10 Interview Questions You Should NEVER Ask

Eric Hawrysz —  May 7, 2012 — 2 Comments

In the age of employment-related lawsuits, there are just some interview questions you can’t ask. They are off-limits. Any question you ask that could discriminate against age, gender, religion, etc. are strictly forbidden by EEO regulations, and could get you into an awful lot of legal trouble, lawsuits and bad PR. We’ve compiled a list of some of the worst interview questions to ask candidates and ones to avoid. Here they are!



1. Are you a U.S. Citizen?

This may seem like the best question to determine a candidate’s ability to legally work for your company, however it’s off-limits. Ask instead if your candidate is authorized to work in the U.S.

2. How long have you lived here?

Residency is another touchy subject, and length of residency may have nothing to do with the job. Instead, you can ask about their current residence information.


3. How old are you?

This question can lead to discrimination trouble down the line. Instead, ask if they meet minimum age requirements. The number of age discrimination cases is up since 2009.[1]

4. How long before you plan to retire?

Again, this is another question that can lead to discrimination issues, especially in older candidates – the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.[2] Instead, you can ask about long term career goals.


5. What religion do you practice?

Religion can be a very touchy subject, as everyone has both opinions and stereotypes about it – stay away from it! However, if you’re asking as it pertains to religious holidays or scheduling, simply ask a scheduling-related question.

6. What social clubs do you belong to?

This question can inadvertently lead to discrimination as such clubs may include political or religious groups, and mostly these groups will have little to do with the job at hand.  However, you can ask about professional organizations the candidate belongs to as it pertains to their resume and experience, as long as it is relevant to the job.


7. We’ve always had a man/woman do this job.  Do you think you can do it?

This just has bad news written all over it! Avoid all questions that pertain to gender to avoid any chance of getting caught up in an EEO violation. Instead ask your candidate what he/she can offer the company.

8. How do you feel about supervising men/women?

This question may seem straightforward, but can get you into trouble for making assumptions. Instead, ask about their managing experience directly, and always avoid gender-related questions.

Marital/Family Status

9. Do you have kids?

This question gets you into trouble for making assumptions on family dynamics. Leave the family out of it entirely and instead ask about their availability to work off-hours and overtime directly.

10. Would you come back to work after maternity leave?

This question is primarily asked of women, but can be applied to either would-be parent now with the Family Leave act.  It’s still not a good idea though, as it highlights portions of your candidate’s life that do not directly affect their ability to do the job. Instead, ask about their career goals.

To put it short…

Never ask a candidate a question that does not have to do directly with the position you are hiring for. If it’s not relevant to their work experience or professional ability to do the job, don’t ask it!

This is just a short list of questions not to ask in an interview. Find out what interview questions you should ask here!



Eric Hawrysz

Posts Google+

Eric’s our IT Manager at NewHire. He’s the go-to tech guy at the office, and when not at work, you can find him helping to stage local theatre, or getting ready for the next Comic-Con Convention.

Get more recruiting tips via email. Straight forward. No spam.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Orange County Employment Interview Questions: Illegal Questions Employers Ask « Orange County Employment Law News Blog - May 7, 2012

    […] 10 Employment Interview Questions You Should NEVER Ask « NewHire … […]

  2. How to Interview & Select Unskilled Employees | NewHire - Recruiting Tips & Advice - April 9, 2013

    […] Many high schools will share information about the student’s attendance in class and grades. Ask candidates for names of teachers who can verify their participation and ability to learn new […]

  3. Angela Vanlods - November 7, 2016

    Nice website

    This was very nice to develop such a nice website.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>