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Ask Slashdot: How Have You Handled Illegal Interview Topics?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the you-got-no-business-getting-into-my-business-interviews dept.

Businesses 714

kodiaktau writes "Salary.com profiles 14 questions that interviewers may or may not ask during the interview process such as the standards of age, gender and sexual orientation. They also profile several lesser known illegal or border line questions like height/weight, military background, country of origin and family status. With the recent flap over companies asking potential employees for passwords during the interview process it is important to know and review your legal rights before entering the interview. Have you been confronted with borderline or illegal interview questions in the past? How have you responded to those questions?"

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what (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517313)

i answer their questions in hopes that they will give me a job. i need beer money badly

Re:what (4, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#39517329)

You'd have better luck just sitting on a corner, well-dressed, holding a sign saying "Wife won't let me spend my own money on beer."

Re:what (2, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 2 years ago | (#39517529)

You'd have better luck just sitting on a corner, well-dressed, holding a sign saying "Wife won't let me spend my own money on beer."

Works even better if you have a dog with you while panhandling. But do have one that looks sad, hungry, and doesn't bite the donors. And have a water dish there so that they know that you're a caring pet owner.

Re:what (0)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 2 years ago | (#39517519)

i answer their questions in hopes that they will give me a job. i need beer money badly

Tell them that and they'll assume (perhaps rightly) that you're an alcoholic. Count on seeing the door after that.

Citizenship (5, Informative)

colsandurz45 (1314477) | about 2 years ago | (#39517343)

I work for DoD indirectly (not a defense contractor) and my emplyoer cannot hire non-US citizens, so there are exceptions to that rule.

Re:Citizenship (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517459)

Though apparently it is just fine to get hired as non-US citizen by the DoD.

On November 25, 2008, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates signed a memorandum authorizing the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to implement a new non-citizen recruiting pilot program for the United States Armed Forces. Titled âoeMilitary Accessions Vital to the National Interestâ (MAVNI), the new pilot program allows certain non-citizens who are legally present in the United States to join the military and apply immediately for US citizenship without first obtaining lawful permanent residence.

http://www.visalawyerblog.com/2009/02/fast_citizenship_the_armys_new.html [visalawyerblog.com]

"service guarantees citizenship!" (Starship Troopers)

Re:Citizenship (2)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | about 2 years ago | (#39517461)

Which isn't a topic that interviewers are forbidden to ask about. Just so long as they ask everyone "Are you a US Citizen?" they're in the clear. Someone from a different ethnic background or originally from another country can be a citizen just the same as a natural born US Citizen.

Re:Citizenship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517513)

How about terminating an interview for being a naturalised sitizen from Europe or asking for a social security number

Re:Citizenship (4, Interesting)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#39517725)

How about terminating an interview for being a naturalised sitizen from Europe or asking for a social security number

The first type of question is illegal beyond belief (the Feds and or State would love to drag said interviewer to a federal/state court.) As long as you can work legally in the states (independently of the nature of your citizenship or legal residence/immigration status), an employer cannot terminate the interview just because you are from Europe (or a naturalized citizen with Europe as the region of origin.)

The second one, it depends. If the employer asks for your social security as part of your job application and you refuse, they can (and should) stop the interview. After all, if you are a citizen (naturalized or otherwise), you will have a ssn. And your employer needs your ssn to employ you, pay you and deduct your taxes, for verification, etc. You can refuse giving it, but then the employer should reject you (I would.) And if you don't have one, it would call your naturalization (and your entire immigration status/history) into question.

Re:Citizenship (0)

lanner (107308) | about 2 years ago | (#39517575)

I like how when you saw the word "illegal" you put "immigrant" behind it. It's not the subject at hand and has nothing to do with the discussion.

Re:Citizenship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517585)

If there's a bone fide job requirement it's probably a legitimate question. Though they should present the requirements of the job as a unified set and ask for a simple yes/no response to "if hired, could you meet these requirements", rather than asking about each requirement specifically. And even with genuine requirements it's easy to get into trouble if you don't ask all applicants the same questions -- you absolutely can't ask about citizenship based on someone's appearance or name or the like, even if it is a real requirement.

Re:Citizenship (5, Informative)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#39517673)

I work for DoD indirectly (not a defense contractor) and my emplyoer cannot hire non-US citizens, so there are exceptions to that rule.

I work with a DoD contractor, and to be honest, that which you describe is not an exception to the rule. Requiring US citizenship is not the same as asking for one's country of origin, for example. You can have India or Guatemala as the country of origin, and a gig requiring US citizenship can only ask you to prove your citizenship (via a US passport, voter's registration, birth or naturalization certificate.)

The DoD background check that follows for a sec. clearance (either after getting hired, or as a pre-requisite to allow your employer to hire you), that process and that entity can dig around those questions, to determine if you are a risk. But that's a process distinct from employment. For employment alone, no one, and I mean no one can legally ask for such questions during an employment interview.

Maybe for some black-ops shit that is beyond the comprehension of us mere pedestrian schmucks, but that is highly speculative to begin with.

Re:Citizenship (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#39517753)

No one can hire illegals, so its a valid question to ask *any* applicant.

"Are you legally allowed to work in the US, and do you have proof"

Discrimination (5, Insightful)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | about 2 years ago | (#39517355)

Why is Slashdot STILL posting "articles" with 15 pages containing two or three sentences per page?

Even then, the link is to the last page. Here's a slightly better page [uwec.edu].

Anyway, on-topic, do you really want to work for a company that requires you to know your legal status prior to a job interview? Discrimination is disgusting, and as much as it may hurt, you're better off being knocked back for the job than having it present 40 hours a week.

