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Guide to Appropriate Preemployment Inquiries

The following is a general guide to appropriate and inappropriate questions that may be asked by an interviewer and may occur before, during, or after the interview. Some of these questions can be asked after you are hired.

Applicant's full name.
"Have you ever worked for this company under a different name?"
"Is any additional information relative to a different name necessary to check work record?" If yes, explain."
"Have you ever been convicted of a crime under another name?"
NAME Former name of applicant whose name has been changed by court order or otherwise.
Applicant's maiden name.
Applicant's place of residence.
"How long applicant has been a resident of this state or city?"
  BIRTHPLACE Birthplace of applicant
Birthplace of applicant's parents, spouse or other relatives.
Requirements that applicant submit a birth certificate, naturalization, or baptismal record.
"Can you, after employment, submit a work permit if under eighteen?"
"Are you over eighteen years of age?"
"If hired can you furnish proof of age?" /or/ Statement that hire is subject to verification that applicant's age meets the legal requirements.
AGE Questions which tend to identify applicants 40 to 64 years of age.
"How old are you?"
"What is your date of birth?"
  RELIGION OR CREED Applicant's religious denomination or affiliation, church, parish, pastor or religious holidays observed.
"Do you attend religious services /or/ a house of worship?"
Applicant may not be told "This is a Catholic/Protestant/Jewish/atheist organization."
Statement by employer of regular days, hours or shift to be worked. WORK DAYS AND SHIFTS  
  RACE OR COLOR Complexion, color of skin, or other questions directly or indirectly indicating race or color.
Statement that a photograph may be required after employment. PHOTOGRAPH Any requirement for a photograph prior to hire.
  HEIGHT Inquiry regarding applicant's height.
  WEIGHT Inquiry regarding applicant's weight.
"Is your spouse employed by this employer?" MARITAL STATUS Requirement that an applicant provide any information regarding marital status or children. Are you single or married? Do you have any children? Is your spouse employed? What is your spouse's name?
  SEX Mr., Miss or Mrs. or an inquiry regarding sex. Inquiry as to the ability to reproduce or advocacy of any form of birth control.
Requirement the women be given pelvic examinations.
"Can you perform the duties of the job in which you wish to be employed, with or without accommodation?"
Statement by employer that offer may be made contingent on passing a physical examination.
PHYSICAL CONDITION "Do you have any physical or mental disabilities?"
Questions on general medical condition.
Inquiries as to receipt of Workmen's Compensation.
"Are you a citizen of the United States?"
If not a citizen of the United States, does applicant intend to become a citizen of the United States?
Statement by employer that if hired, applicant may be required to submit proof of citizenship.
(To avoid discrimination based on national origin, the questions above should be asked after the individual has been hired, even if it is related to the Federal I-9 process.)
CITIZENSHIP (Questions below are unlawful unless asked during the Federal I-9 process.)
"Of what country are you a citizen?"
Whether an applicant is naturalized or a native-born citizen; the date when the applicant acquired citizenship. Requirements that an applicant produce naturalization papers or first papers.
Whether applicant's parents or spouse are naturalized or native born citizens of the United States; the date when such parent or spouse acquired citizenship.
Inquiry into languages applicant speaks and writes fluently. NATIONAL ORIGIN OR ANCESTRY Applicant's nationality, lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent or parentage.
Date of arrival in United States or port of entry; how long a resident.
Nationality of applicant's parents or spouse; maiden name of applicant's wife or mother.
Language commonly used by applicant, "What is your mother tongue?"
How applicant acquired ability to read, write or speak a foreign language.
Applicant's academic, vocational, or professional education; schools attended. EDUCATION Date last attended high school.
Inquiry into applicant's work experience.
Inquiry into countries applicant has visited.
Applicant's military experience in armed forces of United States, in a state militia (U.S.) or in a particular branch of U.S. armed forces.
EXPERIENCE Applicant's military experience (general).
Type of military discharge.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If so, when, where, and disposition or case.
Are there any felony charges pending against you?
ARRESTS Inquiry regarding arrests which did not result in conviction. (Except for law enforcement agencies.)
"Have you ever been arrested?"
Names of applicant's relatives already employed by this company.
Name and address of parent or guardian if applicant is a minor.
RELATIVES Marital status or number of dependants.
Name or address of relative, spouse or children of adult applicant.
"With whom do you reside?"
"Do you live with your parents?"
Name and address of person to be notified in case of accident and/or emergency. NOTICE IN CASE OF EMERGENCY Name and address of nearest relative to be notified in case of accident and/or emergency.
Organizations, clubs, professional societies, or other associations of which applicant is a member, excluding any names the character of which indicate the race, religious creed, color, national origin, or ancestry of its members. ORGANIZATIONS List all organizations, clubs, societies, and lodges to which you belong.
"By whom were you referred for a position here?" REFERENCES Requirement of submission of a religious reference.
Notice to applicant that any misstatements or omissions of material facts in his application may be cause for dismissal. MISCELLANEOUS Any inquiry that is not job-related or necessary for determining an applicant's eligibility for employment.

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