How To Answer Illegal Questions During Your Dental Hygiene Job Interview

Before you get all worked up by the title, thinking that a potential employer is out to get you, I want you first to keep in mind that the interviewer is probably just trying to genuinely get to know you better as a person. They are trying to read your body language and see if your personality is a good fit for the office. If they ask improper questions it is most likely that they don’t even realize that they are doing so.  

So, what are some of those most common illegal questions that you may get asked in an interview?


  • Illegal: Do you have any children?

    • Legal: Do you have any impairment that requires special accommodation?

  • Illegal: How old are you?

    • Legal: Are you 18 years or older?

  • Illegal: Are you married?

    • Legal: No legal version to this question.

  • Illegal: What religion are you?

    • Legal: No legal version to this question.

  • Illegal: What is your national origin?

    • Legal: Are you a citizen of the United States, or what languages do you speak, read, and write?


Some of you may not be concerned by having one of theses questions asked to you, but the reason that they are illegal is because they could cause the employer not to hire you based on the following: 





National origin



Disability status


Marital status.


These topics could potentially cause the employer to discriminate against you, a.k.a. not hire you because of your religion or because of your age. We don’t think it makes a difference but, it can, and that is why there are certain protections and rights set up for us. I knew of a dentist who didn’t want to hire anyone recently married because it was thought they were just going to start a family and quit.  I have also heard of an office that didn’t want someone who is "old" taking care of patients. They wanted a “young fresh face.” (Not a place I would want to work!)


Once again my purpose for this article is just to make you aware that it happens and how to prevent it from happening to you. I would recommend that, before you interview, you review the questions above so you can be prepared to answer how you choose. If you are concerned that you may be discriminated against, on one of the above topics, then prepare your answer ahead of time by following some of the options below.


Option 1- You could state, “That is not an interview question I feel comfortable answering.”

With this type of of an answer you are sure to turn off your future employer which may prevent you from landing a job at an amazing place. See some of the better options below. 

Option 2- Simply answer the question. If it doesn’t bother you then shrug it off and maybe even ask them the same question back. You don’t have to elaborate on the subject, but if you are proud that you have 3 children by all means, let them know.

For example, you could state, “Yes I have 3 wonderful children, do you have any children yourself?”

Option 3- Answer the legal version of the question.

For example, maybe you have a dark complexion and you are asked what nationality you are. You could state:

“I’ve actually lived in many places, but I am legally allowed to work in the U.S., if that’s what you’re asking.”

Option 4- Relate the question back to your employment.

For example, if you are asked if you are married (illegal), you could say:

“You know, I’m not quite there yet, but I am very interested to know more about how you like your hygiene department run. Can you tell me more about that?” 

Another example is, what if they ask what religion do you practice (illegal) you could say:

I have a strong belief set and I have great respect for all religions and beliefs. I promise that I will treat your patients with the utmost care and consideration.


Interviewing is always stressful. Practice, practice and practice some more, with friends and family, so that your interview will be successful. Best of luck!