People need to feed their families, but degrading one's self respect by accepting work where it happens is only inviting more trouble.

Re:Discrimination (1)

pauldmartin (2005952) | about 2 years ago | (#39517417)

Being in computer security, maybe...it really depends on the job. In some cases this might be a legitimate question (government contracting work for example). If I were looking for a random programming job then no, that would be disgusting. It also helps that job prospects in this field are good and that I can afford to be picky. The real tragedy is that people that are presented with this type of discrimination during job interviews and who may happen to need jobs the most are the in the worst position for bringing these offenses to light since they can't afford to back out of an interview for such reasons if they aren't being actively discriminated against.

Re:Discrimination (1)

ethan0 (746390) | about 2 years ago | (#39517507)

thanks for that link.

I have seen on other articles a tag like "15pagesofads", which I'd suggest here

Re:Discrimination (1)

Fear the Clam (230933) | about 2 years ago | (#39517937)

do you really want to work for a company that requires you to know your legal status prior to a job interview?

As someone who has wasted his time interviewing people who seemed fantastic but turned out not to have visa sponsorships (no, my company isn't going to deal with the paperwork), I kind of wished someone has asked that question before the person came to my office. If you can't work here, please don't waste my time.

As someone who's arranged the correct visas and papers to work in foreign countries myself, I'm okay with someone asking me the same exact same question.

As a business owner (5, Insightful)

unassimilatible (225662) | about 2 years ago | (#39517361)

This article is just the sort of government intrusion that makes me never want to hire anyone. Freedom of contract used to mean something in this country. No more. So I'll answer my own phones.

As Peter Schiff has said [slashdot.org], hiring someone in the United States is one of the most expensive and riskiest things a business owner can do.

I'm sure you'll all mod this "-1, I disagree with you," but I am speaking very honestly. Keep throwing taxes and regulations at something, and you'll get less of it. Like jobs.

Re:As a business owner (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517391)

Try hiring someone in Germany. Or better yet, try firing them. No wonder the German economy is doing so poorly compared to the United States.

Re:As a business owner (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 2 years ago | (#39517631)

Is that sarcasm? Last I checked Germany's economy was doing better than the US's. Their debt rating is still AAA, for one.

Re:As a business owner (0)

Gonoff (88518) | about 2 years ago | (#39517665)

I am not sure whether that was meant to satire or not but you will have little success with it here. Most of the people here are from the USA and I don't think they understand that sort of thing.

I agree with you though. It is quite curious that "the land of the free" has less freedom left than us scaey socialist Europeans and, apart from its' mega-finance, has less of an economy too..

On the possibility you were actually serious, don't worry. Perhaps I wasn't.

Say what????? (5, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#39517899)

Try hiring someone in Germany. Or better yet, try firing them. No wonder the German economy is doing so poorly compared to the United States.

What? Germany's growth is at 2.9% Unemployment is at 5.9% Youth ( Now, we in the US have the following: 8.3% unemployment rate. As of July 2011, the youth unemployment rate was 18%. The debt % of its GPD is at 103.3%

Where the US leads Germany is in GDP per capita (Germany: $37,935. US: $48,147) and in America's post-HS education (in particular with grad-level education) and R&D. Where the US and Germany seem to meet is the rising level of incoming inequality.

But considering all other indicators (growth, unemployment debt/GDP ratios), your comment is completely off the mark. As an American, I wish we had those numbers.

Re:As a business owner (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517427)

I agree - bring back slavery.

Fuckin guberment!

Re:As a business owner (5, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#39517455)

Yes because the thing you need to know about someone is if they're a homosexual Muslim from Norway to do a job.

Please.

Re:As a business owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517499)

One thing is certain, we wouldn't offer him a job in Norway. (because he wouldn't be able to speak proper norwegian, since he would be an immigrant).

Re:As a business owner (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#39517933)

One thing is certain, we wouldn't offer him a job in Norway. (because he wouldn't be able to speak proper norwegian, since he would be an immigrant).

Which kinda shows you the kind of country you have.

Re:As a business owner (3, Insightful)

TranquilVoid (2444228) | about 2 years ago | (#39517573)

Yes, strictly you don't, but the smaller the company the more important it is to get someone who fits the office culture, and religous, poltical and even sexual orientation can have a massive impact. Nevertheless, most governments have said, mostly rightly in my opinion, that an office culture that cannot accomodate these things is inappropriate.

Re:As a business owner (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517667)

Oh gee, I think my BIGOT radar just went off! So you can't work with people who are different than you? Where do you work exactly, the KKK gift shop?

If you don't, you may want to apply. I'm sure if you're white you'll fit right in there.

Re:As a business owner (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517787)

If you hire professional people, they can work with everyone to an acceptable level, regardless if they are different or not.

There are plenty of people in my job that I personally dislike, but work with exceptionally well nonetheless.

Hey, fuck you. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#39517841)

Yes, strictly you don't, but the smaller the company the more important it is to get someone who fits the office culture, and religous, poltical and even sexual orientation can have a massive impact.

You're wrong because most of that should not even come up at the office.

If it is an issue then the owner needs to be informed on the realities of operating in a multi-cultural nation.

Re:As a business owner (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 2 years ago | (#39517763)

No, but if you were running a half-way house for black criminals you might want to know if they were a member of the KKK
If you were running an abortion clinic, you might want to know if they were a member of a radical church
etc

Re:As a business owner (1)

hantms (2527172) | about 2 years ago | (#39517853)

When I interview someone the topic of family status or any of the other no-no's may come up (if/where applicable). The whole point of an interview is getting to know someone beyond the basics that are already right in front of you on a resume. Not being allowed to do so (if enforceable, which fortunately it isn't) would seriously hurt US competitiveness. Otherwise you end up doing a 'lucky draw' out of a bin of resumes that match basic requirements. Wheel of Fortune HR..

