Posted by: dtarraso | 27 October, 2009

Illegal interview questions

Illegal interview questions:

As discussed the other day in class, illegal interview questions are the ones not related to your qualifications. Questions should be job-related and not used to find out our personal information.

For example:

  1. Nationality: Where were you/your parents born? Sánchez, Is that a Spanish name?

  2. Race or color: Are you considered to be part of a minority group?

  3. Religious: Does your religion prevent you from working weekends or holidays?

  4. Age: When did you graduate from high school?

  5. Family status: What’s your marital status? Who do you live with? Do you plan to have a family? When? How many kids do you have? What are your child care arrangements? Is that your maiden name?

  6. Affiliations: To what clubs or social organizations do you belong?

  7. Personal: How tall are you? How much do you weigh?

  8. Disabilities: Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations? Do you have any disabilities?

  9. Arrested record: Have you ever been arrested?

The best way to react:

First, evaluate the interviewer’s motives in asking the question. Sometimes they may ask personal questions with the intention to connect with you, without knowing there´re illegal.

Keep cool and be careful, sometimes the way you react may determine if you get the job or not. Use humor to distract the interviewer or to defuse the situation. Also, you can refuse to answer the questions. Be tactful and tell your interviewer that you don’t feel comfortable answering the question. Always be friendly and polite.

There’s nothing wrong with answering an illegal question. If you are comfortable with the question, do it. That answer could make the difference between you and the others candidates.



  1. I like the bit about the best way to react but I can’t imagine myself keeping so calm and tactful in some situations.
    Any more ideas about how to react?

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