Interviewers and interviewees alike are often unaware that certain questions asked during a job interview are considered illegal questions. Now by “illegal”, it doesn’t mean that someone will get arrested for asking such a question, but it does mean that the interviewee is not required to answer it to be considered for the job. The reason why these questions are considered illegal is to protect candidates from being discriminated against when applying for a job. These questions were made illegal as part of the Americans with Disability Act. In this article, we’ll cover what the illegal questions are, why they’re asked and how to respond.
Many interviewers and interviewees alike are not aware that in the United States, there are some questions that cannot be asked during an interview because they can be discriminatory and are considered “Illegal Interview Questions“. You are not allowed to discriminate by age, race, religion, gender, marital status, family size, military history, US Citizenship and a number of other things. Some states also have additional laws regarding these illegal questions.
From an interviewer standpoint, the rule of thumb is to not ask the interviewer any questions that don’t pertain to the qualifications of the job. Now it’s okay to make small talk and ask what books or magazines the interviewee reads or what movies or TV shows he or she may watch. But stay away from anything too personal such as race, religion and family life. The potential danger of asking an illegal interview question could result in federal action if a number of candidates complain (or one complains loudly enough).
Job interviews are full of opportunities for you to shine as a candidate. One opportunity that is frequently missed is when the interviewer asks the candidate if he or she has any questions. I always ask this when I’m done with my questioning because this is what tells me how interested the person is in the position. Yet more than half of the people I’ve interviewed through the years had either no questions or struggled to come up with one.
Many companies use the phone interview, or phone screen, to help limit the amount of candidates that come in the door. This is a quick way to screen out people who aren’t a good fit and saves the hiring manager, as well as any support staff that would have to meet with potential candidates, from taking time out of their busy days for interviews that won’t go anywhere. So, in order to succeed at these interviews, there are three things you need to know:
- The purpose of a phone interview.
- How to prepare for a phone interview.
One of the most common and most challenging job interview questions is “can you tell me your strengths and weaknesses?” In some cases, they may ask you to list a certain number of each (usually two or three but I’ve heard as many as five) which means that you’ll want to put some added thought into it. But no need to panic, this question is a lot easier to answer than you may think – provided you’re ready for it.