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How to Answer Illegal Interview Questions | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

EP 829  Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains how to answer any illegal question you might be asked on a job interview. 


Today, I want to talk with you about 1 of those tough interview questions that show up from time to time. The question is when you are clearly as something that is illegal. You know, "How old are you anyway?" Or, "What is your maiden name?" Or, "Are you planning on having kids now?"

Your variety of different ways of answering questions like this. The 3 basic ones are:
1. You can answer the question. That just encourages them to try to go even deeper into the stuff.
2. You can say, "You can ask me that question! That's illegal question!" All that you've done up until this point to build rapport between yourself and the interviewer is out the window. You can pretty well kiss this job goodbye.
3. You can deflect it. Behind the question is fear on their part. They have a concern about you in some way.

For example, if I were asked, "So, Jeff, how old are you?" I can answer that I am 62, or I could answer, "You can ask me that!" Or, I could answer, "Out of curiosity, is there concern that because of my age. I can't really perform this role?"

"No no no no no no no! Nothing like that. I'm just curious."

"We just talk with you about my experience and how it could serve you very well." That becomes one way to answer.

If your woman being asked whether you are planning on having kids anytime soon, you can respond by not answering the question and saying, "I just want to be absolutely clear with you and Delaney concerns that you have that I am 100% behind my career. I am motivated and dedicated to really being successful professionally. I want to give you reassurance like that." You can use your language to that effect, give them the 22nd answer that basically says that you are dedicated to your career and then you can pause and smile at the end of that and let the subject move on.

What you've done is (1) there is no legal obligation for you do not have kids when you want to; (2) if given the answer that you are hoping for. So they should be ready to move on.

Basically, again, to summarize, if you are asked and illegal question, you have 3 choices. 2 or bad, and the 3rd 1 always their concerns that in some way, you might not really work out because of, in my case, my age or a woman's case, that you might be interested in having children.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

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