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November 18, 2014
Oh No They Didn't: Questions They Can't Ask You In An Interview
Employers must be very sensible and sensitive in regards to what questions recruiters can and cannot be asking in a job interview. Particularly, questions in regards to a candidate’s personal life or religious choices should not be asked at all. A recruiter’s aim in a job interview is to get as much information out of the candidate as possible, but also not to make them feel uncomfortable, because at the end of the day, they would want them to wish to work for the company! Here are some guidelines in regards to what questions you shouldn’t be asked in a job interview as a candidate.

Questions About Age
It is important to note that recruiters cannot make hiring judgments with regard to a person’s age. They must be careful not to discriminate against a person because they are too old or too young. Recruiters do not aim to make candidates feel uncomfortable about their age; it may lead them down a discriminatory path. However, this can sometimes be overcome when the person comes in for their interview, as the hiring person can gauge their age and maturity. You should never be asked “How old are you?” If you're young, expect a question meant to ascertain that you're over the legal age to work.

Questions About Marital and Family Status
In today’s workforce, questions regarding marital status, particularly concerning women who may already have or are planning to have children, should not be asked in a job interview. This goes against the interests of recruiters — it again might lead them down a discriminatory path and make candidates feel like they are being judged by their stage in life, whether it be because they are settled with kids or just married and ready for a baby. You should never be asked whether you plan to have children or if you are married.

Questions About Religion
Another sensitive topic that should not be brought up during a job interview is a person’s religion. This is not an attribute that can be used to judge someone’s job performance, as they may be dedicated to their religion or discriminated against. Again, this kind of question won't work for the interviewer. He will make the candidate feel uncomfortable or judged because they are a part of a religion. The only acceptable questions are about hobbies or outside interests.

Questions About Ethnicity
Finally, the last red flag to be aware of are questions regarding your race, ethnicity, or origin. Asking a candidate where they were born, where their parents were born, or trying to guess their ethnicity is simply offensive. This is nothing short of racial discrimination, something highly looked down upon in the world of HR and general societal etiquette. What you might expect is a question, such as “Are you authorized to work in this country?”, not whether you are a citizen or how long you have lived here.

It is important that interviewers stay away from coming close to grounds for any type of discrimination or any questions that would make you uncomfortable.

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Monique Goodyer works as a marketing specialist at Monaco Compensation Lawyers, one of Australia’s compensation law firms. She’s interested in all things online and the latest trends in social marketing.

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