Despite warnings to the contrary, many employers still ask illegal questions or ones that border on being illegal. Many of these questions deal with age, family responsibilities, and lifestyle.
If you encounter such questions, you need to be prepared to respond. Some interviewees may be shocked or feel insulted and respond negatively. Others deal with the questions with a combination of humor and honesty. You have to decide how best to respond to such questions.
Some interviewees actually volunteer information that would be considered illegal to acquire through questions. They often do this when asked the ice-breaker question, "Tell me about yourself."
They may start by saying they are 29 years old, happily married, two children, a church-going Catholic, and a liberal Democrat. Having said that, there's not much more the interviewer can ask that's considered illegal!
Assuming you will not volunteer such information, you need to be prepared to handle these sensitive questions. Do not be afraid to inject humor into your replies; it can sometimes relax the formality of the situation.
Also, don't be afraid of a little confrontation, especially when you know you are correct. You might respond, "That's a (great) (strange) (different) question. No one has ever asked me that before. Why did you?"
You are attempting to determine why the interviewer is asking such a question. If you know why, then you can reply with an appropriate answer. Most often the interviewer will let it drop and move on to a reasonable question.
Here are some of the many potentially illegal and sensitive questions you might encounter:
SOURCE: Adapted from Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.D.s, You Should Hire Me! (Manassas Park: Impact Publications). Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.