During job interviews, employers will try to gather as much information about you as possible, so there’s bound to be some questions that will require you to think.
But it’s the simple questions that are often most harmful, and even illegal.
Any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status and sexual orientation are off-limits.
“If you look at the broad picture, the [interview] questions you’re asked have to be job-related and not about who you are as a person,” Lori Adelson, a labor and employment attorney and partner with law firm Arnstein & Lehr, told us.
If you are asked any inappropriate questions, Adelson advises not to lie, but, instead, politely decline to answer.
“Could they not give you a job because of that? Sure,” Adelson says. “But if they do, they would be doing exactly what they’re not supposed to do.”
We asked Adelson to provide us with some illegal interview questions that are often mistaken as appropriate and judicial.
Have you ever been arrested?
An employer can’t actually legally ask you about your arrest record, but they can ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
Depending on the state, a conviction record shouldn’t automatically disqualify you for employment unless it substantially relates to your job. For example, if you’ve been convicted of statutory rape and you’re applying for a teaching position, you will probably not get the job.
Are you married?
Although the interviewer may ask you this question to see how much time you’d be able to commit to your job, it’s illegal because it reveals your marital status and can also reveal your sexual orientation.
Do you have children?
Again, the employer may ask you this question to see your available time commitment with the company, but this question is inappropriate.
However, they are allowed to ask you directly if you have other responsibilities or commitments that will be conflicting to your work schedule.