Inappropriate interview questionsDid you know that around 70% of all job interviews contain inappropriate questions? If you are involved in interviewing potential employees but don’t want to fall foul of the law, read on. We can help you avoid posing queries that could land you in serious trouble.

Don’t get personal

You should certainly avoid asking questions about your candidates’ personal lives. The only time it is acceptable to ask someone about their personal life is when the question is particularly relevant to their suitability for a role, for instance, if the job is only open to those with a specific religious faith.

You could find yourself in hot water if you ask a candidate about their birthplace or ethnicity and you may be accused of discrimination. You can ask for these details on the application form, but you should definitely avoid doing so in an interview scenario. Rather than asking someone where they were born directly, you can instead ask whether they are eligible to work in the UK. Don’t ask them what their native language is – ask them which languages they are fluent in instead. Instead of asking them which religion they practice, if any, ask them if they are able to work the days and shifts the role requires.

Be careful on the issue of children

Many employers have had action taken against them after asking women of child-bearing age if they are planning on having children in the near future. You are not permitted to pose this question, and you cannot ask them if they are pregnant or if they have childcare arrangements in place.

Furthermore, you are prohibited from asking about sexual preferences or marital status. If you are worried about their availability for work, you can ask them if they are able to work overtime, whether they are capable of travelling for work purposes and what their career goals are. You cannot ask for someone’s specific age, but you can ask them if they are over the age of 18. Don’t ask them when they graduated – find out whether they have a qualification that will help them carry out their duties.

Disabilities, addresses and activities

Some geographical areas are heavily associated with people of certain religious beliefs, social status and ethnic groups, which means you may be accused of discrimination if you ask for someone’s address in an interview. It’s better to ask someone if they will be able to comfortably arrive for work on time rather than where they live or how far their commute would be. You also need to tread carefully when it comes to the issue of disability, so ask them about how much time they have taken off work recently rather than how many times they rang in sick. You cannot ask candidates about activities such as drinking and smoking outside of work hours and you should avoid asking about political beliefs unless they are relevant to the job.

Contact Practical Software

At Practical Software, we specialise in designing and supplying software for HR and payroll and can help you steer clear of the pitfalls that many HR organisations encounter. To find out more, send an email to or call 0330 124 3506. Alternatively, please use the contact form on our website.