What to Do When a Potential Employers Asks You Illegal Interview Questions

As one of Dade County’s top employment agencies, Future Force knows you’re going to be asked a lot of questions during the job search. However, some are off limits. These include questions related to:

  • Race and color
  • National origin and birthplace
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Marital and family status

So what happens if a hiring manager breaks the rules and asks you a question related to one of these areas? How would you respond? Here are some tips to help you:

You can end the interview right then and there. Or you can refuse to answer. Either way, you’re sending a clear message that the line of questioning is inappropriate.

But what if a hiring manager is simply trying to make polite conversation and asks you, for instance, how old your kids are?

Responding is a little trickier. While the question isn’t any less illegal, you should address them politely and let them know you’re more comfortable sticking to the topic of the job, as well as your skills and experience. They’ll get the hint.

Also, in certain cases, there’s a fine line between legal and illegal.

Here are a few examples:

  • Age. An employer cannot ask you how old you are, or your date of birth. However, they can ask whether you’re over the age of 18, which is a requirement for some jobs.
  • Birthplace. When it comes to birthplace, asking questions such as “Are you a U.S. citizen?” or “Were you born in the U.S.?” are illegal. However, the hiring manager can ask whether you are legally eligible to work in the United States.
  • Disabilities. While a hiring manager cannot ask you about disabilities, they are allowed to ask whether you can perform specific physical demands related to the job. This includes the ability to safely carry heavy objects or be on your feet all day.
  • Family status. When a hiring manager asks about kids, they likely want to know whether you can handle the scheduling or travel responsibilities that come with the job. They can’t ask about family directly, but they can ask about hours you can work and whether you’re able to travel.
  • Religion. A hiring manager cannot ask you about religion, but can ask if you can work during their normal business operations.
  • Credit. Unless you’re applying for a job involving banking or finance, a hiring manager cannot ask you about credit.

Interview questions should always be focused on the job – and whether you have the skills, abilities and scheduling flexibility to perform it. If, however, interview questions are making you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to cut the interview short. If you’re feeling awkward during an interview, imagine what it will be like if you got the job.

Need more help getting interviews with leading employers?

Call the experts at Future Force. As one of Dade County’s top employment agencies, we can give you the inside scoop on getting hired at some of the area’s best companies. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started. 

*This posting is informational in nature and should not be construed as specific legal advice.