On-line Job Search Guide
Questions asked in an interview should focus on your qualifications for the job. Although recent legislation helps ensure that you are not asked illegal questions, occasionally these questions come up on an application or in an interview. Human Resource personnel are usually aware of what's legal and illegal. However, others involved in the hiring process may not have the same awareness.
It is your right to withhold information unrelated to the job. However, research shows that refusing to answer questions may hurt your employment prospects. Think through possible illegal questions ahead of time and decide how you will handle them. If it does not bother you to answer a question - go ahead and answer it. If the question does bother you, be prepared to address it in a way which will not offend the interviewer. The key to effectively handling difficult questions is to prepare suitable answers well before the interview.
Listed below are examples of acceptable and discriminatory questions. For more information, contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights or your local Job Service Office.
After hiring, an employer may request:
- Describe your education.
- What experience qualifies you for this job?
- Do you have licenses and certifications for this job?
- Are you willing to travel?
- What name(s) are your work records under?
- Do you have the legal right to work in the United States?
- Are you available for overtime?
- Birth certificate
- Affirmative action statistics
- Status - married/single
- Proof of citizenship
- Physical exam and drug testing
- Social security card
Discriminatory or Illegal Questions:
Title I of ADA lists these additional prohibited questions:
- What is your age or date of birth?
- Have you ever been arrested? (An employer has the right to exclude people who have been convicted of certain crimes for certain jobs. Arrests are always illegal to ask about.)
- How many children do you have? What are their ages? Have you made child care arrangements?
- What is your national origin?
- What is your credit record? Do you own your home?
- What is your hair and eye color?
- What is your garnishment record?
- What is your maiden name?
- What is your marital status (Circle one: Ms, Mrs., or Miss)?
- Are you widowed, divorced or separated?
- What is or was your spouse's name or work?
- Have you ever filed a Workers' Compensation claim?
- Do you have any physical impairments which would prevent you from performing the job for which you are applying?
- Have you ever been hospitalized? If so, for what condition?
- Have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist? If so, for what condition?
- Is there any health-related reason you may not be able to perform the job for which you are applying?
- How many days were you absent from work because of illness last year?
- Are you taking any prescribed drugs?
- Have you ever been treated for drug addiction or alcoholism?
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This page was last updated on April 17, 1997
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