Appropriate vs Inappropriate Questions for Application Forms and Interviews


Inappropriate: What is your age? What is your date of birth? Proof of age.
Appropriate: Do you meet the minimum legal age requirement for employment?

Arrest or Convictions

Inappropriate: Have you ever been arrested? Any inquiries regarding convictions that do not relate to performing the particular job to be filled.
Appropriate: Only if business necessity to know information: Have you ever been convicted of a felony? What was the disposition of the offense?


Inappropriate: Do you have any children? How many?
Appropriate: Whether an applicant has children or dependents is irrelevant, but you can ask "Can you meet the work schedule requirements?"

Citizenship or National Origin

Inappropriate: Of what country are you a citizen? What is your nationality? Whether naturalized or native-born citizen. Date of acquired citizenship. Birth place. National origin of spouse or parents.
Appropriate: Are you legally eligible to work in the United States? Can you provide proof of eligibility to work in the United States?

Credit or Finances

Inappropriate: Questions on credit, finances, or garnishments.
Appropriate: None


Inappropriate: Any questions that would reveal disability-related information. Do you have a disability? Have you ever had or been treated for any illnesses, diseases, or physical defects? Have you ever been hospitalized? Any inquiries that would elicit information about disabilities or health conditions.
Appropriate: Are you able to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation? 


Inappropriate: What is your native tongue? What foreign languages do you speak? (unless a job requirement)
Appropriate: If a job requirement, "Do you speak, read, or write (specific) language?"

Marital Status

Inappropriate: What is your marital status? Do you wish to be addressed as Mrs., Miss, or Ms.? Inquiries eliciting information about marital or family status.
Appropriate: None.

Military Record

Inappropriate: Type or condition of discharge? Length of duty?
Appropriate: None, except as relates to job-related experience or education during military service.


Inappropriate: Inquiries about a person's maiden name, national origin, or marital status.
Appropriate: Have you worked under a different name? Is there another name by which we must inquire when doing your reference checks?

Organizations or Memberships

Inappropriate: What organizations or clubs do you belong to?
Appropriate: What professional organizations have you been involved with that relate to your ability to perform the functions of this job?

Physical Characteristics

Inappropriate: Any questions pertaining to height, weight, color, or physical features.
Appropriate: None.

Race or Color

Inappropriate: Any questions pertaining to race, complexion, color of skin.
Appropriate: None.


Inappropriate: What is your religious preference, affiliation, or denomination? Or any questions that would elicit information about religion.
Appropriate: Can you meet the work schedule requirements?


Inappropriate: Any questions that would elicit information about sexual orientation or that could be used in an allegation of discrimination.
Appropriate: None.