What to do when you’re asked an illegal interview question

There are questions that employers are not allowed to ask you in an interview.

They’re questions that tend to be more about prejudices and perceptions, than your ability to do the job.

Illegal interview questions tend to make you feel uncomfortable when you’re asked them, because they don’t really have anything to do with your ability to do the job you’re applying for.

This is why a lot of people feel uncomfortable when they’re asked an illegal question.

So instead of feeling uncomfortable when you’re asked an illegal question, let’s go though how to answer an illegal question, so you still have the best chance of being offered the job.

Regardless of the country you’re in, most illegal interview questions tend to be the same. So regardless of where you live, what I’ll take you through today will help you to feel more comfortable in an interview, even when you’re asked a question that you think should not have been asked.

In the video ‘The 6 Most Common Types Of Illegal Questions’ I go though the most commonly asked illegal questions. So check out the video. It gives you an idea of the types of questions you should not be asked while you’re in an interview.

Today, I’ll go through the best 3 tips to help you respond when you’re asked a question you don’t think you should have been asked.

Tip 1 — Ask A Clarifying Question Straight Back

The first tip is that when you think you’ve been asked an illegal question, don’t respond negatively or feel intimidated.

Some people get flustered or angry, but don’t do that.

Instead, ask the interviewer to clarify why they’ve asked you the question.

You could respond to the question with something like…

‘I’d be happy to answer that question, but I’d like to understand a little bit more about how it’s relevant to the job. Could you elaborate?’

The first thing to do when you’re asked an illegal question is to ask the interviewer why they’ve asked it.

The interviewer may have asked the question not realizing that it’s a question they shouldn’t have asked, so ask them how your answer is relevant to the job you’re applying for.

This gives the interviewer the opportunity to clarify their motivation in asking the question. You’ll then have a clearer understanding as to why the interviewer asked it, and you’ll also have a clearer understanding as to how you should answer it.

You can then decide to either answer the question, or bring it to the interviewers attention that the question is illegal.

Tip 2 — Second Illegal Question

Tip 2 is what to do if the interviewer asks you a second illegal question.

If you’re asked a second illegal question in the same interview and you’re feeling uncomfortable about the question, then let the interviewer know they’ve just asked you a second illegal question and again, ask them to clarify why they’ve asked it.

Let them know that by asking a question they shouldn’t be asking makes you feel uncomfortable, and you’d like to know how the answer relates to your ability to do the job.

You could answer the question with something like this…

‘This is the second illegal question you’ve asked. I feel uncomfortable answering them, so could you clarify for me how the question relates to my ability to do the job?’

You should also be prepared to explain to them why the question is illegal.

If you ask for clarification in a respectful, calm way, you’ll show the interviewer that you’re serious about the role, but also have empathy and tact, so can handle yourself in a difficult situation.

This could even impress the interviewer when you do it the right way, so they seriously consider you for the role.

Tip 3 — Consider The Interviewer’s Motivation

Tip 3 is to consider why the interview has asked you one or more illegal questions.

If the person interviewing you seems inexperienced at interviewing and has probably just asked an illegal question because they didn’t realize it was illegal and they were just making conversation, then that’s a different situation to someone who comes across as an experienced interviewer who asks an illegal question and should know better.

Tip 4 is to answer the question

And tip 4 is to answer the question in a way that reassures the interviewer that you can do the job.

If you find that the interviewer is someone who doesn’t do many interviews, or is new to the role and didn’t realize the questions they’ve asked are illegal, then you might be comfortable to answer the question.

In this situation, you may even feel like the question is OK for you to answer.

When you answer, let the interviewer know that you’ll be focused on the job.

For example, if the interviewer asks if you’re married and if you have any kids, you might tell them that you’re married with 3 kids.

But then assure them that you’ll be committed to the job. Let them know, you have a routine that works, so your family won’t impact your ability to do the job. If you think it will help you, explain to the interviewer how your routine won’t affect your on the job performance.

Always remember, YOU decide whether to take the job or not, when it’s offered to you.

So gauge for yourself whether the job you’re applying for is with a company you want to work for.

The easiest way to be offered a job with a great company is when the employer knows you’re a good candidate for the job.

The way to do that is to use Connectzapp to find your next job.

The way it works is you enter the details of the job you’re after.

You’re then given a list of jobs, ranked in order, with the best match for you at the top.

You then swipe through each job, put the jobs you’re most interested in into a shortlist and then contact those employers.

It’s quick. It’s easy. And the best part is the employers can see you’re a good match for the job so they WANT to talk to you.

You can get Connectzapp on the App Store or Google Play, or go to Connectzapp.com.

So give it a try and make your job hunting easy.

And lastly…

Good luck with your job hunting!

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