20 Questions You Cannot Ask During an Interview
Here in Hawaii, it’s common to ask someone what school they went to and what year they graduated within the first few minutes of meeting. It’s the fastest way for us to make a personal connection. And it’s likely that that person across from you has a cousin, sibling, or friend in common with you.
In the realm of recruiting and hiring, however, innocent questions such as these could expose your business to legal claims of discrimination. Why? Because knowing when a job applicant graduated from high school gives you a pretty good idea of how old that person is, and federal law prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on age. It also prohibits discrimination based on: disability, equal pay / compensation, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race / color, religion, retaliation, sex, and sexual harassment.
As you sort through applications and schedule promising candidates to come in for interviews, it’s important to know what questions to avoid. Here’s our list of 20 questions you should never ask a jobseeker:
1. Are you married?
2. Are you planning to get married?
3. Do you have kids?
4. When are you planning on have children?
5. Should I call you Mr., Mrs., or Ms.?
6. Where were you born?
7. How old are you?
8. When did you graduate from high school?
9. What’s your sexual orientation?
10. Have you ever been arrested?
11. Have you ever been convicted?
12. What’s your nationality?
13. Are you a naturalized or native-born U.S. citizen?
14. What is the name and address of a relative we can contact in case of an emergency?
15. What is your first language?
16. What religious holidays do you observe?
17. Who do you live with?
18. Where does your spouse work?
19. Have you ever collected workers’ comp or temporary disability insurance for a previous injury or
20. Do you have a physical disability?
Once you’ve hired a candidate, you can feel free to ask them about which high school they went to. Until then, steer clear of these questions and protect your business from legal claims.
Do you have available positions that you’re ready to start interviewing for? Post your open jobs to Real Jobs Hawaii – it’s completely free for employers!