Module 03: Job Search

Challenging Interview Scenarios

How your unique story can get you hired. TED series. Retrieved from

In this section, we will debunk several interview myths and help you navigate challenging situations that may occur during an interview. When you’re invited for an interview, it’s safe to assume that the employer has read your resume and believes that you meet the required qualifications. You’ve passed the first big hurdle, so feel confident and believe in yourself!  Visualize yourself doing the job. Share your unique stories of accomplishment. You may feel like you’re not good enough or qualified enough to get the job or that there are others more qualified than you. Reframe your struggles and turn them into strengths.


Illegal Interview Questions

Know Your Rights – Discrimination in the Interview Process
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects job applicants from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and age. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends against employers asking questions about personal characteristics that fall within these categories. Employer use of this information to discriminate against applicants or employees can result in legal actions taken against the company.

Sample questions include:

  • Are you a U.S. citizen?
  • Is English your first language?/What language do you speak at home?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you pregnant?/Do you plan to become pregnant?
  • Where do you go to church?/What religion do you practice?
  • Where were your parents from?

If you are asked one of these questions in an interview, do not answer it. Instead politely question why they need that information and, if comfortable, remind the interviewer that those are legally protected characteristics and cannot be used to determine eligibility for a position. It is perfectly acceptable to state, “I do not feel comfortable answering that question” when asked a protected question.

We never want to assume that someone is discriminating against us, but it does happen. If you feel like you have been discriminated against in the hiring process by an individual or organization, please contact the EEOC:


  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN) – A U.S. site that provides a wealth of information including individual fact sheets on suggested accommodations by disability
  • Lime Connect – Opportunities for students with disabilities

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