29 Questions You Should Never Ask a Candidate in a Job Interview

By Eric B. Meyer

HBO Go may just be the best app ever.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve gotten current on Entourage and Game of Thrones, and begun watching Eastbound and Down. Watching characters like Ari Gold, Kenny Powers and Tyrion Lannister got me thinking. If these guys were in HR, what kind of questions would they ask potential hires in a job interview?

You know, this all sounded so much better in my head. Whatever.

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Here are 29 questions I have that you should never ask a candidate in a job interview.

Marital Status / Sexual Orientation

  • Are you married?
  • Is this your maiden name?
  • Do you have a permanent partner?
  • Are you gay?
  • With whom do you live?

Gender / Pregnancy

  • How many children do you have?
  • What are your child care arrangements?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • If you get pregnant, will you continue to work after childbirth?

Age

  • How old are you?
  • What year did you graduate from high school?
  • How much longer do you plan to work before you retire?

Disability / Genetic Information

  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • Are you on any medications?
  • How is your family’s health?
  • Do you drink?

Race / Nationality / Religion

  • Where were your parents born?
  • What kind of name is that?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a minority?
  • What language do you speak at home?
  • What holidays do you celebrate?
  • Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?
  • What church do you attend?
  • Is that a Star of David around your neck?

Miscellaneous

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Would you provide me with a copy of your military record?
  • How many sick days did you take last year?
  • Have you ever sued an employer for sexual harassment?
  • Will you please friend me so that I may review your Facebook page?

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

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4 Comments on “29 Questions You Should Never Ask a Candidate in a Job Interview

  1. Hey, Eric. Great list. I once had an employment lawyer tell me that you can ask any question — you just can’t make an employment decision based on the answers. Can you blog about that distinction? Asking versus action? I would love to get your thoughts on that!

    1. Hi Laurie.

      Thank you for the kind words. You have a great idea for a post; something from which I’m sure our readers would benefit. I’m on it.

      Eric

      P.S. – I’m a big fan of your blog. One of my everyday reads.

  2. I was pleasantly surprised to read this.  I’ve read many, MANY articles on how we as candidates should prepare for a job interview and conduct ourselves during a job interview.  However, I have NEVER seen anything geared toward conducting a proper interview.  I have suffered through many…

    Thanks for this!

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