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Did a Recent Job Interview Include Any of these Questions? Your Potential Future Employer Just Broke the Law!

If you are a job hunter, you already know how intimidating an experience the interview can be. Answering detailed questions about your work history and professional goals is enough to drive anyone into panic mode.

Unfortunately, some interview questions cross boundaries that are in place to protect applicants. These illegal questions are all too common - statistics show about one in five employers unknowingly ask these questions. They think they are trying to get to know applicants and make their hiring decisions easier, but they are actually breaking the law.

If you have been asked any of the following questions, the interviewer broke the law while conducting the interview:

• What is your religious or political affiliation?
• Are you pregnant?
• Do you have children?
• How old are you?
• Do you have a disability?
• What is your race or ethnicity?
• Are you in debt?
• Are you married?
• Do you drink or smoke?
• Have you ever been arrested?

Most employers know subjects like religion and race are off limits during an interview, but other topics are a little trickier. And in some cases, it might be legal to gather the information, as long as the question is worded the right way.

For instance, when it comes to the final question listed above about being arrested - job applications often include questions about whether or not someone has been convicted of a crime, which is fine. However, potential employers are not able to ask if an applicant has ever been arrested.

Efforts are Underway to Monitor Illegal Conduct

Luckily there are organizations keeping tabs on how interviews are conducted and what questions are asked. Employers and human resource departments are frequently surveyed about their interview procedures and they receive information on a regular basis about how to properly conduct interviews.

Still, there are times when inappropriate interview questions slip by and leave applicants facing a difficult situation. If you are interviewing for your dream job and you suspect you have been asked an illegal question, it might be tough to refuse to answer, especially if you know it will cost you the job. Not to mention since the difference between legal and illegal often depends on phrasing, you might lose out on the opportunity for no reason.

If you are uncomfortable answering a question, you can politely tell the interviewer you would rather not answer it. If you suspect it might be illegal, but you are not sure and you have no problem sharing the information, you are better off answering and looking into whether it was legal or not later. It is also a good idea to brush up on what questions you can be asked before you head out to interviews.

Have you been interviewing for jobs and feel one or more of the questions you were asked by a potential employer poses a problem? We can help. For more information or to discuss the subjects covered in your job interview, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C.

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