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Legal Interview Questions

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What are Interview Questions?

Interview questions are used during the hiring and selection process of employment.  This is one of the main ways that employers can review and screen employers who wish to be employed by them.  Federal and state laws dictate what employers can and cannot ask during an interview. 

Under most laws, interview questions cannot form the basis for a decision that is discriminatory in nature.  Employment discrimination is prohibited during all phases of employment, especially during interview.  Employers can’t discriminate based on a person’s race, age, religion, political preference, sex, or other characteristics.  Thus, they need to be careful when asking interview questions. 

What are Some Legal Interview Questions?

A broad guideline is that the interview questions must be directly related to the job position being applied for.  For instance, rather than asking if a person has a disability (which is generally illegal), the interviewer can ask something to the effect of, “Will you be able to perform the tasks assigned to you, which may include some light lifting”?

Other legal interview questions may include:

  • Are you above the age of 18?
  • Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?
  • For insurance purposes, do you have any children?
  • What type of credentials do you have that are useful for this position?

In most cases, it’s the way that a question is phrased that makes the difference between a valid and an illegal question.  As mentioned, a question is acceptable if it’s being asked in relation to the position being applied for.  If the question is unrelated to the job position and is being asked simply to “poke around” the person’s personal background, it may be inappropriate. 

How Can I File a Claim if Interview Questions Violated My Rights?

It can sometimes be tricky to understand whether your own personal rights have been violated during an employment interview.  It often requires basic knowledge about both discrimination and harassment under employment laws.  If you suspect that you have been discriminated against during an interview, it may be necessary for you to file a claim for legal relief.

In many cases, this begins by filing a complaint with a government agency such as the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).  If this is not an effective method for resolving the dispute, you may need to file a civil lawsuit against the company.  This would require you to compile evidence such as the hiring documents, as well as any personal notes or recollections from the interview.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Legal Interview Questions? 

Interview questions can sometimes involve very subtle distinctions under state and federal laws.  You may need to hire a lawyer if you need assistance with any employment disputes or legal matters.  A qualified attorney in your area can help you file a claim and represent you in court during the trial process.  Also, your attorney can provide you with legal advice and guidance for any questions that you might have. 

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-03-2013 11:07 AM PDT

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