Employment Process Manual, Guide to Pre-Employment Inquiries

Unacceptable inquiries include questions of candidates references which elicit information specifying the applicant’s race, color, religion, pregnancy, national origin, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, veterans’ or military status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, or any other protected factor.

AreaLawful InquiriesUnlawful Inquiries
Address, Length of ResidenceApplicant's address, place and length of current and previous residence.

"How long have you lived in this city?"

  • Specific questions about foreign addresses, if applicant owns or rents home.
  • Relationship of persons with whom applicant lives.
AgeIf age is a legal requirement, "If hired can you submit proof of age?"

If applicant is minor, proof of age in form of work permit or certificate of age.

  • Requirement that birth certificate or baptismal certificate be produced as proof of age.
  • Statements which refer to "new blood" or a "younger person who will take the initiative" are also inappropriate.
AncestryLanguages read, spoken or written.Inquiries into
  • ancestry
  • mother tongue
  • national origin of parents
  • spouse.
ArrestsNone (see Convictions).Any inquiry relating to arrests.
BirthplaceNone. Human Resources will obtain appropriate documentation upon hire.
  • Birthplace of applicant or relatives.
  • Requirement that birth certificate, baptismal record or naturalization papers be submitted prior to employment.
  • Questions which identify customs or denomination.
Citizenship"Are you a citizen of the U.S.? If not, do you have the legal right to work in the U.S.?"
  • "Of what country are you a citizen?"
  • "Are you naturalized or native born?"
  • Requiring naturalization papers.
Convictions, Court RecordsInquiry into actual convictions which relate reasonably to fitness to perform a particular job.To ask about or check arrest.
Credit RatingNone.Any questions regarding credit.
  • "Would you be able to perform the various job functions? What were your duties in your previous job? How does your past experience relate to this job?"
  • If applicant volunteers information about a medical condition, do  not ask about the nature or extent of the condition.
  • Ask only what accommodations, if any, might be needed for the applicant to work.
  • "Do you have any disabilities or impairments?" or questions which might divulge disabilities which do not relate to the job.
  • " Are you in good health? Have you ever had an injury, disease, emotional illness, or consulted a psychologist or psychiatrist?"
  • Have you ever had a drug or drinking problem?
  • Why are you wearing a brace or prosthesis?
  • Have you ever received workers' compensation?
  • Are you currently taking any medication?
  • Do you have any impairments that may prevent you from performing the job you are applying for?"
EducationAcademic, vocational, or professional education; schools attended; languages and office skills.
  • Questions about the nationality or religious affiliation of schools.
  • How language skill was learned.
Emergency ContactName of person to contact in emergency.Name of relatives to be contacted.
ExperienceApplicant's work experience; other countries visited. 
Marital StatusWhether applicant can meet specific work schedules; any commitment which might hinder attendance.

Anticipated duration on job or anticipated absences if asked of both males and females.

Inquiries about specific marital status; number of children; questions concerning pregnancy or birth control.
Military RecordMilitary experience and education related to particular job.Type of discharge.
Name"Have you ever worked for this organization under another name?

Is additional information concerning nicknames or change of name necessary to check your work record or education? If yes, explain."

  • Inquiries about name which would indicate national origin.
  • Inquiries about names which have been changed by court order, marriage or otherwise.
OrganizationsOrganizations, membership in which might relate to particular job.List all organizations, clubs or societies to which you belong.
PhotographNoneRequired prior to hire.
RaceNoneApplicant's race, skin color, eye color.
ReferencesWho referred you here?

Names of professional and character references.

Requiring religious references.
RelativesNames of relatives employed here.

Names and addresses of parents of minors.

Name or address of any relative of an adult applicant.
ReligionNoneInquiry into religious affiliations, holiday observances, name of minister, etc.
SexInquiry permissible only where bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).Sex of applicant. Inquiries which would indicate sex.

Sex is not a BFOQ because a job requires physical labor.

Work DaysChoice of workdays, shifts, where applicable. 


Human Resources
Seminole State College
100 Weldon Boulevard
Sanford, FL 32773-6199
Phone: 407.708.2195
Fax: 407.708.2425