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10 Things To Never Ask an American During a Job Interview

January 11, 2022

If you work at a global company and are interviewing candidates in the US for a role at your firm, there are certain pieces of personal information that you’re not allowed by law to ask about. This is because the US has robust anti-discrimination laws. However, it is fine if job candidates freely volunteer this information without being asked.

Here are 10 things you should never ask when interviewing talent in the US for a job:

1. Current compensation and salary history

In a number of US states, it is illegal to ask applicants about their current compensation or salary history. This is because salary history has been used to discriminate against people whose previous salaries are judged to be too high or too low and because it can reinforce pay disparities for women and minorities.

2. Age

It is illegal to ask an applicant about their age because the US bans age discrimination against people who are over age 40. You also should avoid asking when an applicant graduated from high school or college, since that can be used to determine an applicant’s age.

3. Gender and sexual orientation

It is illegal to ask applicants about their gender or sexual orientation, because it is illegal to discriminate based on those characteristics.

4. Marital and family status

It’s illegal to ask an applicant about whether they’re married, have children, or are trying to have children. It’s also illegal to ask whether they’re pregnant. This information can be used to discriminate against women with children, for instance.

5. Immigration status, citizenship, and national origin

It’s illegal to ask about an applicant’s immigration status, where they are a citizen, and their national origin since it is illegal to discriminate against applicants for those characteristics. However, it’s fine to ask if they are authorized to work in the US or will need an H-1B visa.

6. Race

It’s illegal to ask an applicant about their race because it’s illegal to discriminate against an applicant for their race.

7. Religion

It is illegal to ask applicants what their religion is because it is illegal to discriminate against applicants for their religion.

8. Disability status

It’s illegal to ask an applicant about whether they have or have had a disability because it is illegal to discriminate against applicants for their disability status.

9. Medical information

It’s illegal to ask applicants about their health because it can be construed as discriminating based on disability status.

10. Arrest record

In some states, it is illegal to ask applicants about whether they’ve ever been arrested. However, it’s fine to ask if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime, and it’s common for employers to run criminal background checks in the final stages of the hiring process.

At Alariss Global, we understand that the laws and regulations in the US are complicated and differ dramatically from many countries. If you work with us, we can review your job descriptions before posting and provide advice on your interview process so that you stay compliant with US labor and anti-discrimination laws. We also reach out to talent on your behalf initially so that they have a positive impression of you and will be set up for a strong working relationship with global companies. Ultimately, international business is challenging, but rewarding, and local laws are easier to navigate when you have a trusted local partner like Alariss on your side.

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