Question 56 The "Secret" Illegal Question
How to Answer The 64 Toughest Interview Questions
(Continued from previous question...)
Question 56 The "Secret" Illegal Question
TRAPS: Much more frequent than the Illegal question (see Question 55) is the secret illegal question. It's secret because it's asked only in the interviewer's mind. Since it's not even expressed to you, you have no way to respond to it, and it can there be most damaging.
Example: You're physically challenged, or a single mother returning to your professional career, or over 50, or a member of an ethnic minority, or fit any of a dozen other categories that do not strictly conform to the majority in a given company.
Your interviewer wonders, "Is this person really able to handle the job?"…"Is he or she a 'good fit' at a place like ours?"…"Will the chemistry ever be right with someone like this?" But the interviewer never raises such questions because they're illegal. So what can you do?
BEST ANSWER: Remember that just because the interviewer doesn't ask an illegal question doesn't mean he doesn't have it. More than likely, he is going to come up with his own answer. So you might as well help him out.
How? Well, you obviously can't respond to an illegal question if he hasn't even asked. This may well offend him. And there's always the chance he wasn't even concerned about the issue until you brought it up, and only then begins to wonder.
So you can't address "secret" illegal questions head-on. But what you can do is make sure there's enough counterbalancing information to more than reassure him that there's no problem in the area he may be doubtful about.
For example, let's say you're a sales rep who had polio as a child and you need a cane to walk. You know your condition has never impeded your performance, yet you're concerned that your interviewer may secretly be wondering about your stamina or ability to travel. Well, make sure that you hit these abilities very hard, leaving no doubt about your capacity to handle them well.
So, too, if you're in any different from what passes for "normal". Make sure, without in any way seeming defensive about yourself that you mention strengths, accomplishments, preferences and affiliations that strongly counterbalance any unspoken concern your interviewer may have.
(Continued on next question...)
Other Interview Questions
- Question 1 Tell me about yourself.
- Question 2 What are your greatest strengths?
- Question 3 What are your greatest weaknesses?
- Question 4 Tell me about something you did - or failed to do - that you now feel a little ashamed of.
- Question 5 Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position?
- Question 6 The "Silent Treatment"
- Question 7 Why should I hire you?
- Question 8 Aren't you overqualified for this position?
- Question 9 Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Question 10 Describe your ideal company, location and job.
- Question 11 Why do you want to work at our company?
- Question 12 What are your career options right now?
- Question 13 Why have you been out of work so long?
- Question 14 Tell me honestly about the strong points and weak points of your boss (company, management team, etc.)…
- Question 15 What good books have you read lately?
- Question 16 Tell me about a situation when your work was criticized.
- Question 17 What are your outside interests?
- Question 18 The "Fatal Flaw" question
- Question 19 How do you feel about reporting to a younger person (minority, woman, etc)?
- Question 20 On confidential matters…
- Question 21 Would you lie for the company?
- Question 22 Looking back, what would you do differently in your life?
- Question 23 Could you have done better in your last job?
- Question 24 Can you work under pressure?
- Question 25 What makes you angry?
- Question 26 Why aren't you earning more money at this stage of your career?
- Question 27 Who has inspired you in your life and why?
- Question 28 What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?
- Question 29 Tell me about the most boring job you've ever had.
- Question 30 Have you been absent from work more than a few days in any previous position?
- Question 31 What changes would you make if you came on board?
- Question 32 I'm concerned that you don't have as much experience as we'd like in…
- Question 33 How do you feel about working nights and weekends?
- Question 34 Are you willing to relocate or travel?
- Question 35 Do you have the stomach to fire people? Have you had experience firing many people?
- Question 36 Why have you had so many jobs?
- Question 37 What do you see as the proper role/mission of…
- Question 38 What would you say to your boss if he's crazy about an idea, but you think it stinks?
- Question 39 How could you have improved your career progress?
- Question 40 What would you do if a fellow executive on your own corporate level wasn't pulling his/her weight…and this was hurting your department?
- Question 41 You've been with your firm a long time. Won't it be hard switching to a new company?
- Question 42 May I contact your present employer for a reference?
- Question 43 Give me an example of your creativity (analytical skill…managing ability, etc.)
- Question 44 Where could you use some improvement?
- Question 45 What do you worry about?
- Question 46 How many hours a week do you normally work?
- Question 47 What's the most difficult part of being a (job title)?
- Question 48 The "Hypothetical Problem"
- Question 49 What was the toughest challenge you've ever faced?
- Question 50 Have you consider starting your own business?
- Question 51 What are your goals?
- Question 52 What do you for when you hire people?
- Question 53 Sell me this stapler…(this pencil…this clock…or some other object on interviewer's desk).
- Question 54 "The Salary Question" - How much money do you want?
- Question 55 The Illegal Question
- Question 56 The "Secret" Illegal Question
- Question 57 What was the toughest part of your last job?
- Question 58 How do you define success…and how do you measure up to your own definition?
- Question 59 "The Opinion Question" - What do you think about …Abortion…The President…The Death Penalty…(or any other controversial subject)?
- Question 60 If you won $10 million lottery, would you still work?
- Question 61 Looking back on your last position, have you done your best work?
- Question 62 Why should I hire you from the outside when I could promote someone from within?
- Question 63 Tell me something negative you've heard about our company…
- Question 64 On a scale of one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.