May 16, 2010

Employers Should Avoid Asking Certain Questions When Interviewing Job Applicants

Not all managers know what questions are appropriate to ask during an interview.

Most managers know that an employer may be held liable for making discriminatory hiring decisions; however, not all managers know what questions are—and are not—appropriate to ask during an interview. 

Simply put, a manager conducting an interview should not attempt to solicit information to enable the manager to make a hiring decision based on an applicant’s protected characteristic.  Instead, a manager should tailor questions to align with the specific job’s requirements and phrase questions so that the questions do not sound discriminatory. 

For example, a manager may be concerned about an applicant’s work eligibility or an applicant’s ability to travel on short notice; both are valid concerns.  Rather than asking an applicant about her country of origin or her child-care arrangements, however, a manager could simply ask, “Are you eligible to work in the United States?” or “Will you be able to travel on short notice?”  By asking these questions, a manager could gain needed information without leading an applicant to believe her national origin, gender or other protected characteristic influenced the decision-making process.

To speak to a Dallas discrimination attorney, please contact the employment law lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at


Release ID: 8813