Eighty Percent of Job Seekers Report Being Asked "Off-Limits" Interview Questions -- and They Don't Even Know It

TopResume's New Survey Reveals Most Common Inappropriate Interview Topics

NEW YORK (November 7, 2017) – According to new research conducted by TopResume, the largest resume-writing service in the world, there are many interview questions that job seekers should never be asked. Recently, TopResume asked 375 career-driven professionals, "During an interview, have you ever been asked something that made you uncomfortable?" and four out of five confirmed they were. Although certain topics are off-limits, many inexperienced interviewers ask questions that are against the law.

"Given the recent revelations concerning workplace boundaries — and the violation of them — we wanted to better understand how job candidates felt about the interview process, before they were even hired," said Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume. "We were disappointed, although not surprised, to learn that 80% reported feeling 'uncomfortable' by the interview questions they were asked, most of whom were unaware they shouldn't have been asked them in the first place."

In the past year, Massachusetts, as well as New York City and Philadelphia, have deemed interview questions around a candidate's previous salary to be illegal, whereas interview questions about a candidate's marital status, children and family planning, and age are considered illegal across the U.S. According to TopResume's latest data, the most common categories of inappropriate interview questions included previous salary, marital status, kids and family planning, and age.

Below is a list of 10 topics that TopResume inquired about, for which survey respondents were instructed to check all that apply:

  • Previous Salary: 66%

    (What did you make in your last job? What's your current salary?)

  • Marital Status: 33%

    (Are you married? What does your spouse do for a living?)

  • Kids or Family Planning: 23%

    (How old are your kids? When are you having kids?)

  • Age: 23%

    (How old are you? How long do you plan to work before you retire?)

  • Nationality, Race, Ethnicity: 14%

    (What country are you from? Are you a U.S. citizen?)

  • Disability: 12%

    (Do you have any physical disabilities? Any mental-health problems?)

  • Gender or Sexual Orientation: 10%

  • Military Status: 7%

    (Will you be deployed soon? What about your military discharge?)

  • Religion: 7%

    (Will you need time off for religious holidays? What church do you go to?)

  • Other: 5%

To learn how to ace that next interview — including how to navigate responding to off-limits interview questions — join TopResume for their hour-long #OfficeHours Facebook Live Chat on November 16, 2017 at 1pm EST. On an ongoing basis, TopResume's data science team compiles nationwide data from their customers to better understand current behavioral trends in the job market. Visit TopResume's blog to find out what their next area of research will be.

Media inquiries

Lisa Hagendorf
  • About TopResume

    TopResume, a Talent Inc. company, is the largest resume-writing service in the world, and writes and analyzes more resumes, CVs, and LinkedIn profiles than any other service. Job seekers work directly with professional writers and industry experts to redefine their personal brand and stand out from the crowd during the job-search process. Follow TopResume on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

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Media inquiries

Lisa Hagendorf