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Proper Inquiries to Job Applicants
May 31, 2019
Parsons Behle & Latimer Legal Briefings

With college graduation upon us, a flood of new job applicants will be entering the market looking for work. Now is a good time for some basic reminders about what you should and should not ask an applicant during an interview. Below is a list of proper and improper questions that could be asked during the interview process:

Proper: The applicant’s current and previously-used names

Improper: Origin of the applicant’s name which could suggest lineage or national origin

Proper: The applicant’s current address

Improper: The applicant’s prior or current foreign addresses (which could constitute an inquiry into national origin)

Improper: Inquiry into applicant’s, applicant’s parents’, spouse or relatives’ birthplaces

Improper: Inquiry into the applicant’s age, prior to hiring, through various in-take documents that require disclosure of age (unless there is a minimum age requirement for performance of job)

Proper: The applicant’s ability to perform job-related tasks. Asking the applicant to demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodation, his or her ability to perform the job

Improper: Inquiring whether the applicant is disabled or the nature or severity of an applicant’s disability

Improper: Inquiries into the applicant’s gender, pregnancy status or plans to have children

Improper: Inquiries into the applicant’s religion, spiritual leader, religious beliefs, or lack thereof

Improper: Inquiries into the applicant’s arrest records

Improper: Inquiries into the applicant’s height or weight, unless necessary for the job

As a further reminder, it is improper to require the applicant to undergo any kind of medical examination (including a drug test) before making an offer of employment.

To contact Sean Monson, send an email to or call (801) 532-1234.


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