Re:As a business owner (5, Insightful)

Sebastopol (189276) | about 2 years ago | (#39517463)

"I'm sure you'll all mod this "-1, I disagree with you," but I am speaking very honestly. Keep throwing taxes and regulations at something, and you'll get less of it. Like jobs."

There is so much fail in that logic, it boggles the mind. Regulation and taxes have been increasing for a 100+ years and the economy has boomed exponentially. Granted, most of the boom in the 2000's was due to UNREGULATED BANKERS, but your statement is almost 100% ignorant of history.

Re:As a business owner (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517495)

Ah, but was that because of or in spite of?

Re:As a business owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517645)

That's because there were choices in the marketplace. There's so much consolidation going on these days, and that, coupled with regulations that make it hard for companies to gain a foothold easily (I'm speaking of banks), is why there is so much concentration of wealth. If there were more competition, wealth would be better distributed among competitors.

Fine, don't believe me (-1, Troll)

unassimilatible (225662) | about 2 years ago | (#39517873)

I'm a business owner. Are you? You can refuse to believe how I and other business owners feel, but it really is a disincentive to hire when the government puts up obstacles. I'm telling you this is how I feel and act in the real world. You are now free to go back to your fantasy world.

Re:Fine, don't believe me (4, Insightful)

JosephTX (2521572) | about 2 years ago | (#39517929)

So what, you'd refuse to hire a worker to increase output when the demand's there, just because the government's being mean to you by protecting the person's civil rights?

Re:Fine, don't believe me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517949)

I'm telling you this is how I feel and act in the real world.

Dude, that's not the "real world," that's the world as perceived by you "and other business owners." Which is, of course, just as valid as any other view point, but not more so.

Re:As a business owner (5, Insightful)

Sprouticus (1503545) | about 2 years ago | (#39517473)

It is a shame that these laws have to be in place. It is a shame that people were so vile and disgusting that they decided to discriminate based upon age or marital status or a host of other reasons. But they did, so now YOU have to deal with is. Suck it up and deal. Dont get mad at the government, get mad at the morons who decided to abuse their power as employer.

The thing about people like you that shocks me no matter how many times I see them post is that you don't seem to realize that most of these regulations were created for a REASON. People don't (usually) make laws in a vacuum. I would be more than happy to discuss how we can regulate BETTER and SMARTER, but to imply that regulations are evil in and of themselves is to ignore the entire first 150 years of the industrial revolution.

Re:As a business owner (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517489)

So what's your solution to the Facebook password problem? Allow employers to investigate every detail of every applicant until they find something wrong with them? If you let that happen, then employers would be more invasive to minorities and people they don't want to hire (based on race) to the point that they found a reason - any reason - that the applicant shouldn't be hired.

As an employee, there are certain privacy lines that should not be crossed by my employer. If I post pictures of my wild parties during the workweek and let the public see them on my facebook page that's my own fault (and if the employer wants to go looking for/at those photos they are more than welcome to), but why should my privacy be intimately invaded in pursuit of a job?

Furthermore, you could have employers that dig deep and hard enough to find all sorts of blackmail material and then blackmail their employees to work long hours for low wages and never leave or complain.

The balance of power in a potential employer/potential employee situation is heavily tilted in the potential employers favor because presumably the potential employee either needs the job or wants it bad enough to switch away from their current job. And that unbalanced power has to be rebalanced by the law because there are asshole employers out there that would love to screw over their employees.

I understand that hiring people is a risky venture, but unfortunately that's part of the risk you take on when you decide to hire somebody - that you might have to fire them (and pay unemployment) if they don't work out. They take on the risk that they may not work out, but it is much less of a risk for them because they do not have to pay unemployment compensation, they get unemployment compensation.

There really isn't much that can be done about this situation without upsetting the applecart one way or another.

Re:As a business owner (1)

Gonoff (88518) | about 2 years ago | (#39517743)

My solution is to first try and assume that this was a test of my attitude towards IT security, I point out that as someone who has worked in IT for a long time, I am well aware that sharing passwords is a bad thing and doubtless against their IT policies as well.

If that does not work, I offer to log in for them.

If that fails, I let them see what is there and then change the password if that won't get me into trouble.

My final solution is to unfriend everyone and let the account wither. Perhaps I will start a new account and perhaps not. Google Plus is more interesting anyway.

Re:As a business owner (0, Flamebait)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#39517523)

It's your own damn fault. If business owners had policed themselves rather than playing out their god fantasies, we wouldn't need regulation. But go ahead... keep sending jobs overseas. Just remember to send your own as well, because believe me, you robber barons won't want to be caught in this country once you're done looting. It'll get ugly.

Re:As a business owner (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | about 2 years ago | (#39517527)

Ahem! As a business owner too, I'm glad there are regulations in place to level the playing field for everyone. If not being legally allowed to discriminate based on irrelevant information causes your business to suffer, you were doing it wrong in the first place, and I'm quite happy to replace you in the market. I work with people on 5 continents, and all are at the top of their game. If you base your staffing decisions on whoever seems "whitest" or worships the same imaginary friend in the sky, you are severely limiting your ability to compete in the global market.

