Knowing your rights in any situation is crucial. Believe it or not, job interviews have parameters; there are legal and illegal questions. While interviews are designated to gather as much information as possible, it’s the interviewee’s responsibility to recognize the questions. Illegal interview questions can be categorized under seven genres: age, race, gender, religion, national origin, marital status and sexual orientation. These are all illegal interview topics that are strictly off limits. Both State and federal laws work to protect against discrimination. Disabilities, arrest and conviction records, military discharge status and pregnancy status are among the illegal interview topics as well.
Essentially, any question that asks a potential employee to reveal information without it having a job related basis violates state and federal discrimination laws. Here are a few sample illegal interview questions you are not allowed to be asked:
Examples of Illegal Interview Questions
Are you married?
Even if they are asking you to see how much time you’d be able to commit to your job, it’s illegal. It asks you to reveal your marital status and can reveal your sexual orientation. They are also not allowed to ask what your partner does for a living.
Do you have children?
It’s against the law to deny employment to someone who has, or is planning on having, children. This is a way of finding out how committed you’d be to your job. Questions like, “what hours can you work” are acceptable interview questions to ask.
What religious holidays do you practice?
This is a question designated to reveal if your lifestyle interferes with work schedules – illegal.
Have you ever been arrested?
What country are you from? Is English your first language?
Do you socially drink? When was the last time you used illegal drugs?
How long have you been working?
This illegal interview question allows employers to determine your age. They aren’t allowed to ask what year you graduated high school or college. Your birthday is off limits as well. They can however ask how long you’ve worked in a certain industry.
Do you have any pre-existing health conditions? Are you on any medication?
It truly is important for you to know your limitations and rights during a job interview. Keep a watchful eye on your interview questions; behaviors, skills and experience are what interviewees need to focus on. If the discussion strays off course, it could lead into potential job discrimination topics.
You have four options: answer the question if you’re comfortable, respond to the intent, ignore the question or refuse to answer the question. If you opt out of answering the question, tell the interviewer the question appears illegal or irrelevant to the job requirements. Know your rights!