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Handle Inappropriate Job Interview Questions Like A Pro

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Here is a hilarious clip from Mad TV on the topic of inappropriate job interview questions. In this funny job interview video clip, the job applicant is taking exception with every job interview question believing that she is a victim of employment discrimination.

So suppose you are in a job interview, how should you handle the following potentially inappropriate questions?

  • How old are you?
  • What’s your nationality?
  • Are you married?
  • What is your religion?
  • Do you have any children?
  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Do you belong to a political party?
  • Do you have a mental disability?
  • Do you have a physical disability?

The above are difficult questions to handle in a job interview.  The key is uncover the employer’s concern, but appear polite, friendly and not to appear confrontational.

For example, suppose you are applying to a pregnancy hot-line call centre and the hiring manager asks “What is your religion?”.  You can respond with the following:  “I am not sure if I understand what you are looking for.  May I ask how the requirements of this job relate to religion?”

Or you can try and take a guess with this approach:  “I am guessing you are wondering if my religious beliefs will prevent me from being successful in this job, namely providing options for clients who choose abortion.  I am aware of the organization’s philosophy on this topic and I can assure you that my religious beliefs will not prevent me performing my job in accordance with the company’s policy, procedures and training”.

In most countries Human Rights Law and other employment legislation prevents employment discrimination. However, it’s important to note that in some cases the questions above may not be illegal.  In these situations if the question assesses a bonafide occupational requirement then it is legal to ask. For instance if you are applying to work for a political party, they may in fact ask you questions to determine your political views.

However you choose to answer, delivery is the key – that is makes sure you smile and relax when you respond so that you do not appear confrontational.   Lastly, if you are being asked too many inappropriate job interview questions, you may want to re-evaluate your interest with this employer.