How to Handle Illegal Job Interview Questions

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How to Handle Illegal Job Interview Questions. Questions that involve gender, age or sexual orientation are not legally permissible in a job interview. You should answer only those questions that pertain to fitness for employment only. Follow these steps to handle any inappropriate questions.

Listen Carefully

Listen carefully to all questions during the job interview. Sometimes a prospective employer will ask you unfair questions just to test your ability to react appropriately. This may not indicate unfair practice.

Regard interviewers as testers. It is their responsibility to predict your fitness for employment in their facility with their customers. If you can't deal adequately with the pressures they foresee, you may not be a good fit.

Don't lash back in a job interview when you're presented with illegal questions. Handle the situation with decorum. In some cases, stress can cause an interviewer to forget his or her own place.

Visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Web site for more on illegal job interview questions and how to handle them (see Resources below). Protect your rights with knowledge, and allow at least an hour for adequate research.

Decide Your Position

Present yourself in business clothing, since it may assist your right to receive fair treatment. If an interviewer's line of questioning has truly violated your rights, you have many resources to turn to.

Read Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 online (see Resources below). If an interviewer has used one of these against you in a job interview, you may have recourse.

Seek recourse only through a qualified attorney or other civil rights representative. Illegal job interview questions can be quite disturbing, but you must consider how much. They may signal a job you simply should not take, but they may also create a new civil rights precedent. Handle your issue with care.

Search online for cases similar to your own. The workplace can be a volatile environment, and sometimes that can negatively affect the interview process. Use logic in how you handle illegal interview questions, and analyze the reactions of others, online or in person.


Ask first if questions are voluntary before you supply private information. Learn your rights so you don't have to fear for them.


Do not answer questions in an interview that cause you discomfort. If you do answer them and do not get the job, your predicament will be difficult to argue. Defending your rights with "I didn't know" is not typically a successful strategy. Legally, you can't be discriminated against for reasons that include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or nationality.

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