With limited time, we try to ask the most important questions during an interview. Adding another employee to the team can alter the company dynamic and customers. Asking questions about a candidate’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability or genetic information can result in charges of discriminations, an investigation by the EEOC, and possibly even a lawsuit if the issue cannot be resolved. It may sound like a no-brainer, but employers make these costly mistakes constantly.

Examples of illegal questions during the interview process:

• Are you a U.S. citizen?
• What church do you attend?
• Direct questions about discharge or non-U.S. military service.
• Any questions regarding marital status, “what does your husband do?”
• Will you need personal time off for religious holidays?
• Have you experienced any serious illnesses over the past year?
• Are you pregnant? Are you trying to have/start a family?
• What year did you graduate?

Examples of legal questions:

• If offered a position, we will need to complete an I-9 form and E-verify case, and every employee is asked to provide 2 forms of identification in order to complete this process.
• Do you have any leave or vacations planned?
• How long do you plan to stay with our organization? Or What are your career goals at [Company Name]?
• What experience and training did you receive while serving in the military that would be beneficial to this position?
• If there are concerns about physical capabilities, simply describe the job and ask if the candidate can perform all the job functions with or without reasonable accommodation
• Share the schedule for the position and ask if the candidate is able to work the scheduled work hours?

It’s easy to get caught in the moment of conversation. If a candidate shares something that is listed under the illegal questions, refrain from discussing it further. It’s best to move forward to the next job-related question. If this gives you a headache or you need advice, contact Willis HR!