There are certain questions interviewers should never ask job-seekers. How old are you? Are you disabled? Pregnant? Married?
But if you've gotten one or more of those questions anyway, you're not alone.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has guidelines for what is and what is not OK to screen for when hiring employees. Since it is illegal to discriminate against an applicant because of race, religion, pregnancy status, age or health, hiring managers are advised against asking questions that relate to these issues.
Yet interviewers do it all the time.
The Associated Press and CNBC conducted a poll of 1,054 Americans and found that a significant percentage report having been asked illegal questions. Sixty-five percent of respondents had interviewed for a job in the past 10 years and 33 percent had interviewed for a job 10 years ago or more (a remaining 2 percent reported never having interviewed for a job.)
A full 35 percent said they have been asked about their age while 21 percent were asked about their medical history or whether they have a disability. Over 10 percent were asked whether they were pregnant or about their plans to have children while about 10 percent of respondents were even asked about their religious beliefs.
Participants of all ages were as likely to have been asked one of these inappropriate questions, and these experiences were equally common among respondents who interviewed in the last year as those who last interviewed over 10 years ago. The responses suggest that asking illegal questions is not going out of style.
One illegal question, however, does seems to be fading away: "Are you married?"
While the AP's research was not broken down by gender, the EEOC explains that questions about marriage often hurt women's chances of getting a job. "Questions about marital status and number and ages of children are frequently used to discriminate against women," states their website. "Generally, employers should not use non job-related questions involving marital status."
Thirty-five percent of respondents were asked about their marital status but the question seems to be much less common among younger job applicants. Roughly half of Americans over the age of 60 say they've faced this question compared to less than a third of those under 60.
Still, young job applicants don't escape inappropriate questions entirely.
Just 3 percent of Americans over 45 say they were flirted with or asked sexually suggestive questions during an interview, while 10 percent of those under the age of 30 report having to endure that kind of behavior.
Be sure to check out CNBC's "The Job Interview," which follows real employers as they conduct real interviews and the unexpected challenges that ensue.
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