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Illegal Interview Questions and Guidelines:

Subject

Permitted

Not Permitted

Notes

Age

For some roles age is a legal requirement (working in a bar) so it is acceptable to ask a candidate their age directly and ask for proof.

What year were you born? When did you graduate high school? When do you retire?

Any question about age may be considered age discrimination.

Arrest Record

Depending on the nature of the position, it may be permissible to ask if the candidate has been convicted of a crime.

Have you ever been arrested?

It is illegal to ask about a candidate's arrest record. You may in certain circumstances ask if they have been convicted of any crime. The key is differentiating between being arrested and being convicted.

Availability

What days and shifts can you work? Are there shifts you cannot work? Are there any responsibilities you have that could make it difficult for you to travel for work? Do you have a reliable way of getting to work?

Directly asking about weekend work could be seen as a proxy question for religious observance. Also, questions about evening work or childcare arrangements can impact females who have childcare responsibilities.

Ask all candidates the same questions on this subject. Asking only women about evening work can be discriminatory as it ties into questions about family status.

Citizenship or National Origin

Are you legally eligible to work in the Australia. Can you show proof of citizenship/visa/alien registration if we decide to hire you? Are you known by any other names? Can you speak, read, and write English?

Are you an Australian citizen? Can you provide a birth certificate? What country are your parents from? What is your background? Where were you born? How did you learn Chinese?

Asking about other languages is fine if it is a job requirement such as a translator or Spanish speaking phone operator.

Disabilities

Accurately describe the job then ask the candidate if they can perform all of the functions.

Do you have a disability? Have you ever filed a worker's compensation claim? Have you ever suffered a workplace injury?

If a candidate has an obvious disability, employers may ask if their disability will affect their ability to perform the job.

Family Plans

Do you have any commitments that might prevent you from working the assigned shifts?

Are you planning on having children soon?

Ask all candidates about outside commitments, not just relationships or family plans, or it will be seen as discriminatory.

Financial Status

None

What is your credit history? Do you own a car?

Australian employers require permission from candidates to access and inquire about their credit history.

Marital Status

None

Are you married? Are you single?

It is best to avoid all questions about marital status.

Pregnancy

How long do you plan on staying with us? Do you have any leave planned?

Are you pregnant? Are you trying to have a family?

Even if a candidate is obviously pregnant, it is not acceptable to ask any questions about this subject. You can still describe the job and then ask if they can perform all functions.

Race or ethnic background

None

All questions about color, ethnicity, or race.

Avoid all questions related to race or ethnic background.

Religion or Creed

None

What religion are you? Do you go to church? What is your cultural heritage?

Employers are not permitted to ask questions about religion or cultural heritage.

Sex, Orientation, or Gender Identity

None

What gender do you identify as?

Avoid all questions relating to gender and sexual orientation.

Substance Abuse

Are you able to perform all the duties set out in the job description?

Do you drink socially? Have you used drugs in the past?

It is best to ask the candidate if they are able to perform the duties without impediment

Union Membership

None

Are you a member of a union? Do you plan on joining a union?

Employers are not allowed to ask candidates about past or present union membership

Voting Habits

None

Who did you vote for in the last election?

Employers may not ask a candidate about their voting habits.

Illegal interview questions pdf download

Illegal Interview Questions Table Download:

Download all the illegal interview questions above in a PDF and use them to create your own guidelines.

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FAQs:

What interview question topics are illegal?

  • Age.
  • Ethnic/racial background.
  • Religion.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Marital status.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Pregnancy status.
  • Voting habits.
  • Disabilities.
  • Family plans.
  • Union membership.

What questions are illegal to ask during an interview?

  • Are you of aboriginal decent?
  • Do you go to church?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you have any mental or physical disabilities?
  • What country are you from?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Who did you vote for in the last election?
  • Are you married?

What is pre-employment discrimination?

Pre-employment discrimination happens when a potential employer discriminates against a candidate during the hiring process. This discrimination may be based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors. This still counts as discrimination, even if an employment relationship has not started.

Are there exceptions to illegal interview questions?

Exceptions can be made in cases when information is needed for a “bona fide occupational qualification.” In cases where an employer is worried that a person may not be able to perform the job due to health or disabilities, it is appropriate to ask how they would perform it.

Can you ask a candidate how old they are?

Employers are not allowed to ask job applicants how old they are, as they may lead to age discrimination.

What are some examples of illegal interview questions?

  • When do you plan to retire?
  • What is your religion?
  • What political party do you support?
  • Are you currently or were you a member of a union?

What are the best interview questions to ask candidates?

Check out how to interview candidates, interview questions to ask, and our interview questions directory for instructions and interview question ideas.

  • What is your current (or previous) salary?
  • What is your expected salary?
  • What do you expect to accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?
  • What people or companies are doing the best job in our industry? Why?
  • Why are you leaving your current role?