This series was inspired from my seven years experience listening to the good, the bad and the truly hideous interview. About half the applicants I turn away could have done the job and done it well. This guide will lead qualified candidates to avoiding major pitfalls in how they are presenting themselves during the interview process.
Previously we Covered:
We're going to very briefly talk about questions which are illegal to asking in the USA.
It's never in your favor to answer these questions or to offer this information voluntarily.
Most articles list 7 separate categories interviews shouldn't touch on they include: age, race, national origin, gender, marital status, and sexual orientation. Below, I've listed the top illegal questions I've seen others ask in interviewing workshops, role play interviews, or on occasion when I've been interviewing for a position.
Questions You Should NEVER Be Asked and SHOULD NOT ANSWER in an Interview:
- Any question about your race or ethnicity: These include What is your nationality/are you a US citizen/what's your native language/how long have you lived here?
- Any question regarding your religious beliefs? What's your religious faith/which religious holidays do you observe? “I belong to ??? church which one do you belong to?”
- Any question regarding your age: How old are you? What years did you graduate High School? THERE IS ONE EXCEPTION TO THIS: If you need to be a minimum age to perform the job’s duties. For instance, the minimum age to use a deli slicer is 16.
- Any question concerning your family situation Do you have kids/ is your babysitter reliable/ can you get a babysitter short notice? Do you have a husband/wife/significant other?
Though there are questions similar to these that an interviewer MAY ask, ones that get too specific regarding age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability are illegal in the USA. If you're asked these questions you should remain calm and friendly but politely decline to answer them.
You can try re-framing the situation with “Why do you ask?”. It may give both you a chance to gracefully backtrack into job related queries. Perhaps the interviewer just wants to know if you're open to working Christmas or Easter. This allows you to respond appropriately to their concerns.
Sometimes the interviewer is just trying to make some small talk and has no reason they are asking the question. Just like this might be one of the first times you are interviewing, this might be one of the first times this person is the interviewer. Allow them the opportunity to back away from a question that seems not relevant to the job.
If necessary redirect them by asking them “What are the 3 main skills you are looking for?” or “What traits do you feel are important for a person to have who is doing this job?”
If these tactics don't work, chances are your interview is not going well. It may be time to get up and leave the interview.
Remember, once you have the job, you have to work for these people. As much as an interview is about whether you're the right fit for a company, a company should also be putting it's best face forward. Don't stay in an interview that makes you uncomfortable or in an interview where you learn you do not want the job on offer.
Do you need more information on this topic? May I recommend reading:
11 Interview Questions that are Actually Illegal
30 Interview Questions you Can't ask and 30 Sneaky Alternatives to Get the Same Info http://www.hrworld.com/features/30-interview-questions-111507/
Ready for more? The next part of my Series is Up The First 3 Questions in the Interview