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Job Interview Topics That Could Hit You Legally (And Financially)

job interview topics

Job Interview Topics: What You Need To Know

The interview process has a lot riding on it, no matter which angle you look at it from and that’s why the job interview topics matter. But for the employer, there is so much to be aware of that you may not have realized at first and so many things that could have repercussions if not done correctly. This includes the questions you ask.


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It is one of those things that we give credence to in the sense we want to ask the questions that will paint us the most detailed picture of the person in front of us, and we want to do this in the most time-effective manner. However, it is so important you realize some questions are off limits and they could put your business at risk legally.


By asking certain questions that are deemed to reveal certain things about a candidate, you could give off the impression that you are discriminating against them and, right or wrong, this could leave you vulnerable. What’s more, even if you win the case, this kind of exposure can affect your bottom line big time.


To help you know what to be wary of, we have come up with a list of common interview topics you should avoid asking at all costs:

job interview topics


  • Marital Status

“What does your husband do for work?” may seem like a totally harmless question but it could land you in hot water. This is because it could be interpreted as you trying to get information on their marital status as well as their sexual orientation, which could see you start to sweat it out in a court of law simply because they could influence the hiring decision.


  • Criminal Record

This one varies from state to state, so it is worth checking. But a lot of states, such as NJ, have laws in place that prevent you from asking any questions regarding criminal history until further down the interview process. It could be questions about driving history, whether they have ever needed a criminal trial attorney or if they have ever been penalized for anything whatsoever.


In many states, it is also illegal to have a question on application that asks about a candidate’s criminal history, even something as simple as “put an X in the box if…”


  • Age

The Age Discrimination In Employment Act is a federal law that prohibits employers asking a potential employee’s name because those over the age of forty are far more likely to be overlooked and thus discriminated against in the interview process. On top of this, other states are known to have more specific laws that protect applicants on this front.

Interview Topics That Could Hit You Legally (And Financially)


  • First Language

Your business may require perfect English to be used in all forms of correspondence because it is a huge part of your operations and services, which communication is. However, by asking these job interview topics during the process you are putting yourself in the firing line of the law as it could be deemed that you are trying to leverage information about both ethnicity and nationality. Just to confirm, these are both statuses that are protected under federal law.

Hope these job interview topics to avoid help you to be prepared and get the career you deserve.

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