Let’s Get to Work: When Potential Employers Ask Illegal Questions

October 1, 2016

Posted in: Job Seeker Resources

Did you know there are some questions a potential employer cannot legally ask a job applicant during an interview?  Employers should only ask questions related to your ability to do the job they are hiring for.  Below are some questions that shouldn’t be asked, and the best responses to give if you happen to hear them during an interview.

Question:  How old are you?

Best Response:  I’m over 18.

Question:  Are you a U.S. citizen?

Best Response:  I am authorized to work in the U.S.

Question: What is your native language?

Best Response: I can speak/read/write ____________ (fill in the languages).

Question: What religious holidays do you observe?

Best Response:  I am able to work the required hours/shifts/schedule.

Question:  Are you married?  Do you have a domestic partner?  Do you have kids?  Are you pregnant?  What are your childcare arrangements?

Best Response: There is nothing that would interfere with my attendance or performance at work.

Question: Have you ever been arrested?

Best Response: (The question should be specific to crimes relevant to job.)  I was convicted of ___________.  Be prepared to explain how you have dealt with your past and how it will not affect current performance at this job.

Question: Were you honorably discharged from the military?

Best Response:  Explain how your military experience relates to the job and can benefit the organization.

Question: Do you have any disabilities?  Have you had any illnesses or operations?

Best Response: I am able to perform the required tasks of this job (with or without accommodations).

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