9 Questions an Interviewer Should Never Ask During an Interview and Why?

As an interviewer, have you ever asked an inappropriate question? The job interview is a very important factor in the employee selection process. It is the primary way, through the questions asked and interviewee responses, that an employer can best determine if the interviewee is a fit for the job.

An interviewer can use behavioral-based job interview questions to help them decide if the candidate has the requisite skills that the company needs.

Below are questions which an interviewer should never ask:

  1. I love your accent. Which part of the world do you come from?

You can not ask if someone is a US citizen or what country their parents are from. Although you are probably asking this to make a connection and the question is in no way discriminatory, if you decide not to move forward with the candidate, he or she can look back on the question and claim that you discriminated against him or her.

It is fine to ask about their ability to speak other languages if that is a job requirement.

  1. How many kids do you have?

It is never appropriate to ask this type of personal question. You can ask the candidate about commitments that might prevent them from working assigned shifts and job duties, and you must ask all candidates, not just the women.

  1. Do you have any disabilities?

Another similar question you should never ask is “Have you ever filed for Worker’s Compensation?”  To determine an applicant’s suitability for the position, it would be better to describe the duties of the position and ask if they can perform those tasks.

It is vital for an interviewer to understand that many disabilities are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  1. Which church do you attend?

This question is not allowed, even if you intend to hire a person to work for a faith-based organization. You can ask them about their knowledge of the faith-based or church marketplace rather than anything that ties to an expression of personal faith.

You cannot discriminate an individual on the basis of religion.

  1. What does your wife/husband do for a living?

You might feel like you are establishing a connection with the candidate, but again, don’t ask this question.

The candidate could feel discriminated against based on your reaction to their spouse’s profession. There will be plenty of time to get to know the candidate better if you decide to hire them.

  1. How old are you?

The Age Discrimination Employment Act, states that the only time this question can be asked is if the job requires employees to be over 18 or in the case of serving alcohol, where employees must be over 21. This is a very narrow area of inquiry.

  1. Are you married?

If marriage is not a job requirement, do not ask this question as any part of a pre-employment interview. This could be interpreted as a question about sexual orientation.

It is unethical to ask a job applicant if he or she is married, divorced, single, or separated or anything related to marital status.

  1. Are you pregnant?

Even if a candidate is obviously pregnant, you cannot ask any questions regarding the pregnancy. You can describe the duties of the position and inquire if they can perform those tasks.

  1. What is your race or color?

This question is never allowed unless there is a qualified need. If you think there is, then it is best to get legal advice before asking this question.


Need help with interviewing job candidates?  Contact FrontGate Search now. 

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