Wait a minute, that was an illegal question.

thelawI saw a post online the other day about illegal interview questions.  Many times if an interviewer asks an illegal question it is from their ignorance or for a “valid” reason, they just did not ask it correctly.

Are you married?  They are probably just making small talk.  Maybe they want to tell you what great benefits they have for couples.  I like to know if there is another person involved in the decision-making process when you are considering a career move.

Do you have kids?  Maybe they don’t charge more for families to be on the insurance plans or they have an onsite daycare.

Is your wife/husband OK with you traveling a lot?  They may just want to know if you can handle the travel schedule.

I like your accent, where are you from?  Maybe they just want to know where you are from.

When did you graduate?  They may have other alumni from your school working for them and wonder if you know them.

Whatever the reason that a recruiter or hiring manager asks the illegal question I suggest handling it with tact and grace.  If you say something like “I do not have to answer that, it is an illegal interview question” you will likely not get another interview or be hired.  Sometimes that might be a good thing if you get the vibe that they asked the question for the reason it is illegal.  But generally interviewers genuinely want to know CAN you do the job and do you WANT to do the job.  After all they are hiring the whole person and not just your skills.


When the government regulates how much one can work, they limit the amount of passion one can have for their work.
Al Pollard

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