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13 Illegal Job Interview Questions You Might Not Know

Every organization has a right to obtain every kind of information from the potential candidate. I mentioned everything, not anything. Of course, they'd like to know if you're the perfect opportune for their organization or not. However, sometimes, you'll need to use your wit to determine if the questions asked are reasonable, or not. In other words, you need to use to conscience to judge if the questions asked to you are not based on sensitive issues, namely -- age, race, religion, etc. Gathering information as such directly or subtly is simply considered illegal.

Still, Peter K. Studner, author of Super Job Search IV: The Complete Manual for Job Seekers & Career Changers, says that often both interviewers and interviewees don't realize that a certain line of inquiry has veered into murky territory.

Here are a few illegal job interview questions to keep the potential candidates at bay.

13 Illegal Job Interview Questions You Might Not Know

13 Illegal Job Interview Questions You Might Not Know

754 396
  in Lifestyle

1. What's your relationship status? Are you married? These are the most illegal job interview questions.

1. What's your relationship status? Are you married? These are the most illegal job interview questions.

A candidate may feel like the interviewer may just be having a light-hearted talk, but actually, they just sound subtle. To gather information about someone's relationship status, mainly, marriage - is considered illegal, as it is included in pregnancy discrimination. Besides, this also counts in making a judgment regarding your sexual orientation.

"Anything that fishes for information about a candidate's family plans (marriage, engagement, and child planning) are technically illegal because it falls under pregnancy discrimination. It can often seem like a hiring manager is just making pleasant conversation and trying to get to know you better, but job applicants are not obligated to disclose any personal information. This could also be a subtle way to question someone about their sexual orientation-another protected class."

-- Hannah Keyser at Mental Floss

How to respond: It's none of your employers' business to know about your relationship status. "My focus is on my career right now," is a discreet way to refrain from this question without revealing any specific information.

2. What's your age?

2. What's your age?

For younger candidates, it's valid for the interviewers to ask about their age. No company wants to hire a minor. The question becomes tricky when asked to a mature candidate. The interviewer might probably be guessing your age while reading all your experiences you listed on your resume. Don't hesitate about declining to respond.

Also, they may manipulate you with questions in order to guess your age. Keep an eye out for questions like "how long have you been working" and...which brings us to the next illegal job interview question.

3. When did you graduate?

3. When did you graduate?

Everybody can do the math. It's a not-so-conniving way to calculate your age. Feel free to veto out your graduation year from your resume, too. You can give a date. But, remember not to mention the year.

Studner says, "And in the final analysis, would you really want to work for a company where the management discriminates against age? It might be better to move on."

How to respond: If you're way too older, a response of "Too long ago!" can avert the question without revealing your exact age. If you're younger, you might say something like, "Not that long ago, but I've been working hard ever since."

4. What's your health status?

4. What's your health status?

Physically demanding jobs require gathering information about your health status. But, if your work doesn't require such facet, the question asked by the employer is unsound. Also, you should never, ever reveal your health status.

"It's also illegal for them to directly ask if you have any disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically states that employers can't ask you about the existence, nature, or severity of any pre-existing disability. They may ask if you can perform the basic functions of the position without accommodation, however, so, in most instances, it's to everyone's benefit, to be honest. It never hurts to ask questions yourself and see what they expect from you."

-- Patrick Allen on Lifehacker

How to respond: If you are asked about how You can try a simple statement like, "I try to limit how frequently I call in sick and only miss work when it can't be avoided."

Here's another illegal job interview question you should be aware of...

5. Which religious practices do you follow?

5. Which religious practices do you follow?

Questions about religious preferences should never be answered. Discussing a religion in any interview is illegal. But, if it's a forced question, answer sternly as Studner says, "I prefer not to discuss my religion, but I can assure you that it will not interfere with my doing this job." 

6. Have you ever been arrested?

6. Have you ever been arrested?

It s a right for every interviewer to ask if the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime. However, it's illegal when the interviewee is asked about his arrest record.

"In these kinds of cases where a future employer might uncover prior arrests, it is important to discuss the incident up front and point out that it was a thing of the past, never to be repeated. The more serious the offense, the more convincing you have to be." 

-- Peter Studner, author of Super Job Search IV: The Complete Manual for Job Seekers and Career Changers.

"Depending on the state, a conviction record shouldn't automatically disqualify you for employment unless it substantially relates to your job. For example, if you've been convicted of statutory rape and you're applying for a teaching position, you will probably not get the job."

How to respond: "I've never been convicted of a crime" or "Nothing in my past would affect my ability to do this job."

-- Vivian Giang of Business Insider

Here's another illegal job interview question you should be aware of...

7. Which country do you belong to?

illegal job interview questions

If you're validated to work in a country where a job is located- then it is a valid question. Interviewers have no such right to gather such information as nationality discrimination is illegal. Also, they can't ask if English is your first language. 

8. Do you like to drink socially?

8. Do you like to drink socially?

Interviewers have no right to ask this question to the candidate. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, recovering alcoholics don't have to reveal any information that might hint at their status. It's also illegal for the interviewers to ask the candidates about their recovering drug-addiction (if any).

Vivian Giang at Business Insider says,

"For example, if you're a recovering alcoholic, treatment of alcoholism is protected under this act and you don't have to disclose any disability information before landing an official job offer."

Here's another illegal job interview question you should be aware of...

9. What type of discharge did you receive in the military?

illegal job interview questions

"This is not appropriate for the interviewer to ask you, but they can ask what type of education, training, or work experience you've received while in the military."

-- Vivian Giang at Business Insider

10. Do you have any outstanding debt?

illegal job interview questions

"Employers have to have permission before asking about your credit history. Similar to a criminal background history, they can't disqualify you from employment unless it directly affects your ability to perform the position you're interviewing for.

Furthermore, they can't ask you how well you balance your personal finances or inquire about you owning property."

- Vivian Giang at Business Insider

11. When are you planning on having children?

11. When are you planning on having children?

12. What is your political affiliation?

12. What is your political affiliation?

Under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, federal employers are prohibited from asking political party preference questions of federal employees and applicants. Albeit, currently there are no such laws that forbid private employers from asking political affiliation questions, employers should probably avoid asking such questions. 

13. Here's the last illegal job interview question: If they ask about race/gender/caste/first language.

13. Here's the last illegal job interview question: If they ask about race/gender/caste/first language.

"All of these questions are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. An employer may want to be sure that a candidate can legally work for them but it is important to be careful how it is asked. You cannot ask if an applicant is a US citizen, but you can ask whether the applicant is authorized to work in the US."

-- Jacquelyn Smith at Business Insider

Recommended for you: Here's A Very Simple Trick To Get A Job Without Killing Your Chances To Get An Interview

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