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Illegal topics in Interviews

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Illegal topics in Interviews

Post by Aletia on Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:51 pm

Hi guys,

I had an interview with someone that made me a little uncomfortable.... I have a meditation center as a place where I did volunteer work, and the woman asked if I was Buddhist. I said yes, because I am, and I got the feeling she liked that, since she talked about being in Bhutan. However, on further thought it made me feel really uncomfortable, since it is illegal to ask about religion. Now I am regretting saying anything for fear that maybe she wouldn't want to hire me bc of my religion.

Anyway, has anyone ever experienced questions like this? What did you do or what is the best thing to do? Any advice?


Posts : 5
Join date : 2012-10-01

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Re: Illegal topics in Interviews

Post by Sandra5yearsunemployed on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:08 pm

First, I'd ask did this interview happen at the same place where you volunteered? If no, how did the topic come up about the place you volunteered at? Did he/she ask you something like, "So what have you been 'doing' the las abc years?" And you said "I have been volunteering at xyz center for this long".

That kind of question is okay. . .but those kinds of questions can also lead to judgements about people when on interviews. . .it happens probably more than we think. "Oh, she is a church-goer. . . she may not be available to work on Sundays if she volunteered for that place doing xyz for 5 months, may be I shouldn't hire him/her for this position since we are open 7 days a week".

Now, how can one "prove" that the interviewer was thinking that? And that a person didn't get the job due to "being a church goer" (or a buddhist or christian or a vegan or whatever). That'd be hard to prove. But managers want it to be easy to hire you. Don't give them a reason to NOT hire you (unless you don't want the position!!!)

You don't want to them to think this: "Oh so this person volunteered at the local vegan store, she is a vegan and we don't have any refrigerators in our office and we don't have ANY vegan restaurants near here. . .May be I shouldn't hire her!" Sounds silly doesn't it? But a hiring manager is not going to TELL ANYONE that is what they were thinking! They would say cleverly, "We found someone else with more experience and with the exact right amount of education".

In your case, the interviewer may have just been looking for common ground and may be wanting to connect to you on the heart level. I wouldn't worry about it too much, unless the vibes you got during the interview suggested that question was intended to put you down as "DO not hire".

Also, many people do not know all of the laws when it comes to interview questions. I"m sure the man interviewing me with "So your symptoms are all controlled?" was not appropriate on the interview. It's almost like all hiring managers need to take some classes in human resources and laws.


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Join date : 2012-09-10
Age : 41
Location : Perris CA NO WHERE USA

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Re: Illegal topics in Interviews

Post by Guest on Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:20 pm

Aletia, I really like what S5 has offered.

You probably either mentioned your volunteer work or had it on your resume. Interviewers are "real" people. They do take interest in the people they speak with.

A good interview is a good discussion. Perhaps this area should not have been queried but hey, what's the matter with being Buddhist or good Muslim... or good Christian...

Please don't regret this. I don't think it's a decision point in hiring you.

If necessary, in the future you'll know not to trigger this discussion by amending your resume or staying off personal subjects.

I see no problem. Best of luck!



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Re: Illegal topics in Interviews

Post by JadeBlue on Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:26 pm

I hate this, sometimes it is such a fine line. I have been insulted during interviews in the past, whether or not they realized it.

One interview I had, the department head was clearly trying to ask me what my career goals were, but he phrased it as, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I laughed, but probably because I couldn't believe he said that. I hate being made to feel young, because I definitely look younger and less experienced than I really am.

What's even worse is if they do it intentionally to test you.

I don't think your situation hurt you, just made you uncomfortable to talk about it.


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Join date : 2012-08-24
Age : 30
Location : Hartford

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Re: Illegal topics in Interviews

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