Human Resources
Office: (417) 873-7434
Fax: (417) 873-6987

Improper Interview Questions

Specific questions & topics to avoid discussing with applicants

Improper Interview Questions
Do not solicit information that employers are legally barred from considering in the hiring process. For example, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar state laws, hiring decisions cannot be based on any of the following:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Creed
  • Sex, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Ancestry

Other laws prohibit questions about military background, age, disability, or union membership. Generally, do not ask about:

  • Medical or mental health history
  • National origin and citizenship status
  • Height, weight, or physical characteristics
  • Disability
  • Membership in any professional or civic organizations that would reveal national origin, race, gender, religion, or any of the other protected classes under fair employment practice laws.
  • Military service history
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Receipt of unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, or disability benefits
  • Child care situation, family planning, or number of children
  • Religion or religious beliefs

The following are samples of questions which should be avoided. This is not an all-inclusive list:

Personal Data

  • What is your maiden name?
  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • What is your age?
  • Where do you live?
  • What is your date of birth?
  • Are you married?
  • Questions which tend to identify an applicant’s age as over 40


  • The dates of attendance or completion of elementary or high school


  • Birthplace of applicant or of applicant’s parents, spouse, or other relative
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen?
  • What is your citizenship or that of your parents, spouse, or other relative?
  • Questions as to race, nationality, national origin, or descent
  • What is your mother tongue?
  • What is the language you speak at home?


  • Applicant’s marital status
  • The number of and ages of children or dependents
  • Provisions for child care
  • Pregnancy, childbearing or birth control


  • Questions which indicate an applicant’s sex
  • The applicant’s height and weight
  • Applicant’s general medical condition, state of health, or illnesses
  • Questions regarding HIV, AIDS, and related questions
  • Have you ever filed a workers’ compensation claim?
  • Do you have any mental or physical disabilities or handicaps?


  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Applicant’s credit rating
  • Ownership of a car
  • Organizations, clubs, societies or lodges which an applicant belongs to
  • Religious obligations that would prevent an individual from being available to work on Friday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays
  • Asking an applicant the origin or their name
  • Do you speak (foreign language)? (Unless this is a requirement of the job.)
  • Do you have any physical or mental disability/handicap that will require reasonable accommodation?

Return to Staff Recruitment & Hiring