Interviewing can be a stressful situation for both the employer and the potential candidate. Employers need to know the appropriate questions to ask and those that they need to avoid. Any interview should be preceded by due diligence. Make sure you know what you are going to ask during the interview to insure that you are compliant with all federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of an applicant's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability.
Some states even prohibit discrimination based on factors such as marital status or sexual orientation. So asking any questions related to one of these characteristics can subject you to a discrimination case.
Every question you ask should be related to the common goal: "How are you qualified to perform the job you are applying for?"
To avoid getting you or your company in hot water, avoid asking any of the following questions.
1. Are you married? Divorced?
2. If you are single, are you living with anyone?
3. How old are you?
4. Do you have children? If so, how many and how old are they?
5. What church do you attend?
6. Do you have any debts?
7. Do you own or rent your home?
8. Do you belong to any social or political groups?
9. How much and what kinds of insurance do you have?
10. Do you suffer from an illness or disability?
11. Have you ever had or been treated for any of these conditions or diseases? (followed by a checklist)
12. Have you been hospitalized? What for?
13. Have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist?
14. Have you had a major illness recently?
15. How many days of work did you miss last year because of illness?
16. Do you have any disabilities or impairments that might affect your performance in this job?
17. Are you taking any prescription drugs?
18. Have you ever been treated for drug addiction or alcoholism?
19. Do you plan to get married?
20. Do you intend to start a family?
21. What are your day care plans for your children?
22. Are you comfortable supervising men?
23. What would you do if your husband was transferred?
24. Do you think you could perform the job as well as a man?
25. Are you likely to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
If a candidate openly offers any information related to the above questions, it is best to cut it off quickly. Quickly changing the subject will guide the interview back to the main purpose, "How are you qualified to perform the job you are applying for?"