Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lying on the Job Interview


Are you pregnant?
Who provides your childcare?
Will your wife let you travel?
Are you Muslim?
Where were you born?
What did your doctor say during your last physical?
What race are you?

It’s easy to get hypnotized into answering any and all questions on a job interview! After all, that person sitting across the desk has power over your life, and is a gatekeeper to something you really, really want: a job.

Some questions are illegal. Some are loaded.

Today’s link has some internal links to off-site resources that give you some background about what is legally okay for potential employers to ask—and what is not. All the the above questions are illegal, unless an employer can prove that they are directly and immediately related to the job for which you’re being interviewed. (I would presume, for instance, that asking if you’re Muslim would be appropriate if you’re being interviewed for a job as an Imam, the leader and teacher of a religious community—but then, they should already know that before you get to the interview!)

It also has some good strategies for responding honestly and honorably to sticky questions that are not technically illegal, but are designed to probe your personality, your quirks, and your weaknesses.

Here’s a comprehensive, well-organized list of potential questions, along with sample answers: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/Job_Interview_Questions_and_Answers.htm.

Getting back to the totally illegal questions—if an employer is that (a) clueless or (b) vicious about knowing and following the rules on what’s legal and what’s not... do you really want this job? One commenter on the Lifehacker page reports responding “I am not a good fit for this company, good luck with your search.” (I should mention that I’ve had to do this once or twice myself. Not pleasant, but definitely more pleasant than getting hired in a hostile environment.)

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