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Illegal Interview Questions

Samples of potentially illegal job interview questions in the U.S. and tips for answering them—or not—are linked below.

Illegal interview questions are those that single you out based on your age, race, gender, disability, religion, marital status, or a variety of other reasons that are contrary to equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination laws.

U.S. employers shouldn't ask such questions. But some do anyway, either to intentionally discriminate or innocently through ignorance of the law.

Although they're called "illegal interview questions" on the Web, it's important to note that a question may not be illegal to ask per se. But if an interviewer asks a question that has discriminatory implications and then intentionally denies you employment based on your answer to the question, he or she may have broken the law.

For example, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it's not against the law for an interviewer to ask your age or birth date. But it is against the law for an interviewer to deny you employment because you are age 40 or older, if all the other terms of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 also apply. (See Labor Laws to research discrimination and equal employment opportunity laws.)

It's also important to note that, in order for it to be illegal employment discrimination, it must be in violation of a specific state or Federal law (statute) or related regulation.

For example, if an interviewer simply doesn't like your personality, that's not discrimination by law. But if an interviewer doesn't hire you solely because of your disability, that's discrimination if you are fully capable of performing the job.

If you think that an interviewer has discriminated against you by asking illegal interview questions (or in any other way), you may file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

But you might want to first consult an employment lawyer, to determine if that's the best route.Employment Lawyer (For example, state and municipal discrimination cases are typically easier to win and often grant more awards than Federal cases.) Employment lawyers often wait to collect their fees, until they win awards for their clients in or out of court.

See the Interview Center right here at, for more interview tips and sample questions.

Answering Illegal Interview Questions
Learn how to respond to potentially illegal interview questions without embarrassing your interviewer or losing the job opportunity. Part of Dealing with Illegal Interview Questions, courtesy of ResumeEdge in partnership with Includes example questions and their legal equivalents.

Handling Illegal Interview Questions
About the matter and a "case study" of sorts, with sample illegal interview questions and suggested answers for each.

Handling Improper Interview Questions
Options for answering illegal interview questions, along with samples and their legal equivalents. From JobWeb.

How to Handle Illegal Interview Questions
Explains the difference between the illegal and criminally-liable interview question, and how to handle either. Provides examples. From CollegeGrad.

Illegal Interview Questions
An article similar to the introduction to this section above, but with a little more information. Then it refers you to Dealing with Illegal Interview Questions back here at, for even more information. Free from our partner, an employee-rights site.

Legal and Illegal Interview Questions
Briefly, what's legal and what's not when asking, along with references to matching anti-discrimination laws. From the University at Albany.

Illegal Interview Questions provides general information only and is not intended as legal advice nor as a substitute for legal advice. It is presented as is, with no warranty either expressed or implied. Neither the author nor publisher are engaged in rendering legal services. See an employment lawyer for legal advice. Should you act based on this information, you do so at your sole risk. Neither the author nor publisher shall have any liability arising from your decision to act on this information. Read our Disclaimer for more information.Employment Lawyer

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