When applying for a job, you are protected by federal and state laws, which restrict the types of questions that you can be
asked.  If you are asked questions, which you believe may be illegal questions, right or wrong,  DO NOT over-react.  You
should politely answer in a way that protects your rights.  Remember, your only interview goal is to get the offer.   You do
NOT have to accept the offer.

Most employers are not trying to violate your rights.  Like you, many employers do not have a lot of experience in
interviewing, although they are much more experienced at interviewing than you are.  Try to understand what the
employer is really trying to find out.

Here are some of the most common, potentially, illegal interview questions. I say potentially because some seemingly
illegal questions are acceptable if they are specifically job related.   

We are not telling you to answer these questions or not to answer these questions, just making suggestions as to how to.   

Here are some of the most common illegal interview questions:
  •         Are you a U.S. citizen?
  •         Where were you or your parents born?
  •         Is English your native language?
  •         How old are you?
  •         When did you graduate from high school/college?
  •         What is your birthday?
  •         Are you married?
  •         Who do you live with?
  •         Do you plan to have a family? When?
  •         How many kids do you have?
  •         What are you child care arrangements?
  •         What clubs or social organizations do you belong to?
  •         How tall are you?
  •         How much do you weigh?
  •         Do you have any disabilities?
  •         What is your medical history?
  •         Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations?
  •         Are you planning any medical procedures?
  •         When was your last physical examination?
  •         What is your family’s health history?
  •         When did you lose your eyesight?
  •         Have you ever been arrested?
  •         Were you honorably discharged from the military?


The best way to answer questions that were asked “illegal” is:
1)        Don’t get upset
2)        Determine what they are really trying to ask
3)        and Answer that question, what they are really trying to determine.

So let's talk about these questions and determine what the prospective employer is really trying to find out.  

For example, if they ask about your marital status, they may be wondering if you will be a long term employee.  If they ask
if you have kids, they may be worried about your punctuality and attendance.  Trust your instincts to cut to the true
question!

Below are many of the questions asked which “could” be illegal questions.  I have answered below them with what
information the interviewer may be trying to discover.

Are you a U.S. citizen?
 INS/Homeland security issues, I-9 form complications

Where were you or your parents born?
 INS/Homeland security issues, I-9 form complication

Is English your native language?
 Communication with customers/clients, co-workers, supervisors

How old are you?
 ROI on  training investment young, learn & run – too old, retire

When did you graduate from high school/college?
 Confirmation that you did graduate
  
What is your birthday?
 Into astrology, ROI on training investment – too young, learn & run – too old, retire

Are you married?
 Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality, maybe socialized with past employees

Who do you live with?
 Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality

Do you plan to have a family? When?
 Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality, ROI on training investment

  How many kids do you have?
Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality

What are you child care arrangements?
 Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality

What clubs or social organizations do you belong to?
 Social, Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality

How tall are you?
 Just nosey

  How much do you weigh?
Health issues, Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality

Do you have any disabilities?
 Accommodation needed?, can you DO the job as described

What is your medical history?
 Health insurance issues, Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality

Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations?
 Health insurance issues, Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality, Accommodation needed?

Are you planning any medical procedures?
When was your last physical examination?
When did you lose your eyesight?
 Health insurance issues, Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality, Accommodation needed?

What is your family’s health history?
 Health insurance issues, Establishing potential interferences in attendance and punctuality

Have you ever been arrested?
 Concern about hire-ability, company policy, potential risks

Were you honorably discharged from the military?
 Concern about hire-ability, potential risks

Can you DO the job as described?  Is a legal question.  The interviewer should ask this question.  What are they trying to
learn from this?  Same as most illegal medically related questions:  Health insurance issues, Establishing potential
interferences in attendance and punctuality, Accommodation needed?

When determining how to answer most any interview question, remember that the interviewer is looking for someone
reliable, dependable, professional and loyal.  Express those intangible skills to greatly increase your chance of getting the
Job Offer.
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