a woman hands another woman a tablet across a white table You’ve finally narrowed down a list of candidates for an open position. Now, you’re ready to start the interview process and you’re drafting a list of questions to get to know each candidate and their qualifications. But before you finalize that list, you need to be aware of questions that could stray too far into a gray area or are just blatantly unethical and illegal. There are many questions that are too taboo to ask during an interview and can subject your business to accusations of unfair hiring practices and lawsuits. Any question that refers to a candidate’s sexual orientation, marital or family status, religion or ethnicity are just a few examples of topics you shouldn’t bring up during an interview. But let’s get more specific.

To Ask Or Not To Ask?
The following are some examples of questions you might let slip during an interview, but should be avoided when speaking with candidates. As a general rule, it’s best to stay away from any questions that are not immediately relevant to the job:

  • When did you graduate from high school?
  • Are you married? Do you plan to start a family soon?
  • What arrangements are you able to make for childcare while you work?
  • How old are your children?
  • You have a lovely accent. Where are you from?
  • Are you a U.S. citizen?
  • Will you need personal time off for particular religious holidays?
  • Are you comfortable working for a female boss?
  • How do you feel about being the only woman on an all-male team?
  • How long do you plan to work before you retire?
  • Have you experienced any serious illnesses in the past year? Note: For physically demanding jobs, it’s okay to ask about specific physical abilities (ie – standing on your feet for hours at a time, heavy lifting, etc). But anything that isn’t directly related to tasks performed on the job should never be questioned.

Another tricky area is asking questions about whether a candidate has ever been arrested. Many states have adopted laws or policies which impact what employers can ask job candidates about their criminal history prior to evaluating their qualifications. Contemporaries can help you with the proper questions to ask in this situation.

Regulations regarding certain interview questions are continually changing and it can be hard to keep up. Contemporaries always stays up to date on new laws and legal interpretation of existing laws, so you can feel confident that all interviews adhere to fair hiring practices. By working with our employment agency, your business avoids liability since we take care of the entire process for you. Call Contemporaries at 301-565-0445 and let’s take the stress and confusion out of hiring the most qualified candidate for the job!