ILLEGAL QUESTIONS

During an interview, you may be asked some questions that are considered illegal. It is illegal for an interviewer to ask you questions related to sex, age, race, religion, national origin or marital status, or to delve into your personal life for information that is not job related. What can you do if you are asked an illegal question? Take a moment to evaluate the situation. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How uncomfortable has this question made me feel?
  • Does the interviewer seem unaware that the question is illegal?
  • Is this interviewer going to be your boss?

Then respond in a way that is comfortable for you.

If you decide to answer the question, be succinct and try to move the conversation back to an examination of your skills and abilities as quickly as possible. For example, if asked about your age, you might reply, “I’m in my forties, and I have a wealth of experience that would be an asset to your company.” If you are not sure whether you want to answer the question, first ask for a clarification of how this question relates to your qualifications for the job. You may decide to answer if there is a reasonable explanation. If you feel there is no justification for the question, you might say that you do not see the relationship between the question and your qualifications for the job, and you prefer not to answer it.