Interviewing Legally
Regarding Age
Are you 18 years or older?
If not, how old are you?
How old are you?
In what year were you born?
What is your birthday, including the year
of birth?
What are the ages of your children?
When did you attend high school?
What year did you graduate from high
Regarding Disability
The primary functions of the position are ...
If hired, can you perform them with or without
reasonable accommodations?
Illegal: Do you have a disability?
What is your height and weight?
Have you ever been treated for any of the following
Have you ever received worker’s compensation?
Have you ever had a drug or alcohol problem?
Have you ever been tested for AIDS?
How would you describe your general health?
When was your last physical exam?
Regarding Gender
Legal: None
Illegal: Any questions regarding gender!
(Exception: Questions regarding gender
may be asked if the gender is a BFOQ.
However the employer has the burden of
establishing that the job requires either a
man or woman and cannot be performed by
the other sex.)
Regarding Martial Status
Legal: None
Illegal: Are you married?
Are you planning to get married in the near
Are you single? Married? Divorced?
When were you married? Divorced?
Do you wish to be addressed as Miss, Mrs.,
or Ms.?
What does your spouse do?
Will you spouse object to you working
overtime, traveling, and so forth?
Regarding Martial Status
Illegal continued:
If your spouse is transferred to a different city,
would you also move?
If you go to work, who will take care of your
With whom do you reside?
Do you live with your parents?
What is your spouse’s name?
Do you own your home or rent?
List the number and ages of your children.
If you have children, please describe the
provision you have made regarding child care.
Regarding Criminal
Legal: Have you ever been
convicted of a felony?
Illegal: Have you ever been
Regarding Birth Control
Legal: None
Illegal: Are you planning to start
a family?
How do you feel about
Are you capable of
having children?
Regarding National Origin
Legal: None
Illegal: What is your nationality?
What is the native country of your
What is the nationality of your
Where are your parents from?
How did you learn to speak a foreign
Regarding Race
Legal: None
Illegal: What is your race or
What color are your
skin, eyes, and hair?
Regarding Religion
Legal: None
Illegal: Who is your pastor, clergy?
What religious holidays do you
Do you attend church?
Does your religion prevent you from
working weekends or holidays?
Regarding Citizenship and Residence
Legal: Are you a U.S. citizen?
If not a citizen of the U.S., do you intend to
become a citizen of the U.S.?
If not a U.S. citizen, do you intend to remain
in the U.S.?
If not a U.S. citizen, can you legally be
employed in the U.S.?
If hired, can you provide proof of citizenship?
What is your place of residence?
How long have you been a resident of this
state? City?
Regarding Citizenship and Residence
Illegal: What country are you a citizen of?
If a U.S. citizen, are you native-born
or naturalized?
Are your parents U.S. citizens?
Is your spouse a U.S. citizen?
Regarding Language Ability
Legal: What foreign languages can you speak
and write?
Illegal: What is your native language?
What is the primary language spoken
in your home?
How did you learn to speak or write a
foreign language?
What is your mother tongue?
What language do you commonly
Regarding Military Service
Legal: Have you served in the Armed
Forces of the United States?
Illegal: Did you receive a discharge or
release under other than honorable
Have you served in the military forces
of any country other than the United
Regarding the Applicant’s Name
Legal: Have you ever worked for this company
under a different name?
In checking your references and work
record, are there any names or nicknames
that we should check under?
Illegal: What is the name listed on your birth
What is your maiden name?
Have you ever worked under another
Regarding Organizations That the
Applicant May Belong To
Legal: What professional organizations that
are relevant to your job do you belong
What job related organizations, clubs,
or other associations do you belong to?
Please omit those that indicate your
race, religion, color, nation al origin,
ancestry, sex, political beliefs, or age.
Do you enjoy being active in
community affairs?
Regarding Organizations That
the Applicant May Belong To
Illegal: What clubs do you belong to?
What social or fraternal organizations
do you belong to?
Name all clubs, societies,
organizations, and do forth, that you
have belonged to.
What are your feelings regarding labor
Regarding Relatives
of Applicant
Legal: Do you have any relatives
employed by this company?
If so, what are their names?
Illegal: Any questions regarding relatives
not employed by the company?
Regarding Prior Employment
Legal: Would you tell us about your last job?
What were your major duties and
Describe a typical day in your last job.
What were some of the problems involved in
your last job?
Which problems frustrated you the most?
How did you overcome the problems
How did your previous job prepare you for
this position?
What were your goals at your last job? Did
you reach them?
What position did your supervisor hold?
Regarding Prior Employment
Illegal: What did your family think about your
last job?
Did your family interfere with your
performance on the last job?
What did your family think about you
being required to travel on your last
Regarding Financial History
Legal: If hired, will you have any problems
obtaining a bond (only if a bond is
Illegal: Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
Has your pay ever been garnished?
Describe your credit rating?
Have you ever been refused bonding?
Have you ever had a bond canceled?
Do you own a car?
Regarding Education
Legal: In what subjects did you make good
grades in school?
What was your major? Why?
Are you interested in continuing your
Did you work while attending school?
Did you participate in extracurricular
activities at school?
How did your education prepare you
for this job?
Regarding Education
Illegal: Did you use financial aid while
attending school?
Who paid for your schooling?
Do you still owe on student loans?
Did you live at home while
attending school?
Regarding Employment with
Your Company
Legal: Why do you want this position?
What can you contribute to this company?
What qualifications do you have for this
Do you know of any reasons or problems
that would prevent you from working
normal hours? Overtime?
Do you know of any reasons that would
prevent you from traveling (only if
traveling is a part of the job)?
What kind of work do you like best?
Regarding Employment with
Your Company
Legal: What do you consider your strong
What do you consider your weak
What is your strongest personal
quality and your weakest?
What do you want to do in your next
job that you cannot do in your present
Do you have any special skills or
Regarding Employment with
Your Company
Legal: Are your skills recent?
When did you last use a … (machine
or skill)?
What is your career objective?
What do you intend to do to reach
your career objective?
If hired, could you pass a medical
examination designed to test your ability
to perform essential job functions with or
without reasonable
After Employment
After an applicant has been hired,
he or she may be asked
information regarding age, marital
status, and who should be notified
in case of an accident or
emergency. In addition, after
employment the individual may be
required to provide the company
with a recent photograph.
Can an individual be
denied employment for
giving false information
during the interview
Consider the following case:
Richard Doe was a union carpenter and was referred to
several jobs from the union hiring halls. During a slack
period, he applied for a job as a carpenter with a nonunionized company. He was asked during the
employment interview if he was a member of the
carpenter’s union. He answered no. A background
check revealed that he was a member of the union. The
company, admitting that he was well qualified, justified
not hiring him on the basis that he provided false
information during the interview process. He contended
that he was not hired because he was a union member.
The court held that since the question regarding union
membership was improper and should not have been
asked, his false answer could not be considered. He
recovered back pay from the company.
Red Flags
Certain red flags can occur during
the interview process. The
interviewer should be on guard for
them. They probably indicate a
need for further investigation.
Each interviewer should develop
his or her list of red flags.
Common Red Flags
• Unusually long pauses before answering
certain questions.
• Inappropriate use of humor.
• Sudden change in voice volume.
• Overly complex responses to simple
• Sudden change to more formal
Common Red Flags
• Blushing for no apparent reason.
• Sudden significant change in manners
or pace.
• Sudden loss of eye contact.
• Nonverbal clues that convey different
statements from the verbal statements.
• Sudden heavy perspiring.
When red flags occur, it
may be appropriate to use
follow up questions
regarding the current
subject being discussed.

Interviewing Legally