3 Questions to Never Ask a Candidate During an Interview


A job interview is your chance to get to know a candidate, to see if they are the right fit for the job. While you can certainly ask a number of questions to learn more about them, some inquiries are strictly off limits. It is extremely important to know which topics to avoid, so you don’t unknowingly ask the wrong question and get hit with a lawsuit.

Do Not Ask These 3 Questions in a Job Interview

Steer clear of these three questions during every job interview:

How old are you?

Asking someone’s age could quickly lead to a lawsuit. Leave this question out. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects workers over the age of 40 from employment discrimination in companies with more than 20 employees. It’s only legal to set an age limit for a position in the very rare case the company can prove it is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). To ensure a candidate is qualified, ask questions regarding their past experience and their ability to perform certain tasks.

Are you married?

It’s easy to inadvertently slip this question into casual conversation, but its important to avoid this topic during an interview. Questioning a candidate’s relationship status could be a violation of Title VII. Refrain from asking questions that touch on matters such as whether or not a candidate is in a relationship, already has kids, is currently pregnant or plans to have children in the future.

Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?

Many clubs and social organizations are political, religious or centered around protected interests, including unions. It is acceptable to ask if a candidate if they are a member of a professional organization related to your field, but clearly emphasize that your inquiry only pertains to those of a professional nature. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re fishing for information that could make your hiring decision appear discriminatory.

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