Resource Guide for Recruiting Excellent and Diverse Faculty

Appendix 3: Interview Questions: What to ask? What not to ask?



What may be asked

What may not be asked


Are you over 18 (or 21 for certain jobs)? How old are you? What is the date of your birth?

National origin

n/a Inquiry into applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, parentage or nationality; nationality of parents or spouse; applicant’s native language


n/a A pre-employment inquiry regarding gender on an application form


n/a Inquiry into an applicant’s religious denomination, affiliation, church, parish, pastor, or religious holidays observed. Avoid any question regarding organizations and/or affiliations that would identify religion.

Marital status

n/a Are you married? Where does your spouse work? What are the ages of your children, if any? What was your maiden name?


Specific questions related to job duties (e.g. Do you have a driver’s license? Can you lift 50 pounds?) Do you have a disability? Have you ever been treated for the following diseases (list of diseases)? Has any member of your family ever had any of the following diseases?


Have you ever worked for ISU under a different name? Is any additional information relative to change of name, use of an assumed name, or nickname necessary to enable a check on your work record? If yes, explain. Original name of an applicant whose name has been changed by court order or otherwise. Maiden name of a married woman. Has applicant ever worked under another name, state name, or address?


Applicant’s place of residence. Do you rent or own your home? How long at each particular address?


n/a Birthplace of applicant. Birthplace of applicant’s parents, spouse, or other close relatives.


n/a Requirement that an applicant affix a photograph to the employment application at any time before hiring.


Inquiry into the academic, vocational, or professional education of an applicant and the public and private schools he or she attended. n/a


Are you legally authorized to work in the U. S.? Country of citizenship. Whether an applicant is a naturalized or native-born citizen; the date when the applicant acquired citizenship. Requirement that applicant produce naturalization papers or first papers. Whether parents or spouse are naturalized or native-born citizens of the U. S. The date when such parents or spouse acquired citizenship.


Are you a member of any professional societies or organizations? (Exclude organizations the name or character of which indicates the race, creed, color, or national origin of its members.) Inquiry into applicant’s membership in nonprofessional organizations (e.g. clubs, lodges).


Names of appropriate employment references. n/a


What languages do you read fluently? Write fluently? Speak fluently? Inquiry into how applicant acquired the ability to read, write, or speak a foreign language.

Height, weight, strength

Questions regarding height, weight, or strength may be asked only if the employer can prove these requirements are necessary to do the job. n/a


Names of applicant’s relatives already employed by the university. Names, addresses, ages, number, or other information concerning applicant’s children or other relatives not employed by the university.

Notice in case of emergency

Names and addresses of persons to be notified in case of an accident or emergency. n/a


Have you ever been a member of the armed services of the U. S. or in a state militia? If so, did your military experience have any relationship to the position for which you have applied? Inquiry into an applicant’s general military experience or type of discharge.


Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If so, when, where, and what was the disposition of the offense? Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor during the last five years, except for a first conviction for simple assault, disturbing the peace, drunkenness, speeding, or other minor traffic violations? Have you been convicted of a misdemeanor which occurred more than five years prior to the date of application where your term of imprisonment was completed less than five years prior to the date of application? Have you been arrested? (An employer’s use of an individual’s arrest record to deny employment would, in the absence of business necessity, constitute a violation of the human rights law.)