Interview Guide: Appropriate and Inappropriate Questions for Pre-Employment Inquiry

  Subject May Ask May Not Ask
  Name Current Legal Name Whether person worked under a different name; questions that would divulge ancestry or marital status.
  Sex Nothing May not comment on person’s sex unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). This is highly unlikely in most circumstances, except maybe film, theatre, etc.
  Age Are you over the age of 18? (Proof of age, for insurance purposes, can be required after the person is hired.) Age; when applicant graduated from high school, etc.
  Address Place and length of current address How long have you lived in the United States? What foreign addresses have you had?
  Birthplace Nothing Any inquiry into place of birth, or that of parents, spouse, grandparents, or other relatives
  Citizenship If not a U.S. citizen, do you have the right to permanently remain in the U.S.? Whether applicant, parents, or spouse, are native born U.S. citizens; or what country applicant is a citizen?
  Marital Status Nothing Whether applicant is married, single, divorced, engaged, widowed, or living with someone
  Sexual Preference Nothing Whether applicant is homosexual, heterosexual, or any other question pertaining to sexual tendencies or preferences
  Lifestyle Nothing Anything involving applicant’s natural and preferred way of living
  Family Nothing Any question concerning family size, family planning, children’s ages, plans for childcare, or spousal income or employment
  Religion Nothing About religious denomination, affiliation, church or synagogue, religious holidays observed; whether applicant regularly attends a house of worship
  Disability Whether the individual has a mental or physical disability that would effect his/her ability to perform the job responsibilities Questions about physical or mental limitations that are not job related
  Physical Data Whether the applicant is able to perform the job responsibilities Applicant’s height or weight
  Pregnancy Nothing About the applicants plans for having children; about medical history concerning pregnancy and health related matters
  Military Status About job-related experience gained in the military About branch of service; type of discharge
  Housing How applicant can be reached if there is no telephone at home Whether applicant owns or rents an apartment or house
  Education About educational institutions attended; training About religious or racial affiliations of school attended; about educational experience that is not necessary for the job to be performed
  Organizations About professional organizations About all organizations that applicants belong to; organizations that indicate race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, veteran status, or disability of applicant
  Financial Position Nothing About credit ratings, garnishment, debts, to whom debts are owed
  Arrest Record Nothing About arrests, or time spent in jail. Arrests without convictions do no indicate guilt
  Convictions About convictions, but only if job related (e.g. inquiries about embezzelment convictions if position requires financial responsibilities) and only if asked of all applicants General questions about whether applicant has ever been convicted