Interviewing, selecting and hiring new employees can be a tricky business. Ensure you are in compliance and protecting your business from potential litigation by following a few simple rules.

Interview Prep to Ensure Consistency

First, make sure you have an employment application that is up to date and compliant with current laws. Applications should not include any questions that would indicate the applicants protected class such as age, race, national origin, disability, etc.

Second, spend time prior to the interview reviewing the application, resume and cover letter. Employers should also develop interview questions that will be asked of all candidates. By keeping your interview practices consistent you limit your exposure to lawsuits.

Interview Questions to Avoid

Avoid asking any questions relating to the categories below:

  • Age or date of birth, unless a requirement of the job
  • Graduation dates
  • Military discharge information
  • Marital or family status – i.e. maiden name, Miss., Mr. and Mrs.
  • Personal questions
  • Disabilities
  • Race, National Origin or Citizenship
  • Religion
  • Sex, sexual orientation or gender identification
  • Medical conditions

So What Can You Ask?

Employers can ask questions directly relating to the job the applicant is interviewing for. Here are a few examples of questions that can be asked:

  • Age related: You must be 21 to bartend for our company. Are you 21 or over and can you submit proof if hired?
  • Disability related: Can you with or without accommodation perform the duties of the job?
  • Race, National Origin, or Citizenship Related: Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?
  • Education related: Education level, if job-related.

As a general rule, if an applicant offers personal information about themselves, the interviewer should do their best to steer the conversation back to questions and topics that are pertinent to the job.


Finding and hiring quality employees is a challenge. The above information will give you a good start on how to develop an effective interview program. This is in no way an exhaustive list and it is recommended to have employment applications, job postings, job descriptions and interview practices reviewed by an employment attorney to ensure compliance.

If we can assist in developing an effective interview plan or in recruiting, please contact us.