Questions To Avoid

June 11, 2007

Media Contact: Ann E. Zaslow-Rethaber
(888) 866-7276


Recruiting Firm shares not-so-obvious questions to avoid while interviewing a job applicant

Tempe, AZ – June 11, 2007 –“Asking a job applicant an innocent-sounding yet illegal question is a lawsuit waiting to happen,” states Ann E. Zaslow-Rethaber of International Search Consultants (ISC), a leading executive search firm in Arizona that specializes in the sales and marketing industry. An interview question such as asking a person’s age may seem obvious to avoid but Zaslow-Rethaber points out that there are many other personal questions that may get an employer into legal trouble according to the Civil Rights Violations Act of 1964 or the Disability Act of 1961.

Listed below are six question topics ISC advises interviewers to avoid asking during the interview process:

Immediate Family Information – Interviewers need to tread carefully when asking questions of a personal nature. Some interviewers might feel it makes applicants more relaxed to talk about something personal – such as how many children they have, if they are married or not or the occupation of their spouse, but all are unacceptable questions to ask. It is also illegal to ask an applicant if they own a home (and how long they have lived there), what arrangements they have made for childcare if they are a parent or if they plan to have a child or more children in their future.

Extended Family Information – An interviewer cannot ask an applicant the native language of his or her parents, the nationality of the applicant’s parents, where they reside or any questions regarding lineage. Asking for an applicant’s birthplace is also unacceptable.

Military – With the Iraq war going on, an interviewer may want to acknowledge someone whose past includes serving in the war. However, it is illegal to ask what an applicant was doing during the years of World War I and II and during the time of the Vietnam War. You also cannot ask an applicant if they served in a war outside the United States.

Religion – Out of respect for an applicant’s religious beliefs, an interviewer might ask what religious holidays the applicant observes during the year not knowing that this is illegal to ask too. You also cannot ask for a reference from an applicant’s pastor or religious leader or if they are a member of a church or other religious congregation.

Misc. questions – asking an applicant if they belong to any unions or other similar types of groups or what they do in their spare time (legally off-duty activities) is not allowed.

Health – during an interview, employers cannot ask how many sick days an applicant took the previous year, if that person has any physical disabilities or if he or she has sought therapy. Moreover, the state of the applicant’s financial health is also a taboo subject and it is illegal to ask the number of an applicant’s credit rating score or if he/she has ever declared bankruptcy.

More about ISC

ISC is prepared to deliver highly qualified sales and marketing candidates and meet the staffing requirements of any company size. To find out more about their five-star service, call them at (888) 866-7276.

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