How to Address Illegal Interview Questions
Knowing what an employer can and can’t ask
Employers should be aware of employment law as it relates to interviewing potential employees. But that doesn’t stop them from asking illegal questions. Some do it intentionally hoping you won’t know any better, and to illicit answers that can bias their hiring decision against you. Others are simply ignorant of the law.
So, what are your options if asked an illegal question?
- Examine the intent behind the question.
- Respond with an answer as it may apply to the job. For instance, the interviewer may ask, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” You could say, “I am authorized to work in the United States.”
- Ask the interviewer how the question relates to the position.
- Answer the question, knowing that you are giving information that is not job-related.
- Refuse to answer the question. You’ll be within your rights but may be perceived as uncooperative or confrontational.
The following table shows some common areas of inquiry and the related illegal questions asked by employers. It also provides the legal questions they can ask related to each area of inquiry.
|Area of Inquiry||Illegal Questions||Legal Questions|