Questions You Shouldn't be Asked in a Job Interview

By Monique Goodyer

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Questions You Shouldn't be Asked in a Job InterviewSo you’ve handed in your resume, and just got notified to come in for a face-to-face interview. Great! You turn up on the day overly prepared, super excited, and trying to keep your nerves in check. All is going well until you suddenly get hit a question you’re uncomfortable with answering: Have you ever been arrested?

What do you do in this situation? Well, it is good to know that some questions (including this one) cannot be asked in a job interview. If there are any inappropriate questions, simply decline to answer. Your prospective employer should know better and certain questions should not be used to assess your job competency.

This article will give you a general idea on which questions cannot be asked during a job interview.


While experience is essential in any job, it is illegal for an employer to use an applicant’s age as criteria to determine his or her capability. Questions that explicitly ask as well as implicitly imply age all fall into this category. Some examples include:

  • How long have you been working?
  • How old are you?
  • When do you plan on retiring?


Questions regarding race are banned under discrimination laws (although employers can ask questions regarding your legal status to work). Again, this question can come in many fashions, so stay on your toes. A few examples include:

  • Are you a U.S. citizen?
  • What country are you from?
  • What is your first language?
  • How long have you lived in this country?
  • Is English your first language?


Religion should not be used as a criterion to gauge your ability to get the job done. Further, it is a sensitive topic that many feel uncomfortable with answering. These types of questions can include:

  • Do you participate in any religious holidays?
  • Do you believe in a God?
  • Are you religious?
  • Do you go to a church or social organisation?

Health and Physical Ability

While physical ability and employee health may be important to a particular job, a prospective employer should not make assumptions or discriminate based on past data and statistics. These questions come in all shapes and sizes, including:

  • Do you use any medication or drugs?
  • How many hours do you sleep at night?
  • Do you smoke or drink?
  • What is your weight?
  • How tall are you?
  • How many sick days did you take off last year?
  • Do you have any disabilities or illnesses?


There are a broad range of questions that cannot be asked that are not covered in this article, so be sure to see a lawyer if you felt uncomfortable during a job interview. To give you a general idea, some further areas of restricted questioning include:

  • Family and marital status
  • Previous or future military service
  • Previous legal troubles and encounters with the law


Monique Goodyer works as a marketing specialist at Monaco Compensation Lawyers, one of Australia’s compensation law firms. She’s interested in all things online and the latest trends in the Australian startup scene.

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