Hiring is expensive because it is a serious relationship that must not be taken lightly. If it were any cheaper, there would be absolutely no job security because bosses like you could hire and fire people on a whim. Do you really expect an employee to perform well if they're under constant threat of losing their job ? You need to look beyond the tip of your nose and realize you need them as much as they need you.

Re:As a business owner (3, Informative)

Kat M. (2602097) | about 2 years ago | (#39517541)

Actually, I'd argue it is more expensive in most other countries (not counting those that allow child labor and sweatshops).

The problem is that employees are human beings, not pieces of furniture that don't have any needs. They need a place to live, they need food, they need healthcare, and often not just for themselves but for their spouse and children, too (for many people it's not even possible anymore to support a family on a single income). That doesn't come cheap if you don't enjoy living at the poverty level.

That is unfortunate, but unless you enjoy living in a society with an across-the-board lower standard of living (which will also affect you, because it drags the GDP down, increases crime rate, and so forth), it's pretty much unavoidable.

That doesn't mean that you have a duty to hire people. Trust me, I understand that it can be difficult to make ends meet as a small business. But you have to recognize that you can't both have your cake and eat it, too. If all employees suddenly were paid 20% less across the board, then you'd eventually see a drop in sales, too. Someone has to buy your products or services.

Re:As a business owner (5, Insightful)

JosephTX (2521572) | about 2 years ago | (#39517553)

I don't see how "sexual orientation" or "marital status" are important questions. Then again, I'm one of those crazy people who don't see how "what's your facebook password?" is a relevant question either. Being told you can't discriminate based on private details must be a horrible intrusion on your freedoms. Also, what Schiff failed to mention is that the US is ranked #4 in the world in ease of doing business (after Singapore, Hong Kong, and New Zealand) according to the World Bank. I can't imagine why, what with our unique tax system that lets multi-billion-dollar companies pay a smaller percentage in taxes than their bottom-line employees, or our largely ineffective regulatory agencies which are constantly being neutered by Congress.

As a frequent interviewer and manager ... (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39517595)

I don't mind any of the regulations discussed in the article.

I keep my interview questions focused entirely on whether the person will do a good job. That's what I really care about, not whether the person has a wife and kids, whether they're Irish or Turkish or Chinese, or what religion they are. I'm hiring the person to code, or answer phones, or clean the bathroom, not choosing them to be my best buddy. I like many of my coworkers and subordinates and bosses personally, but when it comes down to it it's a business relationship, not a personal relationship, and I have no problem hiring somebody I personally dislike if they're going to be profitable for the company to hire.

Here's the difference in questions between a legal interview and an illegal interview. Ok:
"I see you've worked in C++ on a variety of platforms. Did you ever use Qt, and if so what did you think its good and bad points were?"
"This job involves moving boxes weighing about 50 pounds to upper shelves. Would you be able to do that?" (obviously, only if that is what the job involves)
"This job requires that you work on Sunday mornings. Will that work for you?" (again, only if you actually need them to work on Sunday mornings)
"What's your approach to prioritizing tasks when multiple people come by with urgent requests?"
"Are you legally allowed to work in the United States?"

Not OK:
"Do you like hip-hop?" (noticing the candidate is black, for a position not in the music industry)
"How many kids do you have?"
"Are you married?"
"Could I get a recommendation from your pastor?" (unless you're hiring for a religious institution)
"Are you currently on any medications?"

Notice that the first set is all about the economic transaction - I'm considering hiring you to do XYZ, I need to make sure you can do XYZ. The second set is all about things that have nothing to do with whether they can do XYZ.

I agree totally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517619)

Freedom of contract used to mean something in this country. No more. So I'll answer my own phones.

Then you won't have a problem with posting your name and your business' name so I can black list it because I just don't like you.

Freedom of contract and all that.

Re:As a business owner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517689)

Fail, dude. Just fail. Ever hire in Europe? There is a lot more red tape to go through. Europeans have mandatory vacation time, and they will take it. Overtime pay goes up exponentially. And they actually enforce this as opposed to burying it in some court docket. Firing is worse. Don't forget that you have to pay a lot more taxes (think 60% VAT for starters.)

Stop disparaging the US until you get a clue.

Re:As a business owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517837)

This article is just the sort of government intrusion that makes me never want to hire anyone. Freedom of contract used to mean something in this country. No more. So I'll answer my own phones.

As Peter Schiff has said [slashdot.org], hiring someone in the United States is one of the most expensive and riskiest things a business owner can do.

I'm sure you'll all mod this "-1, I disagree with you," but I am speaking very honestly. Keep throwing taxes and regulations at something, and you'll get less of it. Like jobs.

If you don't like government so much, then please move to someplace that doesn't have one - say Somalia. Leave the rest of us to try to work together.

Ah, the "libertarian = anarchist" canard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517925)

Limited government, douchebag, not no government.

Now get back in your cubicle and STFU. Of better yet, how about you go to some socialist country, and leeave the productive class alone?

Re:As a business owner (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#39517919)

This article is just the sort of government intrusion that makes me never want to hire anyone. Freedom of contract used to mean something in this country. No more. So I'll answer my own phones.

Yeah, because one should have the right to ask (and reject) prospective employees in terms of country, race, gender, marital status, and all that shit. I get you.

Depends (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517369)

If you are desperate for the job, answer away.

If you are not, answer only those you are comfortable with at the risk of not getting the job. Depending on the question and situation, you may attempt to side step the question which probably will not work in more strict interviews. If you do encounter such a interview and do not get the job, report illegal interview question to your responsible government body and be glad you didn't get hired by a company that blatantly does not respect it's employees.

