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4 More Questions You Should Never Answer on a Job Interview

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Hannah Keyser of Mental Floss recently explored eight interview questions that job applicants should never answer if an employer asks. Much of the information she provided is covered in Peter K. Studner’s Super Job Search IV: The Complete Manual for Job Seekers & Career Changers.

We discussed the first four questions in our previous post. Here are the last four:

1. What religion are you? Do you observe any religious holidays?

Simply put, religion is off-limits in a job interview. As with every question we’ve talked about so far, some employers will try to broach the subject. Be polite, but decline to answer.

2. Have you ever been arrested?

“It's not illegal to ask if you've ever been convicted of a crime, and many employers do, either on the application or in the interview,” Keyser writes. “But what they can't ask about is your arrest record.”

It’s also fine for employers to research you online. In fact, this is one reason why experts advise job seekers to be careful about what they make publicly available on Facebook and elsewhere.

Also, “[i]f you know they'll be looking into your background,” Keyser advises, “this constitutes a rare instance where an interviewee should volunteer incriminating information.”

3. What country are you from?

Yes, they can ask you if “you’re authorized to work in the country where the job is located,” but “employers can’t dig into where you’re from because nationality discrimination is illegal. Similarly, they can’t ask if English is your first language,” Keyser writes.

4. Do you like to drink socially?

When I first read this, I thought, “Do employers really ask this?”

Apparently, it’s rare for this question to come up in an interview, but according to Keyser, if it does, know that you don’t have to answer the question. This is mainly to protect those who would say they don’t drink at all.

Furthermore, if you’re a recovering alcoholic, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects your right to not reveal this information in a job interview.

Finally, employers can ask “if you’re currently using illegal drugs,” but they can’t ask when you “last used illegal drugs.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, what is the most uncomfortable interview question you’ve ever been asked? Did this question cause you to lose interest in the job itself?

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