The interview process can be stressful, time consuming and tiresome. Sometimes you may even be asked certain questions that you know are inappropriate or even illegal to inquire. How do you handle these situations without looking rude?
Federal, State and local laws regulate questions that a prospective employer should never ask. An employer’s focus should be: “What facts do I need to know in order to decide whether or not this person can perform the functions of this job?” Many large corporations’ human resources departments are highly trained in this area, but sometimes smaller companies may not be as knowledgeable of what they can and cannot ask.
If you are asked illegal questions in an interview, there are several ways that you can respond. Your first option is not to respond at all. If you feel the need to respond, you may find that you can answer without addressing the specific question. For example, it is illegal for an interviewer to ask, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” However, you can answer by saying, “I am authorized to work in the United States.” Be careful not to appear uncooperative or confrontational.
Below are some of the top questions employer’s cannot ask in an interview.
- Have you ever been arrested? An employer can’t ask you this directly. They can, however, ask you if you’ve been convicted of a crime.
- Are you married?
- What religious holidays do you practice?
- Do you have children?
- What country are you from?
- Is English your first language?
- Do you have any outstanding debt?
- Do you drink socially?
- When was the last time you used illegal drugs?
- How long have you been working?
Becoming familiar with these types of questions and practicing how you might respond can help you prepare for upcoming interviews.