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19 Oct 09 How To Handle An Illegal Question At An Interview

Interviewers frequently ask illegal questions during interviews.  Whether this is intentional or not, your answers could impact how you are received, which in turn can impact whether or not you get the job.  How you handle these scenarios is just as important as how you answer the legitimate interview questions.  Knowing what to do is of vital importance in any interview.

The first thing you should do is figure out the nature of the question.  An illegal question does not refer to a question that is criminally liable, but rather just a question that an interviewer is not allowed to ask.  Questions like these are from topics that cannot legally have a bearing on whether or not you get a job.  Such as questions about race, sex, age, health, disabilities, and religion.  Any of these could be mentioned unintentionally in the forming of a question, but all are illegal for an interviewer to ask you.

It’s necessary for you to understand that in most cases an illegal question comes up as a mistake from the interviewer.  Oftentimes these are asked with no intention to discriminate against you.  But rather these are attempts by the interviewer to be friendly, or to relate to you.  This way the can get a better feel for how you would fit in with the company.  But usually through inexperience, instead of doing that through legal means, they accidentally slip into an illegal pitfall by asking you a personal question.

In this case you have two polite options for answering the question and moving the interview forward.  The first option is that you could answer the question.  But in answering, make sure that it’s a question you feel completely comfortable answering, and preferably answering n brief.  Then try to move on to a different topic.  The second option is to essentially ignore the question and move the interview forward by focusing on a different work related topic of yours.

Either option works well, and will keep an interview’s flow without making for an uncomfortable situation on either side.  Try to stay professional and courteous, with a positive disposition, as you always should during any interview.  If you can follow that model, and not flinch under the pressure of an illegal question, you’ll be just fine.

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Tags: Age Health, Answering The Question, , , , Health Disabilities, Illegal Question, Illegal Questions, Inexperience, , Interview Questions, , , , , Personal Question, Pitfall, Religion, , Sex Age

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