About that facebook thing... (4, Informative)

Catiline (186878) | about 2 years ago | (#39517399)

When the article about the Facebook checking company appeared, I determined in advance what I would say to any prospective employer asking me to grant them access to Facebook:

"Ahem. I do not have any public social networking accounts. If I did, I regret what you are asking would violate their terms of service, and I would have to respond in the negative."

That would be literal, even down to cleanly enunciating the word "ahem", and even if I had been recruited via a social networking contact. I'd probably try to make it sound stilted, or look at my cupped hand like I was reading from a cue card, to make it painfully clear this is a prepared response.

Re:About that facebook thing... (2)

guspasho (941623) | about 2 years ago | (#39517681)

Furthermore, it's almost certain the prospective employer wants you to agree to certain terms of employment, particularly secrecy if you work in any sort of computer industry these days. If you violated your Facebook terms of use for them, why should they trust you not to violate their terms for someone else?

That was going to be part of my response if I was ever in that situation.

Re:About that facebook thing... (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#39517751)

How about, "Excuse me, but if I did that, we could both be prosecuted for a felony under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, so I'm afraid I cannot comply with that request."

Inform them of the risk they're taking. (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#39517963)

Asking for your Facebook password is practically the same as asking forbidden interview questions.

What happens when the HR person looks at your page and sees that you're participating in the setup of inter-racial gay Jewish recognition events?

Do they really want the risk of having to defend themselves in court against charges of discrimination when you are not hired?

There is a reason that they avoid certain questions. Those questions can land them in court. Demanding access to your personal life can be the same as asking those questions. With the same results.

New Managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517401)

You should also exercise common sense. New managers may not remember the "forgidden" questions, etc, and may ask out of ignorance and/or attempt to make the interviewee feel at ease (like asking about kids ages,etc). So we should automatically think discrimination, etc. And from my HR training, this is what the labor board looks for as well. THey will make judgement calls and not always side with the applicant.

Lie (0)

multiben (1916126) | about 2 years ago | (#39517403)

Lie and tell them what they want to hear. If they ever discover the truth you have one up on them anyway since they shouldn't have asked you in the first place. But personally I would reconsider working for a place that wanted to know these things. It does not bode well.

Re:Lie (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517611)

Also record the interview without them knowing. That way if they decide to fire you for lying and then lie about why they fired you, you can post the recording online.

Re:Lie (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#39517801)

There are quite a few places that would be illegal. And several industries where, if the potential employer found out about it afterwards, they could have legitimate cause to sue you.

Submission comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517413)

Fyi: you really want to check out the one comment that was left on the submission.

I've had worse questions... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517445)

The questions posted are stuff an interview gets anyway, because every job application has a form to fill asking for race, religion, etc. It supposedly is optional, but in reality, if an applicant bins that form, their resume gets binned.

I've been asked on interviews worse questions:

"How many piercings or tattoos do you have?" Apparently, any is grounds for termination at some places.

"How fast can you get to work from your place at both wee hours of the morning as well as rush hour?" The place graded people on a tier system -- people who were lower tiers were people who were not in the center of town or had to commute through a main, overcrowded highway.

"What kind of car do you drive?" I've had two places where they considered the choice of vehicle as part of the hiring process. One place viewed anyone driving anything but a hybrid subcompact as contemptible, and anathema to their "green" image. Another place viewed anything but European sedans as "too pedestrian for our parking lot." I even overheard the interviewer saying, "hire the BMW guy, beemer drivers have organizational skills."

"Do you pack?" Having a concealed carry will help you get a job at some places because it means that you already went through some criminal screening.

The best one was a question/statement: "Do you have a CISSP or a TS/SCI clearance? If not, GTFO. We don't hire garbage who can't prove themselves."

Re:I've had worse questions... (1, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#39517581)

"How many piercings or tattoos do you have?" Apparently, any is grounds for termination at some places.

Well, I have some friends who work for Starbucks, and apparently corporate policy is not to have visible tattoos. None of them seem to pay attention to it. I can see it being important in a customer-facing role, wanting to present a clean-cut image, but if you're never face to face with customers, then who cares?

"How fast can you get to work from your place at both wee hours of the morning as well as rush hour?" The place graded people on a tier system -- people who were lower tiers were people who were not in the center of town or had to commute through a main, overcrowded highway.

That's just asinine. If it takes me an hour to get to work in the morning, then I leave an hour early. Not hiring me because of that is silly.

"What kind of car do you drive?" I've had two places where they considered the choice of vehicle as part of the hiring process. One place viewed anyone driving anything but a hybrid subcompact as contemptible, and anathema to their "green" image. Another place viewed anything but European sedans as "too pedestrian for our parking lot." I even overheard the interviewer saying, "hire the BMW guy, beemer drivers have organizational skills."

Impressive. My understanding was always that BMW drivers were assholes, on the whole. Especially if it's a black 5-series.

"Do you pack?" Having a concealed carry will help you get a job at some places because it means that you already went through some criminal screening.

See, personally, I would deliberately not hire somebody who carries a concealed weapon. There's a chance they may bring it to work, and that is a bad thing.

The best one was a question/statement: "Do you have a CISSP or a TS/SCI clearance? If not, GTFO. We don't hire garbage who can't prove themselves."

Not sure how things work in the states, but around here, a company needs to put you forward for a TS clearance. You can't just get one as an individual. Sounds more to me like they're cheap, and don't want to pay for you to get the clearance when they can get somebody else to pay for it instead. It costs money and time for them to have you do the paperwork and submit it.

Re:I've had worse questions... (1)

mortonda (5175) | about 2 years ago | (#39517965)

"Do you pack?" Having a concealed carry will help you get a job at some places because it means that you already went through some criminal screening.

