There are legal and illegal questions to ask as part of the job search process. Following are a few examples of illegal questions:
If you are asked an illegal question you have four options on how to respond:
If you determine that responding will not have a negative effect on you and your application you might choose to answer.
This is within your rights. However, depending on how you phrase your refusal you run the risk of appearing uncooperative or confrontational.
If you can determine the real issue you can respond to address this concern. For example, if the employer asks about whether you have children, you might respond, “If you are concerned about my ability to be here on a regular basis, let me assure you I would be dedicated to my job and am a reliable worker.”
This will help you understand the relevance of the question. You might provide a general response and then turn the question back to the employer. For example, if you are asked about your religious affiliation you can respond, “I am a spiritual person. Can you tell me how my religious beliefs will be related to this position?”
For a more comprehensive discussion of legal and illegal job interview questions, please see the Job Search Handbook.
The College of St. Scholastica
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Duluth, MN 55811