Impactful Interviewing:

Responding To Taboo Questions

by Beau Riche

Not all interview questions are acceptable. There are certain topics that should not be brought up and information that a potential employer has no right asking for. Some of these questions are not legal and others while legal may leave you feeling uncomfortable. You do not have to answer certain questions, but how you let the interviewer know this can determine if your application will continue forward.

For more information on questions that should not be asked or that you do not have to answer, contact your local government office that handles labor relations. They can provide these guidelines to you at no charge. If questions are being asked about your private life (and you are uncomfortable answering them), you do not have to. You can mildly tell the interviewer that you plan on devoting the time you spend at work to work and your personal life stays in your personal life. And try to leave it at that. If the interviewer keeps pressing, you will have to decide if the job is worth it to you.

It is your decision to provide the information you do - know your rights beforehand - but you can still decide to answer a question that should not be asked. Keep in mind that if a potential employer wants details about how you spend time outside of work it may be because they expect their employees to put in a lot of extra hours and they are trying to gauge if you have commitments that would prevent you from doing this.

Other questions, such as sexual orientation, past relationships, and other lifestyle choices have no business in an interview setting. If there is a physical aspect to the job and a medical evaluation is necessary, this is typically done by a doctor or other medical professional that will give you clearance. You do not have to provide details to the interviewer.


Beau Riche is a Career Coach and Career Advisor for a company called Career Movement

Career Movement offers a high quality, affordable suite of Career Development products and services for business professionals. These products and services include personalized career coaching, online career training, career assessments and books that help professionals with their resumes, interviewing skills and job search as well as many other career topics.

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