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Hey, HR Lady...

Q. We do not have an HR person on staff and we are conducting interviews for a high level position. We are a bit leery regarding the legalities of asking potentially illegal or inappropriate questions. What interview questions are taboo or off limits? -Ben C.


Dear Ben – In general, you want to stay away from questions that are not job related. Federal and state laws prohibit you from asking questions that deal with race, citizenship, pregnancy status, gender, religion, age, disability, marital status, children, sexual orientation and questions about previous worker’s comp claims. Any question that asks a candidate to reveal information about such topics is a violation of State and Federal law. Ben, my advice is to stick to job related questions and have a well-written job description as well as a list of legal interview questions to prepare your panel. I often share the chart below (developed by the University of Wisconsin) with my clients to help them with their interviews.  Julie Leutschaft, MPA, MHA is the owner of The HUMAN Touch – Human Resources and Career Counseling Services. Visit The HUMAN Touch at







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