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Avoid asking these questions when conducting an interview; they could get you into trouble

It's better to be safe than sorry. When conducting a job interview, it's important to avoid certain topics that could be perceived as biased or discriminatory.

As an interviewer, you’ll want to think through and handle with care the questions you plan to ask job applicants to avoid running into potential conflict down the line.

As a general rule, when conducting an interview for an open position, focus on questions that relate specifically to the job at hand — and stay away from questions about the candidate's personal life. 


If the applicant doesn’t get the job, and you asked something that could have been perceived as discriminatory, you may find yourself in legal trouble.

Here are a few topics to avoid in an interview with a potential candidate.

During a job interview, you cannot ask a candidate about a disability or questions to guide them to reveal whether they have a disability, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

If the disability is visible or the applicant has disclosed he or she is disabled, then you can ask the applicant if he needs assistance with the application process or will need some change to the work environment or adjustments to how the job is typically carried out, according to the federal agency.

As an employer, ensure your company is well-equipped to make adjustments and provide assistance to those with disabilities throughout the application process.


You may not ask about genetic information relating to an applicant, such as family medical history, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from asking disability-related questions of an applicant before a job offer is made, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Questions relating to religion should be avoided during the interview process, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Avoid questions directly or indirectly about religion in a job interview, such as asking an applicant where she attends church or about the holidays she celebrates.

Religion-based questions are viewed as unrelated to a job. Religion falls under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the hiring process based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. 

Therefore, all interview questions relating to any of these specific topics should be avoided. 

The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects people 40 and older from age-based discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends avoiding questions about an individual's age in a job interview to avoid potential legal trouble. 

If you are hiring for a job such as a bartender, which has an age requirement, you can ask the applicant if he or she is at least the minimum age. 

Asking an applicant if she is pregnant or plans on having children are questions that should be avoided during a job interview, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Someone's decision to have children cannot legally factor into a hiring decision.

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