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Questions a job interviewer can (and cannot) ask

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2023 | Employment Law |

You just applied for a job and wonder if you’ll hear back. It makes you anxious to know that only 20% of job applicants get invited for an interview. A few weeks later, you receive an email to schedule an interview, which excites you.

That being said, you should be aware of legal (and illegal) questions that a job interviewer might ask. Here are a few examples below:

Legal interview questions

A job interviewer can ask about the following:

  • Mode of transportation: If you’re interviewing for an on-site job, an interviewer can ask if you have reliable transportation to ensure you can get to work on time. However, they can’t ask if you have a car unless it’s relevant to the job, such as food delivery or ride-sharing.
  • Work set-up: For remote jobs, an interviewer can inquire about what operating system you have on your computer and if you have a quiet space in your home to take or make phone calls.

Sometimes, these questions are prompts, where the interviewer hopes you will reveal more information — information they really want.

Illegal interview questions

A job interviewer cannot ask questions that not only violate the Civil Rights Act but are also irrelevant and rude. For example:

  • Age: A job interviewer is not allowed to ask questions that could show discrimination against people 40-50 or older, like, “Do you remember the days before the Internet was around?” (An exception to this rule is if you need to be at least a certain age to work a job or if you have to provide a work permit as a minor.)
  • Disability: They shouldn’t ask about perceived or actual disabilities. For example, they can’t say, “Are you autistic?” or “Ew, what happened to your face?”

No one should worry about dealing with inappropriate questions when interviewing for a job position. But if you come across a discriminatory interviewer, it’s ideal to seek experienced legal guidance to learn what action to take.