When you go to a job interview, you should be prepared in more than one sense. It is common knowledge to go dressed to impress and answer the interviewer questions with confidence; but you should also be prepared to know what “illegal” questions are and how to handle them.
The United States has laws since the 1960’s that protect from discrimination therefore certain questions are illegal. There are some gray areas concerning a few of these questions.
The employer cannot ask “How old are you?” but it is legal to ask “Are you 18 or older” as some companies will not hire minors, the simple answer is a yes or no with out going into details.
A potential employer can ask “Are you eligible to work in the U.S.?” but he or she can not ask your nationality or if you are a U.S. citizen.
Some illegal questions can be harder to detect especially if the interviewer is using a more conversational approach and for instance asks you what church you go to, to discover your religion. The best approach is to bring it back to a job related conversation, or ask them if that has to do with the position that you are applying for.
You can also state that you feel uncomfortable answering such personal questions, the same goes for “Are you married or single?” “Do you have any kids or plan to?”
Of course a better way is to ask questions more on the line “This job will require a lot of traveling, are you fine with this aspect of the job?” Or “Can you relocate?” this question should be asked only if the job may require it.
Questions about housing can be at risk too, asking an interviewee if they rent or own is discriminatory because it seems aimed to know the financial background of the person, it is O.K. to ask “Where do you live and how long?” mainly these questions should be if the company is doing some kind of background check that the person is aware of.
Another illegal question area has to do with health and physical conditions, “Are you legally blind?” or even “Did you ever filed a workers compensation claim?” are clearly discriminatory, the best way is to say “These are the expected job duties, can you perform them with reasonable accommodation?”
When it comes to language knowledge, an interviewer can ask what languages you speak, read or write only if relevant to the job, so if they ask you what language you speak at home is passing the line.
There is a possibility that the interviewer may not be aware that they are asking illegal questions, but most of the time the person knows, and if you feel uncomfortable answering any of their questions and you are not hired, it is probably for the best.
How to Be a Good Receptionist
A receptionist has an important role in the companies image as she will be the first impression clients will have. Also a lot of companies tend to hire from within so it is very possible that the receptionist will move up, and by getting to know the company she will eventually know which direction to take her career.
Dress Professionally. Even if the company has a casual atmosphere, you can still dress appropriately and professional. Make sure that your clothes are clean and well pressed be it a suit or khakis and shirt, also wearing clothes more on a conservative side is usually best suited.
Learn how to answer the phone like the company requests it and make sure you get trained on how to transfer calls and how to put the calls directly to voice mails. Now, that you know how to answer the phone, when someone calls, answer with a smile. Believe it or not the person on the other line can “hear” the smile and you never know who the person is. And the same goes for clients or anyone coming through the door. Talking messages is also very important, make sure to write down (neatly) date, time, phone number, who called and why. Also if you did not understand either the person’s name ask them again or to spell it out and repeat back the phone number to be sure you jot it down correctly.
Organize your desk or area, the less clutter the better, an ideal reception desk should have a computer, a phone, a telephone pad to write messages and pen holder.
A receptionist most times does more than just answer the phone, so organizing and prioritizing your tasks is very important, if you are not sure which is more important, it is good to ask.
If on the other hand you have periods where the phone does not ring and are “bored” ask if you can help with a project, which is a great way to learn more about the company and maybe acquire a new skill or improve on one.
Have a good attitude and try to maintain it, if a client is rude and mean and you do not know how to handle the situation, the first thing is to stay calm and if you can’t solve his or her issues, ask one of your managers.