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Generally speaking, you must be extremely careful about the questions that a candidate is asked during an interview. This is so that you can avoid accusations of discrimination and possible lawsuits.

For every subject that recruiters would like to address, there questions that are OK and others that should avoided:

Citizenship

What You Can Ask a Candidate – Whether he or she is legally eligible to work in the United States. Don’t ask for proof of eligibility until after the position is offered.
What You Should Avoid Asking a Candidate – Whether he or she or is a United States citizen.

National Origin

What You Can Ask a Candidate – Whether he or she is legally eligible to work in the United States. Again, you should not request proof until after the offer is extended. You may also ask whether he or she can communicate well enough to perform the job’s essential duties.
What You Should Avoid Asking a Candidate – Anything about his or her lineage, ancestry, descent, native language, accent, birthplace, and national origin of spouse or parents.

People with Disabilities

What You Can Ask a Candidate – How he or she would perform the job and whether the job could be performed with or without accommodation.
What You Should Avoid Asking a Candidate – Any questions intended to reveal information about the candidate’s disability.

Age

What You Can Ask a Candidate – Whether he or she meets a minimum or maximum age requirement that is a genuine occupational qualification.
What You Should Avoid Asking a Candidate – Anything about age, birth certificate, or date of high school or college graduation.
Candidates may voluntarily provide personal information related to the above subjects, and other sensitive subjects, but this information cannot be used when making the hiring decision.

DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is intended to give only general information and should not be construed as legal advice for specific situations. Please contact your legal counsel before taking any action.

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