follow these recommendations?
You can easily obtain information the information you want while avoiding illegal interview questions. Seek out the information by relating questions specifically to the job description, what you’re seeking in the ideal candidate and their history. If you don’t you may open the door to potential legal trouble and bad publicity for your company.