What you may and may not ask

Ask only questions that specifically pertain to the candidate’s skills, knowledge, abilities, and interests related to the position, as described on the job description, based on the predetermined selection criteria. Questions of a personal nature are not appropriate, and it is illegal to ask any questions related to gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, color, race, religion, national origin, medical condition, pregnancy, or disabilities.

It is also illegal in California to ask an applicant for his/her salary history. You may not base a hiring decision or a new hire’s salary on their salary history – unless they volunteer their salary history, in which case you may consider it in determining salary. However, the California Fair Pay Act also forbids employers from relying on prior salary, by itself, to justify any disparity in pay. (You may ask about desired compensation, but not prior compensation.) You also are required to provide applicants with the pay range for a position upon their reasonable request (a request made after the applicant has completed the initial interview).

Although the university has an affirmative duty to hire individuals with disabilities, you may not ask questions about whether a candidate has a disability or how severe such a disability might be. Neither can you ask about medical history, workers’ compensation claims, injuries, or family medical history. (Note that medical examinations may only be required if the reasons for the exam are directly relevant to the position; in that case, employment can be conditioned on the results of the medical exam, but no exams may be required until after you have made a conditional job offer to the candidate. There are no exceptions to this rule. You must consult with your HR Partner in this situation.)

You may not ask about ability to lift a specific weight unless the position requires heavy lifting as a necessary and essential part of the position. You may not ask whether an individual takes any medications. You may not ask about pregnancy, and this applies even if you believe the person you are interviewing is visibly pregnant.

Whenever possible, let each candidate see the actual work location.