See, personally, I would deliberately not hire somebody who carries a concealed weapon. There's a chance they may bring it to work, and that is a bad thing.

To each his own, I might be more likely to hire, so we could go to the range together...

Re:I've had worse questions... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#39517813)

"Do you pack?" Having a concealed carry will help you get a job at some places because it means that you already went through some criminal screening.

Is it bad that I want to ask you who asked that question because I now want to work there? :)

Full article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517465)

Here's the full article, just because it was split up over 15 pages. 15 pages.

During a recent poll on interviews, we received an alarming number of reports from people who had been asked highly inappropriate questions during an interview. We decided to take this opportunity to review questionable interview topics.
This slideshow, however, is not comprehensive, nor is it a replacement for a legal consultation. At the end of this slideshow we will provide you with important contact information to use if you feel you have been discriminated against.

Topic: Race
15.0% of readers had been asked about this
20.7% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal
Details: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal make hiring decisions based on race or perceptions of race.
However, this law only applies to companies with 15 or more employees.

Topic: Gender
14.6% of readers had been asked about this
29.0% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal
Details: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also made it illegal make hiring decisions based on gender.
Again, this law only applies to companies with 15 or more employees.

Topic: Religion
13.7% of readers had been asked about this 9.8% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal
Details: An employer may not ask you about your religious beliefs, what holidays you celebrate, or what religious institution you belong to.
However, this law only applies to companies with 15 or more employees, and religious institutions are exempt.

Topic: Marital Status
53.9% of readers had been asked about this
18.3% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal (in some states)
Details: In 20 U.S. states, an employer may not ask you if you are married, widowed, divorced, intend to be married, are in a committed relationship or how many times you have been married. They may not make decisions based on your marital status or their perception of your marital status.

Topic: Family Status
49.2% of readers had been asked about this
22.3% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal
Details: Employers may not ask you about your family or plans for your family. They may not ask about the number or age of your children. They may not ask if you intend to have children. And they may not ask about the living arrangements of your children. It is even illegal for employers to refuse to hire a visibly pregnant woman based on her pregnancy.
However, this law only applies to companies with 15 or more employees.

Topic: Age
36.3% of readers had been asked about this
41.7% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal (in some cases)
Details: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination against potential employees over the age of 40.
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prevents agencies receiving federal funding from discriminating against potential employees on the basis of age - for all age groups.
It is also important to note that minors have certain restrictions on the types of work, work times and number of hours per week they are allowed to work. This may cause them to be excluded from certain types of employment.

Topic: Physical Disabilities
22.8% of readers had been asked about this
8.9% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal (with exceptions)
Details: A company may not discriminate against a qualified person based on certain physical disabilities. An employer may require a physical examination of an employee but only after making a job offer and only if all employees are subject to the same examination.
However, this may not apply to companies with fewer than 15 employees.

Topic: Ethnic Background
18.4% of readers had been asked about this
16.1% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal
Details: Asking questions about a person’s ethnic background or ancestry is another violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Again, this act only applies to companies with 15 or more employees.

Topic: Country of Origin
19.6% of readers had been asked about this
7.5% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal
Details: It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a potential employee based upon U.S. citizenship status or a person’s country of origin.
However, it is legal and required to ask all potential employees if they are authorized to work in the United States. Also, this rule only applies to companies with 15 or more employees.

Topic: Sexual Orientation
3.0% of readers had been asked about this
4.1% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Illegal (in most states)
Details: A proposed bill called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is currently before congress and if passed, it would make discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal at the federal level.
Currently 25 states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect against potential employers discriminating against potential employees on the basis of sexual orientation.
However, in five of those states the laws only apply to employers with public workplaces.

Topic: Military Service
31.3% of readers had been asked about this
6.4% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Borderline
Details: The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of current or past military service. An employer can ask you about military experience as an example of former employment, but should not ask how you were discharged or if your current military service will interfere with your ability to do your job.
However, if you are applying for a job with the federal government, you may be asked about your military service because the Veterans' Employment Opportunities Acts (VEOA) of 1998 and 1944 entitle veterans to receive preference when applying for federal jobs.

Topic: Membership in a Club or Organization
15.0% of readers had been asked about this
20.7% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Legal (but dangerous)
Details: It is perfectly legal to ask about organizations that are relevant to the job, such as trade organizations.
However, employers should not ask about organizations that would reveal information that might be protected such as age, ethnicity, sexual preference or religion.

Topic: Height or Weight
10.1% of readers had been asked about this
18.8% felt discriminated against on this topic
Topic is: Legal (with exceptions)
Details: While it is not specifically illegal to discriminate against a person based on height and weight, it is illegal to do so if the same restrictions are not applied to all employees in the same way or are used to hide another type of discrimination.
For example, the cases of Gerdom v. Continental Airlines Inc. and Independent Union of Flight Attendants v. Pan American World Airways, Inc. established that having different weight requirements for Males and Females was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Here are a few resources that may be helpful to you if you feel you have been discriminated against in an interview. Race, Gender, Religion, Ethnicity, Age, Disability, Country of Origin, Marital Status, Family Status The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Phone: 1-800-669-4000 Email: info@eeoc.gov

Military Service
U.S. Department of Labor
Online Form: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/userra/ee_disc2.asp [dol.gov]

Phone: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
Sexual Preference
Please find the information for your state on this list http://www.eeocoffice.com/ [eeocoffice.com]

15 pages!!!

WAS ASKED IF I HAD ANY TATOOS !! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517501)

I answered, yes !! She said, let me see !! I said, no way !! She said, way !! I pulled it out !! I was asked to leave !! This was an insurance company !!

