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Paris Darknell Interviews, legalities...

What not to ask in an interview

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As an interviewer it’s important that you keep the interview legal and relevant.

Despite an interview being free to unusual questions and bizarre answers, there are some legalities behind the kind of questions that can be asked. These legalities are in place to prevent potential discriminative questioning.

Age – Now we’re all aware that asking someone’s age is always slightly awkward or insulting, it’s the same in an interview. This question shouldn’t be asked unless the job requires the candidate to be over 18. E.g – to sell alcohol.

Race/skin colour- “What’s your ethnicity?” This question should not be asked in an interview. It could lead to the interviewee feeling uncomfortable and discriminated against.

Alternative question – None, however an employment application may include a page where the candidate can voluntarily indicate their race.

Religion – There is no need to ask about a candidate’s religion as it has no relevance to the job. Remember it’s all about keeping the questions relevant to the specific job that you’re recruiting for.

Nationality – “Are you a British citizen?” Avoid asking this question and any others relating to the candidate’s accent.

Alternative question – “Are you eligible to work in the UK?” By asking this question, you can also determine if the candidate has the correct legal documentation to work within the UK.

Marital status - “Are you planning on having children?” Any questions about marital status, children or family plans should not be asked. Not only are these questions personal, but they could be used to determine an individual’s sexual orientation – which has no bearing on a candidate’s ability to do a job.

Alternative question – “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What hours are you available to work?”

Disability – “Do you have any disabilities?” As an employer it is essential that you do not discriminate against a qualified candidate who is disabled.

Alternative question – “Can you perform the basic functions of this position with or without accommodation?” This question allows you to determine If the candidate is qualified to complete the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

Throughout the interview, it’s important that you focus on questions regarding behaviours, skills and experience that relate to the job. By doing this, you will be able to identify the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses to then distinguish if the individual is or isn’t the right person for the job.