Questions Employers Should Never Ask You at an Interview

When interviewing for a new job or a promotion, you’ll be asked a lot of questions.  Most people are prepared for the basic questions, but sometimes, there’s a question that throws you for a loop.  Some of these are designed to see how you react, while others are legit questions that people just don’t think to be prepared for.  However, there are some questions that interviewers may ask that they shouldn’t.  These questions aren’t just surprising, they’re actually illegal!  Here are five questions that should never be asked and, if they are, don’t have to be answered.

Are you Married (and other Questions about your Personal Life)?

Employers should never ask about your marital status or about your spouse’s job.  It’s not illegal per se to do so, but such information could lead to a violation of employment laws.  For example, if an employer knows that a candidate is in a same-sex marriage, it could lead to discrimination.  Likewise, some employers may not want to hire a parent if a lot of overtime is involved.  You shouldn’t have to feel like you must share any personal information.

What Nationality are you?

It’s illegal to ask anyone about their nationality or race in an interview.  The closest that is allowed is whether or not the candidate has a work visa or can legally work in the country.

Are you Healthy?

It’s illegal for interviewers to ask you about your health.  They’re not allowed to ask if you have any chronic illnesses or disabilities.  In fact, they can’t even ask you how many days you’ve taken off to go see a doctor.  Potential employers can, however, ask if you have the strength to lift and carry a certain amount of weight or if you can stand for long periods of time if these relate to job duties.

How Old are you?

Asking a candidate how old they are can very quickly escalate to being sued for age discrimination, so employers avoid this question.  However, there is one age related question that you can be asked: employers may ask younger candidates if they are 18 years old or older.  This is due to the different laws about hiring minors.

What Religion are you?

This is definitely another question that you should never be asked.  While some employers are concerned that certain candidates may need to take certain days off for religious ceremonies, they cannot ask about that.  Instead, they should ask how flexible their schedule is and if they can work the hours the job requires.

If you’ve been asked any of these questions, you may be the subject of discrimination or at least a victim of a very poor interviewer!

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