Employers need to be seen to select candidates for interview and recruit new employees based on an individual’s merits, otherwise they can leave themselves open to accusations of discrimination. Here are some questions you should not expect to hear during your interview.
1. Are you from the UK/ Is English your first language?
It is illegal for employers to ask you about your race, religion or native language however they can ask you whether you have a right to work in the UK or not.
2. Are you married?
Questions about your marital status and children shouldn’t be asked during your interview as how you care for your dependants is up to you.
If you receive this question then you can always say “I would like to keep this information confidential.”
Related: Five Questions You Should Never Forget to Ask on Your Interview
3. How old are you?
There are occasions when a job requires employees of a particular age, e.g. working as a Cashier in a supermarket you may need to be over 18 to sell alcohol. In this case the job advert should clearly state the specific requirements. However for the majority of vacancies any question relating to age is known as discriminative. You can always answer this question by saying “old enough”.
4. How many sickness days did you take in your last period of employment?
It is not usually appropriate for employers to ask you about your health and disability prior to offering you the position. They may ask you if there are any specific requirements or adjustments you need in order to perform this job effectively. If you are asked this you can reply, “sickness was not an issue in my previous role.”
5. Do you have any previous criminal convictions?
You don’t have to disclose any criminal convictions if the sentence has been spent, unless you are working with vulnerable individuals or are applying for a post in an senior finance role such as teacher, nurse, banker. You can always answer this question by asking “How does this relate to vacancy?”
6. What religion are you?
Many employers ask this information prior to interview as part of a questionnaire to ensure their recruitment process is not discriminatory, however this should not be discussed as part of the selection process and should not be a question during your interview. If you are asked this you are well within your right to state, “I would like to keep this information confidential.”
7. What are your sexual preferences?
You do not have to disclose any of this personal information, and your ability to complete the job effectively will not be hindered by your sexual preferences and you are therefore within your right to state, “I would like to keep this information confidential.”
8. Are you a trade union member?
Employers should not be asking about whether you are a in a trade union as they can leave themselves open to accusations for discrimination. If you are asked you are within your right to keep this information confidential.
9. Shall we discuss this further over drinks?
This is never appropriate so politely decline.
10. Any other questions about your religion, personal preferences, marriage or situation.
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