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14 interview questions that are actually illegal

Business Insider Logo By Jacquelyn Smith of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 15: Beyonce at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

These questions cross the line

Hiring managers use the job interview to learn as much about the candidate as possible. To do that, they ask lots of questions — including ones that may seem harmless, but are completely illegal.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey conducted by Harris Poll, a whopping 20% of 2,192 hiring and human resource managers in the US indicated they have asked a candidate an illegal question. What's worse, when the group of over 2,000 hiring managers was shown a list of illegal questions and asked whether they were legal, at least 33% said they weren't sure.

While laws regarding job interview questions vary by state — some specifically prohibit certain questions, while others merely prohibit discrimination based on their answers — it's important to know when you might be crossing the line.

We compiled the following list of illegal interview questions, which are often mistaken as appropriate, from CareerBuilder, Lori Adelson, a labor and employment attorney for employers and the founding member of Adelson Law, and Joan K. Ustin & Associates, a consultant firm specializing in human resources and organization development.

Vivian Giang contributed to an earlier version of this article.

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