It’s a fine line between getting to know you and getting to know too much about you. Here’s where that line is drawn.
During your interview for the travel agent position, you will be asked a lot of questions about your abilities, strengths and weaknesses that you bring to the job. You might also be asked questions about your religion, physical ability and childcare arrangements. Do you know which questions are OK to answer and which should be avoided?
A potential employer has asked to see you at 4 p.m. and once you have the kids picked up from school, you head over to the company and are excited about this travel agent opportunity. Since it’s after school, the interviewer asks if you are a mom and if the kids will be taken care of on days they have off from school. Unfortunately, they aren’t allowed to know.
While it might seem that your interviewer is just getting to know you and your family, asking about your marital status and how many children you may have is unacceptable. Asking if you will be able to work overtime or would be willing to relocate, however, is perfectly acceptable.
Next, looking at your application, the interviewer notices that you didn’t state whether you are a Miss, Mrs. or Ms. Uncertain of what to call you, he asks. Again, this has caused a little snafu. It is not appropriate to ask, and they could have gotten around this by asking if you have ever worked under another name in order to check previous records.
If your interviewer starts asking questions about your sexuality, you do not have to answer. It is against the law to ask questions about race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age or ancestry. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on these factors.
Whether you’re a 40-year-old mom who has decided to go after her dream of becoming a travel agent, or a 65-year-old man who needs to go back to work for the money, nobody needs to know your age. The EEOC's Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 only protects workers who are 40 years old and older from age discrimination and in workplaces with 20 or more employees.
Your interviewer can know about your education only if it pertains to what you studied or any particular skills you may have related to the travel agent job. He may not, however, ask the religious affiliation of the college that you went to. On that note, any questions about your religion are also prohibited.
It is also against the law to ask for references specifically from clergy or any other person who might reflect race, color, religion, sex or national origin, age disability or marital status.