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Interview Legalities

Interview Legalities

Illegal Interview Questions

There are a limited set of topics that are protected -- or topics that are not to influence your hiring decision. The good news is that the list is quite short and is mostly obvious stuff that common sense would dictate is off limits:
  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Disability status
  • Marital status

Sometimes, though, applying this list in real-life can be confusing, but it's easy to ask something out-of-bounds with a slightly reworded question.
Networking site, 
Excelle, put together a list of illegal questions and their re-worded legal alternatives.

The following questions from are a few examples on how to receive information you want without crossing the legal barrier. 
M Illegal question: How old are you?
Legal version: Are you over 18? Remember that while you can't ask someone's age, it's perfectly legal to ensure they're legally old enough to work for you.
Illegal question: Do you have kids?
Legal version: Are you willing to travel for this position? You can't ask if someone is married, divorced or has kids. But if you are trying to determine if they can manage travel or flexible hours, go ahead and ask that directly.
Illegal question: Are you a U.S. citizen?
Legal version: Are you legally authorized to work in the U.S.? Where your candidate is from is immaterial; the real question is if they can legally work here. Just don't directly ask if they have a work visa -- it's HR's job to ensure all the paperwork is complete before the start date.
Illegal question: Have you ever been arrested?
Legal version: Have you ever been convicted of [fill in the blank]? Perhaps surprisingly, you can't ask someone about their general criminal background. But it's appropriate to ask about criminal behavior that's directly related to the specific field or career in which the person is applying.