Tag Archives: Job Interview Questions

What Your Job Interviewer CAN’T Ask You

Jobless man

It’s best to approach any job interview expecting the unexpected. While there are some basic, standard-issue questions you can probably count on, there are almost always some weird, unexpected, or downright random questions that make their way into the process—making it vital for job candidates to be nimble, ready to think on their feet.

You should be ready for any question—including the ones your interviewer isn’t supposed to ask. Yes, there are some questions—of a personal or demographic nature—that interviewers are not supposed to ask. When they ask these questions, they open up their company to potential legal action.

Not that this stops them: A pretty high percentage of hiring managers ask these taboo questions—as many in one in five. So the odds are, if your job search process lasts very long, you’ll end up in an interview where one of these forbidden questions is asked.

And what are some of these questions? You can probably guess—but some definite no-nos include:

  • Are you pregnant?
  • What are your religious beliefs/affiliations and/or your political beliefs/affiliations?
  • What is your race, color, or ethnicity?
  • Are you in any way disabled?
  • What is your marital status? Do you have children? Do you plan to?
  • What is your financial status (i.e., are you in debt)?
  • What are your social smoking/drinking habits?

And the biggest, most common one of all: How old are you?

To be clear: There is nothing illegal about asking any of these questions, but, in most contexts, they will imply a discriminatory motive, which most certainly is illegal, or at least grounds for you to bring a case against interviewers who ask these questions.

Not that we recommend getting litigious about it. What we recommend, first and foremost, is that you be ready to hear these questions. Second, be comfortable declining to answer these questions if you feel uncomfortable with them. And third, regard these as red flags; if an interviewer asks one of these questions, well, it may not be a healthy company culture that you’re seeking to join after all.

For more job search tips and secrets, make sure you follow our Facebook page; and, feel free to contact us today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Job Interview Questions Designed to Trip You Up


It’s the human element that makes interviewing for a job so tricky, so daunting. You can hold all the practice interviews and rehearse all the canned answers you want, but at the end of the day you’re going to be sitting across from another human being, who can ask nearly any question that springs to mind. While it is both good and right to prepare for common, stock interview questions, the applicant must also go into each interview with the knowledge that anything could happen.

On that note: There are some surprisingly (and increasingly) popular interview questions that you should make a special effort to prepare for. These aren’t necessarily among the “stock” questions you’re familiar with, but they’re not uncommon among interviewers—and they’re designed to be a bit tricky, not necessarily with the intention of making you fall flat but rather of helping the interviewer see how well you think on your feet.

What are some of these surprising, tricky interview questions? We’ve highlighted five particularly treacherous ones below.

Why are you seeking a new employment opportunity?

In the surface, this one may seem fairly innocuous—and it can be. Maybe you’re looking for a new job because you’re currently unemployed, or maybe you’re simply ready for a change for you or your family. That’s all perfectly fine.

This question becomes insidious and damaging, however, when you start talking smack about your current employers. That’s really what it’s designed to do: To show the interviewer whether you’re a particularly negative person or not. If you show up at an interview and speak poorly of your current job, why should the interviewer expect you to be any more of a team player at this new company? Prepare for this question by reminding yourself not to air your dirty laundry in public, as far as your old employers are concerned.

How do you manage to find time for interviews?

This question is designed to uncover whether you’re effectively cheating your current employer or not—because if you are, there’s no reason to suspect you won’t cheat your next employers, too. You can deflect—and underscore your interest in the position—by stating that you’re taking personal time for the interview because the opportunity seems so perfect for you, so exciting.

Do you know anyone who currently works for our company?

Here’s another one that seems innocent enough. You may think it’s a great thing to have a friend on the inside, talking you up and recommending you to the hiring manager. It can be—but only if your friend is respected within the company. Remember that the friend’s characteristics and reputation are automatically going to become associated with you—so select your referrer wisely!

What’s your dream job?

The point of this question is to determine whether you’re applying for every job in sight, or taking a more targeted approach—and you want to underscore that you’re doing the latter. “This is the place I’d like to work,” you should say; as hokey as it might sound, this simple answer really is the best one.

What does the word X mean on your resume?

Finally, don’t be surprised to have interviewers ask you to explain certain words on your resume—a relatively recent response to the trend of meaningless buzzwords that proliferate on resumes. If you think you can get away with calling yourself “hard-working” or “diligent” without being able to offer up any concrete examples, well, think again.

This last one, of course, underscores the importance of having a really meaningful resume in place. To learn more about this important step in job search preparation, contact our team today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.


Filed under Resumes