Although you have probably never heard of it, there exist interview questions which are not legal. Not legal, in terms of law, especially in the United States.
There is even a special committee in the US, having a main goal to maintain and control equal employment opportunities for all US citizens. Similarly to other aspects of public life, people should not be discriminated becasue of race, age, maternity, religion, disability, gender, skin color.
And exactly these things should not be inquired from job seekers when we speak about job interview. If you are an employer, rather try to avoid asking about it…
Job seekers do not know if a question is legal or not
Despite most of the job seekers do not know which question is legal and which one isn’t, it is not good for your reputation. To run into a court just because you asked an illegal question in an interview is not worth it, is it?
If you are in a position of job seeker and feel discriminated becasue of your gender, age or sex, you can address the EEOC with your claims. To back up your statements with concrete illegal interview questions you got in the interview is necessary in order to move things the right direction for you.
However, before you do that, think twice. You can barely gain anything at this place. Employer might be found guilty, but he is not entitled to give you a job after that… That’s why this issue of illegal interview questions is that complicated.
List of some interview questions that could be considered illegal.
- How old are you?
- When did you finish your college?
- What is your original nationality?
- Can you tell me something more about your origin?
- Where do you come from?
- What is your religion?
- Will you need several days off for some specific religious occasion?
- Do you have any children?
- Do you plan to have any more children?
- How much of your time do your children consume?
- How many years left until you reach age of retirement?
- Don’t you think your health conditions may limit you in the job?
- Do you believe in god?
- Do your children still visit the school?
- Are you married or single?
- Do you have serious relationship?
Illegal things happen on daily basis
As I wrote before, some of these question might be considered to be bad, inadequate and illegal. However, it is strongly dependent on the context in which they are asked. That’s why it is so problematic to distinguish if a question is legal or if the interviewer crosses the line…
For example, if you pay a visit to the job boards, you will find hundreds of offers with specified age range for suitable candidates. Or the employer simply writes that the offer is “more suitable” for men. What in fact means that the women will not be invited… Is this legal, or not? Who knows…
To conclude it, if you are an employer, best thing you can do is to avoid asking this sort of interview questions. As a good interviewer, you should be able to read what you need to know from the resume of applicant and his behavior in an interview….
And if you belong to the job seekers at the moment, try to focus on more important issues than illegal interview questions. It does not determine your success or failure in the job interview…