Questions asked in an interview should focus on your qualifications for the job.
Federal and state laws help ensure that you aren't asked illegal questions, but occasionally they do come up -- purposely or inadvertently -- on an application or during an interview.
Some employers may not have a clear understanding of federal and state rules and unknowingly inquire into areas that are legally off limits.
Questions should be job-related and not delve deeply into the realm of personal information.
Employers should not ask about any of the following, because to not hire a candidate because of any one of them is discriminatory:
For the candidate, it's a good idea to have a plan of action ready if illegal job interview questions are ever asked. Think through possible illegal questions ahead of time and decide how you will handle them.
If you encounter illegal questions, you can be prepared to respond. You are attempting to determine why the interviewer is asking such a question. If you know the intent of the question, then you can reply with an appropriate answer.
For example, if you are asked whether you are a U.S. citizen (not legal to ask), you may reply that you are authorized to work in the United States, which is a question the employer is allowed to ask you -- and which is perfectly appropriate to answer.
Federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, as well as state law, prohibit the following questions:
Most illegal questioning is not deliberate. However, any individual who believes that his or her employment rights have been violated may file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
You can expect to hear one or more of the following questions, which are perfectly legal.