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In today’s day and age, you must be extremely careful about the questions that you ask a candidate during an interview, as well as the questions that your client companies ask. The reason is simple—so that you can avoid accusations of discrimination and possible lawsuits.

For just about every subject that can be addressed during an interview, there are legally permissible questions, as well as illegal ones. Below are four of the top issues that are broached in an interview, with both the legal and illegal approaches.

1. Citizenship

What you can ask—Whether or not they’re eligible to work in the United States. (You can only ask them to provide eligibility certification upon offering the position.)
What you should avoid asking—Whether or not they’re a United States citizen.

2. National Origin

What you can ask— Whether or not they’re eligible to work in the United States. (You can only ask them to provide eligibility certification upon offering the position.) You may also ask whether they can communicate well enough to perform the job’s essential duties.

What you should avoid asking—Anything about their lineage, ancestry, descent, native language, accent, birthplace, and national origin of spouse or parents.

3. People with Disabilities

What you can ask—How they would perform the job and whether the job could be performed with or without accommodation.

What you should avoid asking—Any questions intended to reveal information about the candidate’s disability.

4. Age

What you can ask—Whether or not they meet either a minimum or a maximum age requirement, one that’s a genuine occupational qualification.

What you should avoid asking—Anything about age, their birth certificate, or the date of their high school or college graduation.

Now keep in mind that candidates might voluntarily provide information related to the subjects listed above, as well as other sensitive data. However, this information cannot be used when making the hiring decision.

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