Examples of Illegal Interview Questions that You Should Avoid Answering

You have gotten an interview with a potential employer, and they are asking you a flurry of questions.  Should you answer them all?  Here are some questions employers are not allowed to ask according to the employment discrimination laws in America.

Generally, employers are not allowed to ask questions relating to the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marital/family status

Here are some examples of illegal questions and reasons why they are illegal:

Are you a citizen of  _____? – Employers are only allowed to ask if you are authorized to work in the United States unless they are a defense contractor or the government that requires U.S. Citizenship.

What religious holidays do you celebrate? – Religion should not be a topic  in an interview.

How many kids do you have? – This is a personal questions related to family status.

If you get pregnant, would you come back to work? – Women should not be discriminated against for pregnancy.

How do you feel about working in a mostly male/female team? – Gender should not be a concern in the workplace.

Do you smoke or drink or take drugs? - This is a valid concern for employers but they cannot ask you these directly.  They can only ask you if you have been doing illegal drugs and if alcohol have affected your work.

Have you had any recent operations or illnesses? – This is also an illegal question regarding health.

How far do you live? – You can’t be discriminated against for the place you live.

If you see a sign of any of these illegal questions.  You can say that you are uncomfortable with answering them or change the topic and tell the interviewer to get back on the topic of the job you are applying for.  If an employer seems very prying and intrusive then they might not be the person you want to work for anyway.

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