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You are Here: Home > Interviews > Interview Center > Dealing with Illegal Interview Questions - 2 > How to Answer Illegal Interview Questions

How to Answer Illegal Interview Questions

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Now that you know what is permissible and what is potentially discriminatory, consider how you might answer illegal interview questions—or not. Whether or not you answer and how you go about it depends on your desire to land the job and your comfort level. Below are three basic answer options.

Option 1 for Answering Illegal Interview Questions

You could forfeit your rights and answer illegal interview questions, hoping that it will deepen connections with your interviewer.

Did the interviewer ask illegal interview questions because he or she was intentionally discriminating against you, or was he or she naively just trying to get to know you?

For example, there might be a time when your interviewer is naively just trying to connect with you, by attempting to discover if you attend the same church as he or she does or if you are from the same country as him or her.

In such cases, you might not feel threatened by what might appear to be illegal interview questions to another job candidate. In fact, you might benefit from answering so-called illegal interview questions, despite their discriminatory implications.

For example, you might be a shoo-in for the job, if it turns out that you do attend the same church or are from the same country as the interviewer. On the other hand, you might not land the job if neither is true, which would be discriminatory if based solely on your religious beliefs or national origin.

Option 2 for Answering Illegal Interview Questions

Alternatively, you could discreetly refuse to answer illegal interview questions, but persist in trying to secure the job anyway. You might sidestep answering the questions directly, but still address the concerns that they imply.

For example, if your interviewer asks whether or not you have children, he or she might really want to know if they will interfere with the frequent business trips required to do the job. Your sidestep answer might go something like this: "I take strides to balance my work and personal life. I assure you that I will be focused and committed to my responsibilities here, and my personal life will not interfere with my performance."

If you elect not to answer the question at all, but still wish to land job, take pains in your response to set the interviewer at ease. (Again, did the interviewer ask illegal interview questions because he or she was intentionally discriminating against you, or was he or she naively just trying to get to know you?) If you instead embarrass or chastise your interviewer for asking illegal interview questions, your chances of landing the job might immediately decline.

Option 3 for Answering Illegal Interview Questions

Lastly, if you have no desire to work for a company that discriminatorily probes with illegal interview questions, whether naively or intentionally, you could flat refuse to answer.

If you decide on the spot that you do not want the job under the circumstances, you could go so far as to excuse yourself from the interview. You might even consider legal recourse, such as filing a discrimination charge with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a private lawsuit in court.

To determine whether or not you have legal recourse for a so-called illegal interview question that had an adverse end result, contact the nearest EEOC field office or an employment lawyer.Employment Lawyer Don't wait too long, as there is a relatively-short time limit (statute of limitations) for filing a discrimination charge or lawsuit. It starts on the date the potential discrimination occurred.

Visit EmployeeIssues.com, partner site of TechnicalJobSearch.com, to research discrimination laws, also referred to as equal employment opportunity laws.

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Dealing with Illegal Interview Questions
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How to Answer 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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