Interviews are stressful enough for those seeking a new job, but when the questions being asked cross the line, the process is all the more nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. Before heading in for an upcoming interview, know which questions are par for the course and appropriate and those which should never be asked.


If any of the topics come up during an interview, understand that you do not and should not have to answer them. Ranging from inappropriate to illegal, these items are off-limits. Not only do they have little to nothing to do with most jobs, but hiring managers have no business getting into your business. Know your rights and know when to say no to answering a question that should have never been brought up in the first place.

What is Your Age?

It's generally considered impolite to ask a person's age no matter the circumstance, but in an interview setting, the question could be cause for discrimination accusations.

According to Experience, "The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people over the age of 40, who work in companies with more than 20 employees, from employment discrimination. Employers may specify an age limit for a position only in rare cases where it can be proven that age is a BFOQ (bona fide occupational qualification). In all other cases, an interviewer may not ask when you were born, when you graduated from high school (since most students graduate at age 17 or 18), or any other questions from which your age may easily be determined."

Independent also points out, "Be careful if the hiring manager asks for your date of birth for their records, because they could be subtly trying to find out your age. Craftier employers might ask how long you want to work before retirement, but this also isn't allowed."

What is Your Race/Ethnicity?

No employer may ask about your race, ethnic background, or nationality. That said, as per Experience, "An employment application may include a space where you voluntarily indicate your race." Additionally, the hiring manager may not ask if you're a citizen of the U.S or where you were born.

However, the employer may question whether or not you are eligible to work in the country and to provide back-up documentation. As per Investopedia, "Employers must wait until after a job offer had been extended to require a worker to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Form and submit documentation that proves identity and employment authorization."

What are Your Religious Beliefs?

According to Independent, "This question falls under protected characteristics, and there is no reason you should have to answer it. Unless of course you're applying for a religious position."

An interviewer may ask this question innocently in order to determine if the candidate would need time off from work for holidays or other religious obligations, but as per Investopedia, "Employers are required to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices in regards to things such as dress and grooming policy and flexible scheduling."

Are You Pregnant? (Or do you plan to have children?)

This question is most likely asked to women who may already have obstacles to overcome in the workforce. According to Independent, "It is illegal to discriminate against someone if they have children, are pregnant, or are planning to start a family. Some employers might ask you how old you are to try and work out whether you're likely to start having children."

As per Investopedia, "The Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that an employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition, or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients or customers."

Some additional interview questions that are big no nos…

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • Have you been arrested or convicted of a crime?
  • Do you do drugs, drink, or smoke?
  • What is your maiden name?
  • What type of military discharge did you receive?
  • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or are you in debt?
  • What is your political affiliation?
  • Do you belong to any organizations?
  • Are you a member of a trade union?
  • How many sick days did you take at your prior job?

Know your rights and cross one element of interview anxiety off your list. For some tips to ace your interview, check out 4 ways to leave a positive impression. Good luck!

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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