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Student Success Center - Career Services

Interview questions - what's legal and what don't you have to answer

A half dozen federal laws protect job applicants from questions that might be used to discriminate against them. Basically, the employer must prove (if challenged) that an interview question is directly related to the duties of the job for which you are applying.

Listed below are items which can be asked during the interview and items which are illegal to ask. Your job resume and employer application form also need not contain this information. You may, however, voluntarily provide any of the information below.

You may be asked and SHOULD answer the questions:

(Note that questions of this type focus on the job, your specific qualifications for it, and your career goals.)

You may be asked and NEED NOT answer these questions:

(Note that these questions delve into your personal life and are not legitimate occupational qualifications.)

Minichart developed by the Career Opportunities News, PO Box 190, Garrett Park, MD 20896. Special thanks are due to Professor Jan Kilby of Texas Lutheran College who helped to provide information on the illegal questions.