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3 Ways To Handle Illegal Interview Questions
Written by: S McIntyre
Tough interview questions are hard enough and if you add illegal interview questions to the mix it can make matters more difficult. Most Human Resources who do the hiring should know better and avoid asking illegal interview questions, but they are ways in which these questions can slip by. You have a choice to answer them if you wish or refuse, but also keep in mind if you do answer it could be used against you.

When you fill out a job application and it asks for your date of birth it may seem very harmless, but did you know you have the right to keep this blank? You also don't have to disclose your marital status, how many children you have, nationality, religious background and so on.

Some illegal interview questions that may be asked are:

- How's your health? Have you had any major illness in the past year?
- Do you plan to start a family soon?
- Are you authorized to work in the US or Canada (or other country)?
- Where were you born? How long have you lived here?
- Do you attend church?
- Do you observe any religious holidays?
- How many times have you missed work due to illness or family emergencies in the last year?
- What social organizations do you belong to?
- What was your first language spoken at home?
- When do you plan to retire?

If you decide to answer any illegal questions, don't say more than you need. Keep it simple and to the point. When you go on and try to explain yourself, you always end up saying more than necessary and that could jeopardize your chances of landing the job.

Answer the question with a question tactfully by saying something along the lines of, "That's an unusual question and I've never been asked that before, but does so and so have any bearing on this position?"

All the same, if you decide to respond to an inappropriate question remember you are trying to sell yourself to get the job. Seize the opportunity not as something negative, but as a way for you to emphasize your capabilities, your willingness and so forth. In other words, turn a negative into a positive.

Refuse the question. You have the right to not answer if it really bothers you. Don't get defensive, just be polite about it. By refusing to answer you may not get the job. When you really think about it do you think you would be happy working for a company who discriminates?

With all job interviews being prepared is your best defense so you can handle any legal or illegal questions that may arise.


S McIntyre is the founder of, a free work at home resource focusing on providing work at home jobs, daily telecommute job leads, articles, business resources and other work at home related topics.

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