Career and Leadership Development

Illegal Interview Questions:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes discrimination on the basis of national origin, citizenship, age, marital status, disabilities, arrest record, military discharges, or personal information (such as height or weight) illegal. Any employer asking questions that ask a candidate to reveal information about these areas in a violation of Title VII.

Inquiry Area Illegal Questions Legal Questions
National Origin/Citizenship
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen?
  • Where were your parents born?
  • What is your native tongue?
  • Are you authorized to work in the U.S.?
  • What language do you read/write/speak fluently (only okay to ask if this ability is relevant to the job.)
  • How old are you?
  • When did you graduate?
  • What's your date of birth?
  • Are you over the age of 18?
Marital/Family Status
  • What's your marital status?
  • Whom do you live with?
  • Do you plan to have a family?
  • How many kids do you have?
  • Would you be willing to relocate if necessary?
  • Would you be willing to travel as needed by this job?
  • Would you be able and willing to work overtime as necessary?
  • How tall are you?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • Are you able to lift a 50-pound weight and carry it 100 yards, as that is part of the job?
  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • Please complete the following medical history.
  • Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations?
  • Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job (okay if the interviewer has thoroughly described the job)
  • As part of the hiring process, after a job offer has been made, you will be required to undergo a medical exam.
Arrest Record
  • Have you been arrested?
  • Have you ever been convicted of ______? (the crime named should be reasonably related to the performance of the job in question)
  • If you've been in the military, were you honorably discharged?
  • In what branch of the Armed Forces did you serve?
  • What type of training or education did you receive in the military?

Taken from "Handling Illegal Questions." Kaplan, Rochelle, Planning Job Choices 1998. National Association of Colleges and Employers. 1998. pp. E61-2.