7 Questions You Can Never Ask A Candidate


There are sensitive topics that employers should never ask about in a job interview, like religion, ethnicity, age, family status, financial status, disabilities, and nationality.

Questions You Can Never Ask

Reasons why not asking about the previous topics:

1- You hire according to skills

Any of the last personal details cannot be included in your hiring criteria. A good employer should be hired according to skills and qualifications, nothing else. If you evaluate candidates based on any of the previous points, you should rethink again.

2- It’s illegal

In most countries, evaluating people based on religion, age, or nationality will probably get you into trouble and face a lawsuit. You don’t want to go through any of this, so please pay attention to your questions.

3- It’s not ethical

According to their race, ethnicity, or any of the points mentioned before, hiring people is unethical and inhumane. Opportunities should be given to humans equally without any bias or discrimination.

4- Giving bad reputation about your company

Candidates know about any company through job interviews. You and your questions are a representation of the company’s culture and ethics. Giving a bad reputation about your company affects the customers’ feedback and the candidates’ attraction to work for you.

Questions you should never ask:

1- “So which mosque/church do you go to?”

Questions You Can Never Ask

That question might have good intentions behind it, but it’s inappropriate. Inquiring about a candidate’s religion is discriminatory.

You might also have an unconscious bias for candidates who have the same beliefs as you, so don’t open a door for such a thing and make it fair.

Asking about a candidate’s beliefs affects your objectivity level also, which is not professional at all.

Candidates also sense vibes of discrimination when getting asked about their beliefs. Additionally, many people feel uncomfortable talking about this topic.

There are only two cases where you can discuss a candidate’s religion, if it’s a religious position or if you’d like to know about the festivals and the holidays for the sake of work.

2- “Your accent doesn’t seem native; why is that?”

Questions You Can Never Ask
Sometimes your question is just out of curiosity, but it eventually leads to unfortunate results, like the candidate accusing you of discrimination if they didn’t get hired.

Please choose the right words and sentences for building a rapport with candidates, as sometimes it doesn’t go well.

You can ask the candidate if they know additional languages if the job requires a multi-lingual employee.

Moreover, please don’t fall for the trap of asking about the origin of a candidate’s name, as it might seem discriminatory. Some names are different just because their owners have different nationalities.

Avoid asking, “Do you live here in the U.S?” and ask, “Are you authorized to work in the U.S?” instead. The last question is just a professional one that doesn’t refer to any discriminatory intentions.

3- “Did you come here by car or bus?”

Questions You Can Never Ask

Probably, those who have good financial status own cars. Inquiring about financial status directly or indirectly is unacceptable.

It’s a hugely sensitive topic for most people, which may cause them to feel uncomfortable.
A candidate’s financial status has nothing to do with the qualifications or the work quality. It’s an unnecessary question.

Furthermore, it’s inconsiderate of an employer to discuss that point with a candidate.

It may affect their performance during the interview and make them nervous for the rest of the time, making you lose a potential excellent employee.

4- “Are you single or married?”

Questions You Can Never Ask

The marital status is a very personal question, which cannot be brought up in a job interview.

If you want to make sure about them working under a different name before, ask them directly about that. Altogether avoid mentioning anything related to maiden name or marriage.

Sometimes employers want to inquire about the candidate’s reputation and accomplishment from previous companies, and that’s their right.

Additionally, you can ask them about commitments in general but do not specify relationships.

If the job working hours are not flexible, state that directly and inform the candidate before taking any further steps in the hiring process.

5- “Do you have any health issues or disabilities?”

Questions You Can Never Ask

It’s so inappropriate to mention physical or mental health-related questions in a job interview. Also, avoid asking about illness history or previous surgeries.

Furthermore, never ask about height or weight during a job interview. Only focus on the skills of the candidate.

You can inquire about that topic in one case, which is the job requiring specific physical abilities. Your questions are just for the sake of the candidate’s safety and work efficiency.

Asking such questions opens doors for judging your future employees’ work according to certain previous assumptions in your head, which is not fair at all.

Everybody deserves a chance of having a successful career, regardless of their illnesses or disabilities. Candidates only get evaluated based on qualifications, not according to their health history.

6- “How old are you?”

Questions You Can Never Ask

Age discrimination is widespread in many places worldwide; that’s why there are specific laws that started to ban it and pay attention to the issue in different countries.

If the job has specific age requirements according to the laws, ask the candidate directly. For example, when you ask a candidate if they’re older than 18, the job requires that.

Many candidates suffer daily from age discrimination, especially those who are older than forty years. For instance, a lot of employers only hire youth.

There are various perks of hiring people of different ages in your company. To find out more about diversity in the workplace, click here.

Employers should pay attention to those who face age discrimination and give them appropriate job opportunities as they deserve to be seen and heard.

They mostly feel they’re left out in the job market, although they may have plenty of experience and wisdom to share with the business market.

7- “Are you pregnant? Do you have kids?”

Questions You Can Never Ask

That question implies a lot of gender inequality and discrimination against women.

Many employers choose not to hire pregnant women because of the maternity leave requirement, which is prohibited by the law in various countries worldwide.

Sometimes it’s evident that the candidate is pregnant, but asking her about that topic is unacceptable.

Discrimination against pregnant women and working mothers don’t have good results on your business legally or professionally.

Having mothers in your company creates balance and diversity. To find an example of a successful working mother who could balance her work-family life, click here.