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    Home / Article  / Top 10 Questions You Can’t Ask in an Interview

    Top 10 Questions You Can’t Ask in an Interview

    What would you say if you were given advice that could save you millions of dollars and the possible loss of your business?  Well, knowing the right interview questions to ask candidates — and avoiding the ones you should never ask — could save your business and your way of life.

    Discrimination suits are a 450 million dollar industry in this country.  Steering clear of discriminatory questions in an interview setting will help save you from falling into the lawsuit trap — and the inside of a courtroom.

    The Top 10 Questions You Can’t Ask in an Interview

    1. Do you have any children?  While this seems like an innocent question, it can be interpreted that working parents won’t give the same amount of dedication to their employer as non-parents.  Steer clear of this question.
    2. How old are you?  Age discrimination is a growing problem in this country, accounting for roughly one third of all discrimination suits filed in 2010 and 2011.
    3. What year did you graduate high school or college?  Again, an age discrimination issue in a thinly veiled question.
    4. Have you ever been arrested?  While it IS perfectly legal to determine if someone has been convicted of a felony, asking about any arrests is a definite no-no.
    5. Do you have any disabilities?  Since the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 was passed, this question is off-limits.  You may however ask if someone requires special accommodations.
    6. Have you ever filed a worker’s comp claim?  While this is an answer many employers would like to hear, the question is discriminatory in nature and can lead to another claim filing – a legal claim against you and your company.
    7. Have you declared bankruptcy?  Many financial institutions will run a credit check on job candidates, which is legal, but asking this question in an interview is not allowed.  Furthermore, most employers will not run a credit check unless the position requires handling a great amount of money.
    8. What church do you go to or are there religious holidays you observe?  Taco Bell settled a lawsuit early this year for 27 million dollars because of a question similar to this.  Don’t let that be you; steer clear of any questions regarding faith or religious belief, even if you are only asking out of curiosity.
    9. What is your native language?  This question can also be disguised as “Where’s your accent from?”  Asking in this way is just as illegal.  Discrimination suits filed by English as a Second Language speakers are on the rise.  It is okay to ask if someone is fluent in second language however, and this ability can be a real boom to your business in today’s global economy.
    10. Have your wages ever been garnished?  This question is frankly none of your concern and should never be asked as it can lead to a severe decrease in YOUR wages after paying a hefty settlement.

    As limiting as this list may seem to you, the employer, realize that for every one of the questions you can’t ask in an interview, there are a dozen more that you can, and those are the questions that will enable you to make a proper choice of candidates for any position you need to fill.  Steering clear of discrimination lawsuits is not only the fiscally responsible thing to do; it’s the fair and just way to hire.  Base your hiring decisions on a candidate’s merits, not on superficial qualities such as religion or disabilities.  A diverse company is one that will keep pace in the 21st century business world.