I am in the country where "where do you live" question is illegal to ask during hiring process. Despite that, sometimes interviewers do ask that. What is the best way to respond?

  • 12
    Can you add a country tag? For example in Germany you are allowed to lie to questions they are not allowed to ask like: "Are you pregnant?" - "Yes/No". or "Are you a muslim?" - "Yes/No"
    – Pudora
    Aug 16, 2019 at 8:54
  • Also, why is it illegal in your country? Is there a way to answer that would be of no use to the illegal purpose of the question?
    – nvoigt
    Aug 16, 2019 at 9:44
  • It's in Europe (I prefer not to disclose the exact location). Candidate cannot be rejected based on the fact that he lives too far from the office location as long as he's OK with the travel time. Obviously it's very hard to prove that was the reason for rejection. Also, I would prefer not to lie since this can do more damage than good.
    – Asahi
    Aug 16, 2019 at 10:10
  • @Asahi I wouldn't be too concerned about lying to an illegal question. If you do get hired and have to fill out the paperwork, and they query you about it (assuming they remembered) you can just say you have moved. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:53
  • @Abigail I am asked on a very early stage, so it's unlikely for tax or other documents
    – Asahi
    Aug 16, 2019 at 12:18

3 Answers 3


This question, in my experience, is mainly asked to guage your travel times (and -methods), so the hiring officer can include a guesstimate of the travel expences compensation they would pay you.

I wonder where you live that such a question would be illegal, as well as why it would be, but this is not relevant to OPs question.

To answer the question: i would reply along the lines of "I live within X miles of this location, and will be travelling by car". This gives the interviewer the information they need, without disclosing any personal information

  • 2
    A lot of companies don't pay travel expenses. It's illegal because the information can be used to descriminate. Aug 16, 2019 at 9:25
  • Then again, can't any information you give be used to discriminate if they really want to?
    – Dirk
    Aug 16, 2019 at 12:06

That's an odd question to ask, an odd question not to answer, and an odd question to be illegal.

Almost all resumes that I have seen (in 3 countries) tend to include the address or the at least the city where the candidates live anyway, so it seems in many countries a perfectly normal thing to disclose in the first place.

As a hiring manager, I would look a this primarily to gauge need for relocation and viability of commute. Obviously the decision of whether a commute is acceptable or not lies with the candidate, but if it turns out to be a 4 hour/day monstrosity I would prefer to have a conversation about it. Job satisfaction correlates fairly well with commute time (https://www.inc.com/business-insider/study-reveals-commute-time-impacts-job-satisfaction.html) so I would want to understand whether this requires some accommodation or if we can be creative to ease the pain. At the end of the day, this needs to be a good fit for both parties so everyone can be happy.

If it's an illegal question (no idea why), you have the following options

  1. Refuse to answer. That's perfectly within your right, but unlikely to help your employment prospects.
  2. Just answer it. If it's in your linkedIn, phonebook, resume anyway, there is really no point in hiding it. At some point you will need to disclose this anyway so you might as well do it now. There may be specific reason why you don't want to answer, but I don't know what it is
  3. Ask for clarification, but stay polite and constructive and assume good intent. Maybe something like "I'm not sure I understand how my place of residence relates to this job interview. Would you mind explaining what you are worried or concerned about ?"

Of course you can always say "that's an illegal question, you are not allowed to ask this", but that reduces your chances of getting the job to basically zero.


From my knowledge asking such question is illegal and I would prefer to answer questions about my qualifications

Bottom line is "would you like to work for a company that break the law even before you are their employee?".

  • 3
    Even great companies have bad employees that don't understand certain questions are illegal. Aug 16, 2019 at 9:26
  • 1
    @GregoryCurrie If a employee responsible for hiring process don't know the law of hiring an employee how they can do that? They're not BAD at their job. They are breaking the law exposing their employer for fines. Great Company it have to be. Aug 16, 2019 at 9:37
  • 4
    I'm not saying it's a great company, I'm saying that it need not be a bad company. A single employees interpretation around the law may be different. With one employee you are not getting a fair picture of the entire scope of an organisation, so to pass on what may be a great opportunity over a single relatively benign question (which may be deflected with ease) seems foolish. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:07
  • 6
    I feel really happy for you that you are able to work in an environment where one mistake by one employee is enough of a red flag that you can move on to many other opportunities. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:48
  • 2
    Maybe you do realise, but I don't think you do, that the interviewer may be the hiring manager. And they may be an excellent manager and run a great team, but simply forgot they were not allowed to ask a specific question (which is legal to ask in many environments). So, I don't think it's as black and white as you present. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:51

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