Interview Questions – what the law says

“have you got kids?” “are you married?” “what year were you born?”

These are all subjects you might happily chat about with colleagues in a social context, but questions like these are strictly off limits in a job interview, as they could lead to bias or discrimination, and breach equality laws. The purpose of a job interview is to establish whether an applicant has the ability to do the job you’re recruiting for. Remember you can’t ask a candidate about their:

  • gender or gender identity
  • marital status
  • race, ethnicity or religion
  • age or date of birth
  • location (it’s OK to ask about a candidate’s preferred work location)
  • disability or illness
  • pregnancy or maternity/paternity status

As an HR expert and recruiter, here are my top 10 questions to avoid (and what to ask instead when appropriate):

1. What arrangements do you need to make for childcare while you work?
2. How old are your children?
3. What does your wife/husband/partner do for a living?
4. Where did you live while you were growing up? (Ask instead, “do you have the legal right to work in the UK?”)
5. Are you comfortable working for a female/male boss?
6. There’s a large gap between your age and the coworkers of that
position. Is this a problem for you?
7. Have you ever been arrested? (Ask instead, “do you know of any legal reason why you may not be able to accept this position?”)
8. Do you have a car? (Ask instead, “how long is your commute to our office?”)
9. How long do you plan to work until you retire?
10. Have you had any days off sick in the past year?