What questions are safe to ask on a job application or in a job interview?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Both state and federal laws regulate what an employer can and can not do during the hiring process, including obtaining consumer reports.

Before beginning the hiring process, an employer should put together a set of requirements and standards for the job. An employer can use these requirements to compare applicants in deciding who is to be given an offer of employment.

The employer then matches skill, experience and background of each applicant with the requirements and standards set for the job position.

In this way, discriminatory and prohibited practices are eliminated from being used in reaching a hiring decision.

Safe questions in the hiring process will relate to the applicant’s name, present address, telephone number, present employment, former employment, and job references. Some of the “problem areas” identified in previous questions are still proper subjects of questions as long as this “relatedness” requirement is met.

It is important to remember that questions that cannot be asked on the application for employment are also unacceptable questions during the job interview.

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