Job interviews can provide employers and prospective hires a chance to get to know one another. However, there are some cases where a recruiter or hiring manager may ask some prying questions. In some cases, those inappropriate inquiries may be illegal.
According to Cheat Sheet, nearly 20% of hiring managers have asked an unlawful interview question without even realizing it. In some instances, a prospective employee may not even know the question they were asked was illegal. However, they may want to be aware of what those questions are if they happen to come by them.
Five interview questions employers can’t ask
It is against the law for recruiters or hiring managers to ask these questions:
- If the candidate is married: An interviewer may ask this question to see how much a potential employee will commit to their job. However, it is against the law for an employer to ask this question. That’s because it can reveal a person’s marital status and sexual orientation.
- If the candidate has children: Similar to the marriage question, an employer may ask this to see how committed an applicant will be to their job. While it is illegal to deny someone employment because they have kids, interviewers can ask candidates what obligations they have outside of work.
- What country the candidate is from: The interviewer may bring attention to an interviewee if they have a foreign-sounding accent. But asking this question is against the law as it forces a candidate to give details about their national origin. However, it is legal for an employer to ask if a candidate is authorized to work in a particular country.
- If the candidate drinks: It is against the law for an employer to ask about an interview candidate’s drinking habits because it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. If an interviewee suffers from alcoholism, they do not have to disclose any information about their condition before officially accepting a job offer.
- How long a candidate has been working: Those ages 40 or older are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. That means it’s against the law for employers to guess a candidate’s age. Interviewers can’t ask a prospective hire what year they graduated high school or college or even their birthday. However, an employer can ask how long a candidate has been working in a specific industry.
Job seekers should know their rights
It can be awkward for a prospective hire to be asked unlawful interview questions. If someone thinks an employer asked them questions that are considered illegal, whether they were hired or not, they may want to contact a knowledgeable and diligent employment law attorney. They can help review the claims and protect job candidate’s legal rights.