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Nine Types Of Illegal Job Interview Questions And How To Handle Them – How To Identify And Deflect Or Confront Illegal Questions.    As a job interview coach part of what I do is to help my clients manage illegal job interview questions they may encounter. Every job interview you go on has the potential for the interviewer asking questions that are too personal, too intrusive or downright illegal, so you need to know what these questions are, have strategies in place for dealing with them, and practice your responses so you feel comfortable in advance. This article identifies nine illegal interview question areas and six potential strategies for handling them.    566 words.
The Mental Game Coach, Peak Performance Playbook



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Nine Types Of Illegal Job Interview Questions
And How To Handle Them
How To Identify And Deflect Or Confront Illegal Questions



Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California



As a job interview coach part of what I do is help my clients manage illegal job interview questions they may encounter. Every job interview you go on has the potential for the interviewer asking questions that are too personal, too intrusive or downright illegal. You need to know what these illegal interview questions are, have strategies in place for dealing with them, and practice your responses so you feel comfortable in advance.

Sometimes interviewers ask borderline questions out of lack of knowledge of the law, or from being too nosy, or from being poorly trained as an interviewer. Your job as a smart interviewee is to identify these errors they make, and gracefully and artfully extricate yourself from them.

Employers are not allowed to ask job interview questions about any of the following nine illegal, discriminatory topics.

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Sex
  4. Religion
  5. National origin
  6. Birthplace
  7. Age
  8. Disability
  9. Marital/family status

Strategies for Handling Illegal Job Interview Questions

Here are six potential job interview strategies for handling illegal questions.

  1. Decide in advance how personal you will get in answering certain questions. For example, if they ask about personal health issues, you can simply answer, "My health is fine and I have a nutrition and fitness program I follow. I am fully capable of performing this job with no health reservations."

  2. Answer the question in a direct, confident manner and give no hint that you know this is an illegal interview question. How you answer stressful questions is often far more important than what you say.

  3. You need to know the illegal interview questions they might ask, and how to couch your answers so you appear in a diplomatic, reasonable, non-defensive light. Outright refusal to answer may not be your best approach. You do have the choice at any time not to answer an illegal question. Rather than refuse to answer outright, play some verbal judo and see if you can wriggle around it.

  4. Remain calm and in control, no matter how prying, personal or illegal the questions may be. It does you no good to react emotionally. You need your wits about you to craft a solid response, and you can't afford your emotions getting in the way.

  5. Quickly remind yourself that even though the actual question may be rude or illegal, perhaps the interviewer is simply untrained, and meant no harm. I would take that stance first, giving them the benefit of the doubt, so you don't become angry or defensive.

  6. Ask yourself if the illegal interview question was designed as a stress test to see how you can think on your feet. Are they trying to see if you are easily thrown off? Do they want to see if you can react quickly? Take a humorous approach to answering the question as a means of deflecting it. The interviewer may respect you for being able to think so well on your feet.

Now you know how to identify an illegal job interview question, and you have a toolkit of responses and countermeasures you can take in the face of them. I wish you good luck in using all your smarts and communication skills in countering them so you get the job. As your job interview coach I want you to succeed in big ways.


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   The Interview Success Guide
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This article is an excerpt from the Interview Success Guide, an indispensable tool you need to make your interview campaign a big success. This is a 216-page master blueprint that helps you understand and navigate the interview process so you can mount a successful interview campaign. This book has deep, insightful and immediately applicable interview wisdom that demystifies the world of interviewing. It also has over 400 questions, listed by category, for a variety of careers and jobs, which you could be asked in an interview. There are also over 1200 interview task reminders, questions and guidelines in checklist form so you leave nothing to chance in your job hunt. This guide gives you a step-by-step approach to mastering the interview process. Everything you need to do, from the moment you begin your job hunt to when you accept the position, is covered. We have thought of everything you could possibly need to know to conduct a comprehensive, smart job hunt campaign. Learn more about The Interview Success Guide and purchase it in pdf format, downloadable directly from this website. The Interview Success Guide eBook is also available in Amazon Kindle format and Barnes & Noble Nook format.


To learn more about how interview coaching can help you improve your abilities in media situations, oral test and exam situations, and job interviews visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™, at: www.mentalgamecoach.com/Services/InterviewCoaching.html.

Copyright © 2011- Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.


Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.

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Illegal Interview Questions  
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