How to deal with inappropriate interview questions

Imagine sitting in the waiting room of a dental office at your first associate interview. You’ve prepared all night and put on your best suit. You meet with your potential employer, and everything is going great — until he/she asks an inappropriate personal question.

State and federal law prohibits hiring based on age, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, marital/family status or disability. According to the Chicago-based law firm Arnstein & Lehr, any inquiry that “asks a candidate to reveal information about such topics without the question having a job-related basis” constitutes as a discriminatory hiring practice. While these questions are not illegal, employers violating these laws face discrimination lawsuits and strict penalties. Anyone on either end of a job interview should recognize these types of questions.

Interview questions should focus on your skills, experience and capability to perform the job. Oftentimes, an employer may not recognize a question as inappropriate. Some common examples include:

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have kids or are you planning to start a family?
  • Where are you from? What is your nationality?
  • What is your religion?
  • How is your health?
  • Are you a social drinker or drug user?

If these questions do arise, the next step is figuring out how to handle them. Read the rest of this article in the March issue of Contour to learn a few popular ways to handle these questions.

~Christy Tran, Midwestern-Arizona ’20, Chapter Lunch-and-Learn Coordinator

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About Christy Tran

Christy Tran is a second-year dental student at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona. She currently serves as her chapter's Lunch-and-Learn Coordinator. When she is not updating her Google Calendar, she enjoys traveling, catching up on all her TV shows and trying new restaurants and recipes.

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