Don’t break the law by asking these interview questions


Asking your candidate’s age or whether she starts to plan a family soon as an interview question does not count as small talk.

Let’s not make the poor chap uncomfortable! This includes asking his preference from the Torah to the Bible.

Not sure what sort of interview questions should be evaded? Don’t worry, with our help, you will become an interviewing guru.

Note that regardless of the interview format (phone interviews, face-to-face, email), there are just some conversational roads to not take. The United Kingdom government has outlined “protected characteristics” that are labelled as undesirable interview topics.

 What religion do you practice?

Since we already mentioned not to ask about religion, let’s take a closer look. Your applicant’s belief system should not affect his ability to execute his job. However, if you are a restaurant owner hiring a chef in London, you may just want to know if your interviewee is happy cooking and serving different kinds of meat. For instance, some religions forbid the consumption of pork. Apart from that, religion has no bearing on employee performance.

What you can ask: Is there any personal reason that you feel this role may not match your profile?

Have you ever taken any sick days in your previous role and why?

Be fair and make a job offer first before asking this question. It’s 2018 and there are laws that protect people from special needs’ and health discrimination. This pertains to the number of sick days your candidate took at your last job. The Equality Act 2010 states that as an employer, you can inquire about your potential candidate’s fitness level after confirming a job opportunity.

What you can ask: Are there certain requirements that you need help with in order to execute this role?

What is your marital status?

As per the Equality Act mentioned above, inquiring about one’s marital status is disallowed as well. Regardless of your applicant being single, married or in a civil partnership – it will not reflect his ability to fulfil his assigned duties and responsibilities.

What can you ask: Do you have any present obligations that may affect your time on the job?

Are you part of a trade union?

Do not ask your future worker if he is part of a trade union. The government has specifically stated that one’s choice to be an element of a trade union is not to be used against him by prospective employers. Think of it this way: trade unions standardize working conditions and wages.

It is actually a brand strength if you (unknowingly, of course!) employ a trade member as an employee as it will demonstrate that you believe in maintaining strong, positive working conditions.

What can you ask: Are there any conflicts of interest that you are currently engaged in that may coincide with this role? 

Have you ever been criminally convicted?

The law is clear on this one: if you ask this question: it is pure discrimination. Surely, you want to avoid any preconceived notions. Maybe you love the guy in front of you and cannot wait to integrate him into your staff. Hence, his past convictions should not influence your decision as it should be based completely on your assessment of his competency level and profile.

What can you ask: Are there any legal barriers that may impact your choice to take on this role?