Illegal interview questions that employers shouldn’t ask you

Job interviews can make even the most prepared candidates uncomfortable. But although the hiring manager is in the driver’s seat, there’s a chance they’ll make a wrong turn and ask a question that is off limits—a question that you don’t have to answer, and sometimes definitely shouldn’t. That’s why you need to be able to spot illegal interview questions.

“Even trained hiring managers and recruiters sometimes ask illegal questions,” says Charles Krugel, an HR attorney in Chicago.

The Civil Rights Act of l964 “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” As a job seeker, you want to be able to spot red flags that could indicate you’re not being treated fairly. These five interview questions are illegal for potential employers to ask you.

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How to handle five types of toxic co-workers

Like toxic waste, toxic co-workers have to be handled with care. And it’s not healthy to have prolonged exposure to either.

“Whether it’s chronic backstabbing, extreme defensiveness, narcissism, cruelty, bias, discrimination or other forms of mistreatment or misbehavior that they demonstrate, [toxic co-workers] are intolerable to work with or be around for an extended period,” says Kathy Caprino, founder of Connecticut-based career-coaching firm Ellia Communications. “They’re toxic because they’re like a poison to your system and to the organization’s ecosystem, making it hard to maintain your own well-being, professionalism, and collaborative spirit when you’re around them.”

Worse yet, working with a toxic co-worker can negatively impact your job performance and even derail your career if they’re allowed to continue their behavior.

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5 job interview questions you should never ask

You may be camera ready with a spiffy job-interview outfit and your resume (15 drafts later, phew) and cover letter in hand, but now it’s time for the hardest part: preparing what will come out of your mouth. The job interview questions you ask a hiring manager can make or break your chances of getting an offer.

The key is to ask the right questions and “always think about how you’re being perceived,” says Courtney Templin, president of JB Training Solutions, a Chicago-based career development firm.

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13 things you should never write in a work email

Email etiquette is a delicate art, and one that’s important to master, considering the average worker spends 28% of their day checking email, a McKinsey & Company study found. But, when you use poor judgment in an email to your boss, co-worker, or client, you’ve created a digital record of your mistake that could come back to bite you.

As Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, puts it: “An email is a permanent document that can be held against you.”

Another reason why the stakes are high: “Emails can be forwarded to anyone; they can even be posted on the Internet for the public to see,” warns executive coach Anne Marie Segal.

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What not to say during salary negotiation

Finally, after making it through a grueling interview process you receive that job offer you’ve been gunning for all along. Still, there’s one more hurdle to cross, and that’s salary negotiation.

Though salary isn’t the only factor to consider when weighing a job offer—other incentives, such as a signing bonus, flexible work schedule, or relocation assistance, may help sweeten the deal—getting a fatter paycheck would certainly be nice.

To nab a higher salary, however, you’ll have to do some negotiating. Now, here’s a lesson that may surprise you: What you don’t say is just as (or potentially even more) important than what you do say.

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How to keep your cool and ace a panel interview

Of all the steps involved in your quest to find a job, the job interview is likely the most stressful. What could be more unnerving than sitting in front of a stranger grilling you about your qualifications? Answer: a bunch of strangers grilling you. That’s more or less what happens during a panel interview (also called a board interview), when several employees from a company come together as a group to audition a candidate.

Typically formal and organized, this interview format is often used in academia and government or for high-level executives. Occasionally, you’ll encounter a panel interview for other positions in a company.

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10 career resolutions you can absolutely accomplish in 2019

It’s that time of year again—time to set those New Year goals. At this point, though, you know the drill: You set a goal (no more carbs!), stick to it for a month (if you’re lucky), and then revert to your old habits. In fact, US News & World Report found that roughly 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you.

This doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail, but it does mean you need to be realistic. Your sights must be set on targets that are within your reach. Beware biting off more than you can chew.

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