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Five Unique Questions That Are Illegal to Ask in an Interview

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There’s a long list of labor laws that hiring managers need to abide by, and the last thing you want to do is ask one that leads to discrimination. While recounting every labor regulation in the law book is hard for even the most ardent attorney, hiring managers and HR professionals need to be extra diligent when it comes to asking certain specific job interview questions.

According to Monster, there are a series of ones to avoid, which are considered discriminatory (and vary from state to state). Asking about age, religious beliefs, nationality or kids (or planning on having kids) are all well-known questions to avoid. Yet, there are a series of questions and topics that are lesser-known. Here are just a few that are most likely illegal in every state:

  • Bankruptcy Filing

Asking if a candidate has ever filed for bankruptcy is a big a no-no, along with asking about loans, wage attachments and overall financial status. However, you can ask job interview questions about certain financial information related to the benefits or compensation after they have been hired.

  1. Military Discharge Status

While it’s fine to ask if an applicant is a veteran or they have any job-related experience from the military, always avoid asking their discharge status.

  1. Asking About Nearest Relatives or Next of Kin

This is another question that is off-limits, yet it’s legal to ask an applicant about a nearest relative or next of kin for emergency contacts once after they have been hired.

  1. History of Belonging to a Union

Raising a question about previous roles and affiliation within a union is another one to avoid. However, you can make a reference to the union status of your workplace.

  1. Disabilities

Whether a disability is apparent or not, this is very much an illegal job interview questions under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which “provides protections for disabled employees and job applicants.” When a candidate’s disability is obvious (or has disclosed their disability), it’s suggested to ask about any necessary (or reasonable) accommodations they may need for the position.

Interviewing can be a long process, and it’s wise to make special note of the more unique questions. Even though you may not realize that some questions are, in fact, illegal, it’s always best to do further research to avoid any type of discrimination when it comes to job interview questions.

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