There’s no question that in today’s competitive job market, candidates are under a lot of pressure to land a position. Acing the interview is undoubtedly one of the most challenging parts of the job application process. Illegal interview questions can throw off even the most experienced job seeker. Whether or not unlawful questions are asked intentionally, you should never feel required to answer them. At the same time, you probably don’t want the interview to plummet downhill (especially if you still want a shot at the job.)
Avoid the awkwardness of illegal interview questions with the right mindset and preparation. Interviews are a chance to prove yourself, but they’re not an opportunity for interviewers to ask whatever they want and potentially discriminate against you. Anything related to race, religion, gender, age, family life, and your living situation is off the table. Prepare yourself by learning how to answer questions under these categories, so you can leave the interview feeling self-assured no matter the outcome.
It’s crucial to take a variety of factors into consideration when deciding how to respond to an unlawful or inappropriate interview question. If you’re living in United States, be sure to research what is and is not legal to ask in your specific state, too. For example, many people don’t realize it’s illegal for employers to ask about your previous salary in many states like New York and California.
Remember, your interview experience is ultimately the foundation for the rest of your interactions with a company’s HR department. If there are too many red flags during the interview process, maybe you should consider if the company/position is truly the right fit for you. Since navigating how to deal with illegal interview questions is tough, the LiveCareer team created the graphic below to help.