Improper Interview Questions And How To Deal With Them

With the national economy expected to continue in its recovery, it is also expected that hiring gains will continue. According to numerous media outlets, hiring was better than expected in December, with 292,000 jobs being added to the economy.

However, even with a robust job market, there are still people who may be taken advantage of or discriminated against in the hiring process. Essentially, employers may ask questions or seek information that may violate state and federal employment laws. For job candidates, this puts them in a difficult situation. They obviously want the job they applied for, and in most cases they need the income to maintain a decent standard of living. But should they have to deal with ignorance that manifests itself in illegal questions?

Of course, they shouldn't. But dealing with discriminatory interview questions and getting a job doesn't always go hand in hand. With that, job candidates must know what questions are improper and how to deal with them. While this article does not constitute legal advice, here are a few tips.

Questions about marital status - While questions or discussions about your family may be raised in idle small talk, specific inquiries about marital status are illegal. After all, your marital status is not likely to be a requirement for the job you're seeking. So it would be improper for an employer to make these inquiries.

Questions about disabilities or handicaps - In today's workplace, it is increasingly common to hire workers with disabilities. However, questions about specific handicaps or disabilities are not allowed. Indeed, an employer is allowed to ask if you can lift a certain amount of weight or whether a reasonable accommodation is needed to complete the basic functions of the position, but they generally cannot ask about what caused an injury or a medical prognosis.

Questions about family and children - As we alluded to earlier, there is no harm in volunteering information about your family in small talk, but an employer may not require you to answer questions about them. Specifically, a potential employer generally may not ask specifically about your spouse and his/her salary, how many children you have or how much you spend on child care.

Indeed, hearing improper questions may be jarring and even frustrating. But since you are seeking employment as a professional, it is imperative that you handle such questions as a professional. Essentially, you can remind the interviewer that the question is improper or that you don't feel comfortable answering it. Nevertheless, this does not absolve you of your right to seek a remedy in the event you are denied employment based on an employer's questioning.