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Questions you should not ask applicants during a job interview

Federal laws protect workers from generally all types of discrimination. These protections cover all stages of employment, including the recruitment process. If you do not want to violate anti-discrimination laws when interviewing job applicants, avoiding the following questions might help.

How old are you?

Asking questions about the applicant’s age might constitute age discrimination. Generally, it is best to avoid such inquiries unless your goal is to confirm that the candidate meets the position’s age requirements. For example, a person needs to be at least 21 to work as a bartender in California.

Are you biracial?

Consider avoiding questions about the applicant’s race as well. These include inquiries about their country of origin, ethnicity or the language they speak at home.

Are you pregnant?

The law protects women from denial based on their pregnancy, mainly if they can perform job-related tasks without any issues. It would also be ideal to avoid inquiring if the applicant plans to have children in the future.

Does any disease run in your family?

The law advises against asking questions about an applicant’s medical or genetic history. Generally, you may require a medical examination after extending an offer and to support an employee’s request for accommodations if they have disabilities.

What church do you go to?

Employers should avoid questions related to the applicant’s religion. You can, however, ask about their availability for the religious holidays they observe.

Are you straight?

An applicant’s gender identity is generally irrelevant to their ability to perform tasks. Avoiding this question and others like it in job interviews is best.

Anti-discrimination laws help create inclusive workplaces for everyone. Consulting with an attorney can help ensure your organization’s procedures comply with and protect your employees’ rights.