This actually happened to me (4, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 2 years ago | (#39517515)

I was asked my nationality in an interview once. I clarified the question with the interviewer, then told him I felt it was inappropriate and not relevant. He insisted, so I thanked him for his time, got up and left.

I don't want to work for a company where such things are pressing enough for the interviewer to feel like he needs to address it.

Re:This actually happened to me (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39517687)

See, that's too nice a response. Now, I'll grant you that I've never had to face these kinds of questions, because I'm a fairly young straight white guy who can look reasonably square and business-y when I need to, but I do know people who have, and this is my advice to them.

The correct answer to that question is "So you are aware, that question is illegal under current US employment law." You can then choose whether you want to take a hard line, and follow it up with either "Even though you can't use it in your hiring decisions, I'm mostly of _____ ancestry." or "If you absolutely insist on knowing this information, I see no reason to continue this interview, and will report you to the EEOC."

Re:This actually happened to me (4, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 2 years ago | (#39517805)

Well, when I established that a) I had heard the question correctly and b) they wanted to know even though I mentioned it was inappropriate and irrelevant, I determined that I didn't want to work for the place. Threatening wouldn't have accomplished anything in my favor, so I classified that as a pointless option.

I could have reported them, I suppose. And probably should have. I just didn't feel it was overly critical; if that's how they want to run their business ( from the looks of it, straight in to the ground ), that's their choice. I ended up finding a smaller employer where my benefits package is far more substantial, so everything worked out in my favor. :)

Re:This actually happened to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517877)

and will report you to the EEOC.

Be careful with that last one:

If the next sentence out of your mouth has anything to do with "overlooking the question in exchange for a position" You're committing a crime yourself.

Re:This actually happened to me (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 2 years ago | (#39517703)

I understand why certain things are and should be verboten, but why nationality?

Re:This actually happened to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517851)

Because people will say things like "I don't want any micks working here"

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mick

Re:This actually happened to me (3, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#39517879)

Because it has been the basis for discrimination. Simple answer.

I was passed over for a job because I'm white and English - the company was run by a heirarchy of mostly Muslim men who clearly didn't like the idea of hiring an ICT manager who was not in their club. I sued out of principle, and won (because I covertly recorded the interview, transcribed it and handed the transcription in with my claim, it was open and shut). That company continues to not operate since I demanded and got their client accounts seized by the court. I wasn't interested in the job or the money anymore, what I wanted I got - them stopped from doing business in the UK since they couldn't play by the rules.

I use my preception but don't ask out loud. (-1, Flamebait)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#39517517)

Duh.

I also use a particular trick to get any Brahman (top Indian cast, I might have spelled it wrong) to reveal themselves.

In discussion I mention my family, proudly asserting my uppercrustyness. This is unpassable bait to brahmen. They brag on how important their family is back in India, how much land they own etc. I then do everything in my power to make sure they are not hired. I have _never_ met a brahmen that actually did any work.

Re:I use my preception but don't ask out loud. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517901)

Maybe if you gave them a job you'd see one do some work.

Find a lawyer who will take the case and sue them (1)

MicroSlut (2478760) | about 2 years ago | (#39517565)

I set my phone to record audio when I am at an interview. I have not caught anything worth a lawsuit yet, but they say all sorts of crazy illegal shit. Someday I'll have the balls to set it for video and place it on the table pointing at them. I get cocky at interviews considering I already have a great job so it is more like I am interviewing them.

Online applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517567)

With online job applications being the norm and just about everyone demanding that in order to submit an application you MUST fill in DOB, SSN, Name, address, etc ... information that cannot be asked legally or it gives easy access to find out the answers to illegal question, I find the list rather quaint.

Yeah right, there's no discrimination.

i still haven't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517609)

seen a list of companies asking for FB passwords

Turning the tables (5, Interesting)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about 2 years ago | (#39517633)

Once, in an interview, I went through a marathon process of several managers and supervisors.

My last interview was with Ana (...sigh...) - quite possibly the hottest woman I've ever known - if not ever seen. The interview went normally (for me - blatant truth has always been the best course of action for me) - and when it was apparently over I was asked "Do you have any questions for me?"

Perhaps that was the wrong question to ask a person who had only recently got over the agony that is divorce. I answered with the most pressing question on my mind - "Would you like to go out to dinner?"

Unfortunately, she wasn't wearing her wedding ring that day, or I wouldn't have asked (really, that's just tacky). After a very hot blush, she explained her marital status and I became a little embarrassed. She said she was flattered...

That job was great for a little over a year until the company moved to Korea and I moved to Texas. Ana's assistant Christina was quite possibly the second hottest women I've ever known - or seen. The scenery was incredible!

Die, Trayvon, Die ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517659)

Dat nigga be dead.

Would depend on the situation (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#39517691)

Partially just based on my judgement. If it just seemed like the interviewer was bantering and being interested it wouldn't bother me, particularly if it was just one thing. Einmal ist keinmal and all that, everyone slips up.

If I felt like they were on a discrimination tract it would probably depend on my situation. Feeding myself comes before standing up for ideology but I'd certainly be looking for a new job immediately if I felt there was a culture of discrimination there. If I didn't need the job it would depend on the company. If it is a big place with an HR department I'd take it to them, regardless of it I got the job or not because it was probably an interviewer who went off the rails and they'd need to know to correct it. If it was a smaller place I might politely remind the guy it was off limits, and then my further reaction would be based on what he did.

