In interviewing prospective employees, the golden rule is to stick to job related questions, one that elicit their qualifications to safely and efficiently perform the job. Once you stray into personal characteristics and qualities, you may breach the boundaries of hat is legally permissible and socially acceptable. Litigation involving applicants is often triggered by interview questions and comments - arguably well meaning, but offensive and possible unlawful.
The following guidelines are designed to help you avoid accusations of discrimination based on the subject matter of the question or the way it was asked. Remember that questions about or associated with an applicant's race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military status or veteran status are always suspect and should be avoided unless the applicant raises the issue or asked for specific affirmative action-program purposes. All of the areas of inquiry addressed by the guideline, however, have been raised in the context of discrimination claims and should be taken seriously.