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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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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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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Difficult interview questions and the answers to get you hired

If you feel like the job interview process is a interview-questions-1024x576complex combination of mind games that are intended to leave you clueless as to how to answer interview questions, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Time is of the essence; employers want to hire someone yesterday. As such, they’re not into playing games. The typical interview questions they ask are designed to cut to the chase and give you the best chance to sell yourself to them.

Your challenge as a job seeker, therefore, is to anticipate tough interview questions and knock your answers out of the park.

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How to nail the most awkward kind of interview: the lunch date

Ah, the lunch interview—an audition that two-businessmen-shaking-hands-at-lunch-meeting-493585563-57717b175f9b585875c2d789combines the stress of a job interview with the awkwardness of a first date. To ace it, you’ll need to make a professional impression in a casual environment. That’s no easy feat.

“Hiring managers typically do lunch interviews because they want to see your personality come out and see how you behave in a casual setting,” says Amy Wolfgang, CEO at Austin, Texas-based Wolfgang Career Coaching.

But as the interviewee, you need to be strategic in your approach. “There’s a temptation to let down your guard and let it become a social event, but it’s still a job interview,” says Carole Martin, job interview coach and author of Boost Your Interview IQ.

The good news: “If a hiring manager is going to expense a meal for you, the person is seriously interested in hiring you,” says Martin.

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5 questions you should never ask during a job interview

You may be camera ready with job-interview-basic-preparationa 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.

On paper, you could be the perfect candidate, but your interview is what will make or break your chances of landing a job 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.

To help you out, Monster compiled a list of questions you should never (ever!) ask a hiring manager­—and what you should be asking instead.

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Land an out-of-town job early in your career

Having trouble finding a dream job fish-jumping-out-of-bowl-change2in your zip code? Why limit your job search to just one town? If you’re a recent grad, chances are you’re still young, with nothing much to tie you down. You have the flexibility to pick up and go, which isn’t so easy when you get older and start to settle down.

Plus, “if you’re willing to relocate, you cast a wider net and have more jobs to choose from,” says Philadelphia career coach Mindy Thomas.

Granted, this won’t be a cakewalk. Many employers are hesitant to hire out-of-town job seekers, since there are a number of expenses involved—and some simply don’t have enough money in their recruiting budget to pay to fly candidates in for interviews, let alone subsidize relocation costs (a rare offer for entry-level hires). But if you show prospective employers you’re worth a second look (and are willing to forfeit relocation expenses), you could find yourself at a new gig in a city you’d never even considered.

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