3 Interview Questions You Can (and Can’t!) Be Asked

Interview questions are a way for a potential employee and employer to get to know each other. It is a traditional part of the job hiring process that provides valuable information for both parties, and some employers are asking non-traditional interview questions to gain deeper insights into an employee’s personality.

Regardless of the interview style, there are rules for the types of questions you can ask a potential employee. For both parties involved, it is important to know what an employer can ask and what is illegal. Here are some interviewer tips to get you started.

3 Interview Questions Employers Can Ask

1. About Physical Requirements or Limitations

An interviewer may describe a job and then ask if the candidate can perform the functions of the job, such as standing/sitting for a certain period of time or if they can lift a certain quantity of weight essential to the job function. Even if the potential employee has disclosed a disability, interviewers may still ask this question, but they may not ask about health status or if the prospect ever filed a workers’ compensation claim.

2. Legal Convictions

Crimes prospective employees have been convicted of are public record, so interviewees don’t want to be caught in a lie. Interviewers are allowed to ask if candidates have been convicted of specific crimes, but they are not allowed to ask about arrest records or loaded or incriminating questions such as, “Have you ever been arrested?”

3. Travel and Overtime

Interviewers may not ask candidates, specifically women, if they have family obligations that would stop them from work travel and overtime. Instead, employers may ask how the employee feels about travel requirements, and if they can work overtime on short notice.

3 Interview Questions Employers Can’t Ask

1.  Gender, Sexual Orientation or Family Status

Employers are not permitted to ask questions about gender, or if applicable, questions about a gender transition, gender identity or sexual orientation. As innocent a question as it may seem, they are also not allowed to ask if potential employees are married, single, have children or plan to have children. It is illegal to make hiring decisions based on family or marital status, so there is no reason these types of questions should come up in an interview.

2. Citizenship and Residency

Questions about whether or not candidates are a U.S. citizen, or how long they have resided in the U.S. are off-limits. Interviewers are also not allowed to ask questions about where prospects are currently living, such as how long the commute is or if they live nearby. This is considered personal information until a job offer is made, and could allow for discrimination against candidates who live farther than others.

3. Clubs or Associations

Asking interviewees which clubs and associations they are a part of is not allowed; this can open the interviewee up to religious discrimination. Employers also can’t ask which holidays candidates celebrate or if they attend any religious ceremonies.

If you have any questions about interview questions and what may be legal, or staffing services we provide, don’t hesitate to contact Josephine’s Professional Staffing.