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How to Conduct Interviews in a Lawful Manner

A few tips from Ad-VANCE to ensure your interviews are conducted in a lawful manner…

For Employers: Before conducting candidate interviews, always ask yourself this one question: Can I demonstrate a job-related necessity for asking each interview question? An interview question should never be asked if it is not directly related to judging an applicant’s qualifications, level of skills, or overall competence for the position. It is advised to have some kind of interview outline to structure the direction of the interview and ensure that all questions asked are lawful and relevant to the job.

For Job Seekers: It is important for you to know your rights as an applicant. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not prohibit any specific interview questions, it does protect you from being screened out of a position based on discriminatory factors uncovered in the interview.

Here are a few of the areas that cannot be touched in the interview:

  • Gender – Questions about marital status, number of children, and pregnancy are not appropriate. Questions about availability for the job, though, are perfectly acceptable.
  • Age – The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 bars discrimination against persons age 40 or over.
  • Race –There are absolutely no reasons why any employer would ask about race.
  • Religion– There are also no job considerations that could justify asking about religion.
  • Sexual Preference – Again, sexual preference is never relevant to the job.
  • Arrest Record – While employers may ask about convictions, they cannot ask about arrests.
  • National Origin – Employers may ask about eligibility to work in the United States but not about birthplace.
  • Financial Status – Any employer who relies on consumer credit reports in its employment process must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 and the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996.
  • Military Discharge Record – While the employer may ask if the applicant served in the military, they may not ask what the discharge status was.
  • Disability – An employer cannot ask an applicant if they have a specific disability, but they can ask if the applicant can successfully perform the duties of the


***If you are unsure if you areasking or have been asked lawful or appropriate interview questions, just
remember to ask yourself this question: Is there a job-related necessity for the questions being asked?***