pexels-fauxels-3184465 (1)

Illegal Interview Questions That You Don’t Have to Answer

Illegal Interview Questions That You Don’t Have to Answer


For recruiters to hire the best workers, they must conduct interviews. To get good workers, recruiters must ask the right questions. An example of a good question to ask candidates is, “Tell me about yourself.” Such a question allows the candidate to describe their skills, educational background and what they are passionate about.

On the other hand, there are questions that recruiters ask that are unnecessary. Unfortunately, some candidates cannot distinguish between legit and illegal questions. As a result, they end up volunteering information that may be used against them. Therefore, you do not always have to answer every question. If a question feels illegal, you could tell them how uncomfortable you are. For those who don’t know about those illegal interview questions, here are some below

Are You Married?

Interviewers who ask this question usually have ulterior motives. If you claim you are unmarried, the recruiter will be more than glad to hire you. That is because they know they can make you work longer hours since you have no family to go home to. As for the married person, they cannot afford to work any extra hour at the company. Doing so would only result in conflict between them and their family members regarding coming home late from work.

Sometimes recruiters ask this question because the job involves constant travelling, e.g. cabin crew. In this instance, the question is understandable. After all, you would leave your spouse at home alone for the most part. Rather than asking about one’s marital status, the question should instead focus on their willingness to constantly travel.

How Old are You?

There are instances when it is okay to ask this question. For instance, if you are applying for a job at an alcohol factory, the recruiter must verify you are of legal drinking age. Also, jobs in the military can be physically demanding. Therefore, young people will be preferred for those roles due to their agility. Except for the military and alcohol sector, a recruiter asking this question has ill intentions. For instance, they may be inclined to believe an older person will be better suited for a position due to their many years of work experience. As a result, the youth will always have an unfair advantage working for such a company.

Ultimately, this question misses the point of recruiting candidates based on their abilities. Is age the right way to assess whether or not someone can do a certain job properly? You could be 50 years old and not know how to use a laptop. Therefore, to assess a person’s skills, this question is unnecessary.

What is Your Race/Ethnicity?

This is a question you may be asked during written interviews. Recruiters who ask this question normally do so to meet certain diversity quotas. On the surface, diversity quotas seem like a good thing. You wouldn’t want a company to be full of people from a particular race, after all. However, diversity quotas tend to lead to tokenism. That means the colleagues may see the person as nothing more than a minority checking the diversity checkboxes rather than a qualified worker. Also, some companies focus so much on hiring from a particular race that they neglect to check their qualifications. In case that race does their job badly due to being unqualified, it may cause other people to think poorly of that race.

What do you think a minority candidate will think if they do not get the job? They are likely to conclude it was due to their race. That may or may not be the case. Unfortunately, the candidate will not help but think they were disqualified due to their race.

What are Your Religious Beliefs?

This question is appropriate if you are applying for a position in a religious institution as a clergy member or religious educator. For instance, a Muslim cannot work for World Vision, a Christian organization. The question can be okay if the recruiters genuinely want to accommodate a person’s religious practices. For instance, some companies require that workers work on Saturdays. However, Seventh-Day Adventists (SDAs) believe that is the day they should take a break from any kind of work. It would be wrong for a company to not hire a qualified SDA worker despite having the right qualifications.

In general, this question should not be asked if it has nothing to do with your job. Why would a person’s religion matter if they are applying to work as a doctor, for instance? Also, some people view their religious beliefs as a personal matter and would rather keep them to themselves.

How Much Were You Earning in Your Previous Job?

Recruiters usually ask this question to assess a candidate’s career progression. A candidate with a higher salary is likely more senior than the one with a lower salary. Unfortunately, some recruiters ask this question to shortchange you. For instance, if you were paid $1,000 per month in your previous job, the recruiter may pay you this amount or slightly less. Interestingly enough, the job could be paying $3,000 monthly.

Also, earning a certain amount is not enough to tell you how good a candidate is. Remember, there are good workers who earn little, and incompetent workers who earn a lot. The focus should be on the person’s abilities and not their previous salaries.


Hopefully, you have realized that you do not need to answer every interview question. If a question makes you uncomfortable, it may be a sign it is illegal. Of course, you may be wondering what if you lost the job after declining to answer some questions. If you lose the job, count that as a blessing. You do not need a company to hire you for superficial reasons. Are there any illegal questions you can think of? If so, let me know in the comments.



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Shukrani Maina

    hahaha they really do us like that

Leave a Reply