Illegal Questions To Ask In An Interview

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We already know that interviewers and hiring managers can ask pretty strange questions, but did you know that some are asking ones that are downright illegal?

In a recent CareerBuilder survey, 1 in 5 (20%) of hiring managers indicated that they have asked a question in a job interview that they later found was illegal. Hiring managers should brush up on the following questions, because by asking them they are unknowingly putting themselves at risk for legal action.One third of employers indicated they didn't know the following questions were illegal to ask in an interview setting:
  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • What is your political affiliation?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • What is your race, color or ethnicity?
  • Are you disabled?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you in debt?
  • Do you have children or plan to?
  • Do you socially drink or smoke?
While some of the above questions might seem obvious not to ask, others are more tricky. With some questions, the legality is all in the wording. For example, asking if a candidate has ever been convicted of a crime is okay, but asking about his or her arrest record is not. Or while it's okay to ask if a job seeker is legally eligible for employment in the U.S., it's not legal to openly ask, "Are you a U.S. citizen?"

The nationwide survey was commissioned by CareerBuilder and conducted online by Harris Poll from November 4 to December 2, 2014. More than 2,100 hiring and human resource managers across numerous industries were polled.
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