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Don’t Answer These Questions!

It is common unfortunately nowadays to be asked TOO many personal questions on a job interview.  Due to the onslaught of people looking for jobs, sometimes employers blur the line between what is appropriate and what is not.  Here are some things employers should NOT be asking.

*Nationality, Native Language, Time in United States- If asked, instead explain that you’re legally able to work in the United States.

*Religion, Religious Holidays they Observe- If this occurs, try to find out what the interviewer is concerned about and to address these concerns: working certain days of the week, for example, could be a legitimate concern.

*Age- While long term career goals are acceptable, asking one’s age directly is not.  This is often because one can achieve much life experience at a young age (for example, due to hardship) but not much career experience. 

* Marital and Family Status- Don’t answer questions about whether you have children or what your child-bearing plans are, but do explain whether you’re available to work overtime or whether you can travel, particularly on short notice.

*Making decisions purely based off gender or medical condition- Smoking, drinking, drug use, weight, past surgeries, height and similar traits are not up for discussion. However, an employer may use you if you have violated drug policies at other companies in the past.  This also applies to one’s criminal record, only if the violation refers to the job is it appropriate if the interviewee has been arrested.

*Military Time- It is illegal to NOT hire based on what service the person has performed and where, but it is acceptable to ask how much time the employee would need to miss from work because of said military commitments. 

Most employees have no interest in suing; they just want to know how to get through the questions diplomatically.  Experts advise the interviewee to steer inappropriate questions back to the employer:  many new managers may simply not realize their errors.  Of course, a prospect can always say “I prefer not to answer that question” if all else fails. 

These types of errors in questioning are very common sadly, so beware!

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