Tactfully decline to answer the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517697)

Respectfully decline to answer. Do not go on the defensive, and do not call the employer out on the illegal question. Most interviewers who have not had formal training aren't too familiar with the fine line between good and bad questions and may skirt it now and then. Ask them to repeat or rephrase the question to make sure they're actually asking something illegal, and then ask how the question relates to your ability to perform the job. If the person keeps pushing for an answer to an illegal question, stand your ground while remaining honest and professional.

If they're that pushy about something so illegal, then perhaps you really don't want to work with someone like that. After you've concluded the interview in a respectful and professional manner, contact the HR department and file a complaint. They'll be very interested to hear what you have to say, because that manager's style of interviewing opens the company up to all sorts of lawsuits.

My source: Multiple collegiate courses covering professional communication and interviewing

Normal Answer: (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#39517733)

"That is not an acceptable question to ask me, thank you for your time", then I walk.

Even if i "needed" the job, i wouldn't be able to work there.

Illegal? (4, Interesting)

BlameCanada (176521) | about 2 years ago | (#39517799)

The article is pure bunk - none of these questions are illegal. Discrimination based on on answers to these questions is illegal, but not asking them.

As an interviewer, these are questions which should never be asked, because they leave you open to an accusation of discrimination. That doesn't make them illegal.

Comprehensive discussion and advice on the topic: http://www.manager-tools.com/2011/06/answering-illegal-interview-questions-part-1

Re:Illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517887)

The difference between "will get you a lawsuit because there's no reason to ask them except to illegally discriminate" and "will get you a lawsuit because they're illegal to ask" is surprisingly slim.

Family background questioning (3, Informative)

lanner (107308) | about 2 years ago | (#39517811)

Let's name some names here. I don't have any particular beef with this company or individual. It's just what came to mind when the question came up.

Back in 2006 or so, I was looking for a new job and pegged an interview with a company called 41st Parameter. They were an financial anti-fraud company. Kind of like credit card fraud detection sort of stuff.

I had an interview with Ori Eisen, their founder. He didn't seem too terribly interested in my job-related abilities so much as my background and personal family situation. He asked about my marital status, parents, current family situation, where I had lived previously, personal life stuff. He focused in on ethnicity and all kinds of shit you just don't do. He went there. I seem to remember that he might of been Israeli and asked me something about my ethnicity related to that, but I don't recall exactly. I just remember that he basically was not interested in my technical abilities and just wanted to know about my family background and personal details.

In summary the guy when into HR no-no territory.

I obliged the man on some questions where I just didn't mind, but I refused to answer other questions. That seemed to piss him off. He was a very forceful and fast-paced guy. He wanted to know all about me but wasn't willing to answer any of my very basic questions about the company.

After that first interview, I wasn't interested in the job and I ended up working somewhere else soon after.

I can't say that I had another interview where I had been asked such inappropriate and career-irrelevant questions.

I don't understand (1)

twistofsin (718250) | about 2 years ago | (#39517905)

I don't understand why so many of these questions are illegal if they are allowed to put them on a job application.

I mean, you can't ask my age? But you requested my date of birth on my application.

My address? Ditto.

Criminal history? Yeah that was there to. A long with a statement that says if I lied you can fire me on the spot.

Education? See my application.

Race .. well, it's not on the app but it's on the questionnaire the gov't provides you to hand to me. Am I supposed to believe they don't look at it?

No problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517909)

I don't go to a job interview looking to educate the interviewer about labor law any more than I approach my daily work that way. Whether the questions are illegal or not bothers me not a whit - I'm there to make a deal. I'm more worried about if they're ethical, upright citizens and fun to be around than the fine details of the law. If they ask something I don't want to answer then I don't answer but I still try to be easy to get along with. If they start coming off as skeezy or discriminatory I'm not going to work for them unless I must - but I'm no workplace lawyer and I don't play one on TV.

Seriously, the law has become so complex nobody can keep up with the fine hairs the lawyers split anyway. It's like they make their living finding ways to sue people. I don't need that in my life and I don't need people like that in my life either.

You think those are bad? (2)

javascriptjunkie (2591449) | about 2 years ago | (#39517913)

I've had interviews where I'm asked all of those questions, and then some. I've been propositioned on interviews. Asked to give up bodily fluids and hair. I've had interviewers slander me for no good reason. Or worst of all of them, I can't tell you how many times I've showed up for an interview and the person who I was supposed to talk to was "too busy." Or simply not there. Hasn't been so bad over the last ten years or so, but during the .com boom, it really made me feel unimportant. Once, I was sent to an abandoned warehouse in San Francisco, where I met a crazy Indian woman who wanted me to work for "equity only." Once, in Indiana, I was sent to an address that didn't even exist.

On the other hand, I've also had some pretty decent interviews, and I like to think that when I interview people, that my process is fair, legal, and honest.

Religion (4, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#39517917)

I can think of only one time it's ever come up.

I was doing contract work. I was just finishing up one when a headhunter I worked with left a message on my machine. "I think I have a really interesting contract job for you. I have only one question: Are you jewish? Give me a call."

I have to admit--I was intrigued. So I gave him a call.

Turns out that the contract position would require travel to Saudi Arabia. I'm not sure if Saudi Arabia will issue you a visa if you are jewish, making it difficult for a jewish person to complete the obligations of the contract. Since I'm not jewish, it wasn't really an issue for me, so I ended up taking the contract.

Jews that I have told that story to since then have pretty much said, "Yeah, I wouldn't take the contract. Even if they let me into the country, who knows what would happen?"

15 employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517947)

So if a company has less than 15 employees, they CAN discriminate based on race.
That's somewhat disturbing.... :-(

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