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6 job interview questions you should never be asked

6 job interview questions you should never be asked

Before you step foot into a job interview, it’s vital that you brace yourself for every sort of question imaginable - after all, the interviewer wants to see how well you perform under pressure.

But that being said, there are some interview questions you shouldn’t be asked in the first place. While most hiring managers, particularly those from larger organisations, will be well-aware of the types of interview questions they can and can’t ask, there’s a chance you’ll come up against a question that you shouldn’t have to answer on the grounds of discrimination.

There are loads of interview questions you shouldn’t be asked in a job interview, but here’s a list of the most common:


How old are you?

In most social scenarios, asking someone how old they are is considered rude, and a job interview is no exception. But not only is it intrusive, answering this question could leave you wide-open to prejudice. If you give away your age, it could not only determine whether or not you get the job, it may also have an impact on the way you’re treated in the role, or the salary you’re offered.


Are you married?

While it might come across as harmless chit-chat, this question forces candidates to share details about their private life that may result in discrimination, such as their sexual orientation or plans to start a family.

Your relationship status in no way impacts your ability as a professional to perform in the role. If the interviewer is concerned that there is something stopping you from committing fully to the job, then they should simply ask you if there is.


Do you have any children?

And the same principal applies to questions about children (or plans to have children). Your ability to manage all the different demands of your personal life should remain entirely that…personal.

The interviewer might be trying to assess your ability to commit to the role, or gain an insight into your time management skills, but the nature of these questions should be confined to the workplace.


Do you have any disabilities?

During the interview process, there are only a few acceptable circumstances where it is okay for an interviewer to ask questions about your health or disabilities – for instance, if they are asking about any adjustments that could be made to enable you to do your job, such as improving accessibility. Any other questions that force you to reveal your disabilities or health issues are not acceptable.


Is English your first language?

This question can be used as a somewhat subtle way to find out more about your ethnicity or place of birth. If you’re a fluent English speaker, there’s no reason why English needs to be your first language in order for you to be qualified to do the job. That’s why employers have no right asking about your native language, race or religion.

If this does come up, emphasise the fact that you are a fluent English speaker and have the legal right to work in the UK.


Do you have any criminal convictions?

If the sentence has been spent, there’s no legal obligation for you to disclose any criminal convictions during an interview. An employer has no right to refuse employment to someone based on previous crimes unless it in some way relates to the job.


How to respond:

In most cases, the easiest way to draw the line between an appropriate and inappropriate interview question is to consider if what they’re asking has any impact on your ability to succeed in the role.

And if any of these questions come up, one option is to simply deflect it by further emphasising your skills and experience. Or alternatively, if the question is of a personal nature, you could state: “I like to keep my personal and professional life separate.”

But if you don’t feel comfortable answering a question, it’s completely within your rights to refuse to answer it. Most employers will understand and most likely feel more embarrassed than you do – but if they don’t, you probably wouldn’t want to work there in the first place.

Here’s how to prepare for a job interview.

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