6 Kinds of Interview Questions It’s Never Okay to Ask

A job interview is your chance to learn as much as possible about a candidate, but that doesn’t mean every inquiry is fair game. As long as your line of questioning remains strictly professional, you’re free to dig as deep as necessary to gauge a person’s fit for the job. Crossing into personal territory doesn’t just make things uncomfortable for the candidate — it’s illegal.

Certain topics are clearly inappropriate, but others aren’t as apparent. Learn six categories of interview questions you must steer clear of at all costs to avoid inadvertently crossing a line. The exception to this rule is if the candidate brings up any of these topics on their own. If this happens, you’re free to proceed with the conversation they started.

1.     Race

As a naturally inquisitive person, sheer curiosity might tempt you to ask a candidate about their heritage, but don’t do it. All questions related to race and nationality are viewed as discriminatory and have no place in a job interview.

2.     Religion

For many people, religion is a huge part of their life, but it has nothing to do with their fit for the job. Asking the candidate if they’re religious, what their religion is, or what church they attend can get you in serious trouble.

3.     Family Status

Small talk often involves banter about spouses and children — or lack therof — but steer clear of these topics in a job interview. This includes asking a woman if she’s pregnant, inquiring on a person’s marital status, and finding out if a candidate has any children.

4.     Age

You might be eager to know how old a candidate is, but legally speaking, it’s none of your business. Don’t even think about asking a person’s birth year or birthday.

5.     Gender

In most cases, it’s very obvious if a someone is a man or a woman, but it’s possible you might be unsure about the gender of some candidates. Addressing a person when you’re unsure of their gender can be awkward, but so is asking if they’re a man or a woman.

6.     Living Conditions

You can ask candidates if they have reliable transportation to get to work, but probing into their actual living situation isn’t permitted. There’s no need for you to know if the person rents or owns their home or lives with roommates or by themselves.

If you need to polish your hiring and retention processes, or if you are looking to staff your HR department with top talent who can make a positive difference in your organization, connect with the professional recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today.