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Interview Questions - 5 Questions that are illegal to ask

A topic like this may be a no brainer to an experienced recruiter or employer, but then again, its topics like this that are always worth a refresher.

As an employer, the job interview environment is used to determine how suitable a candidate is for your business and a specific role by asking questions. However, there are some questions that are illegal, so tread carefully!

Questions you can’t outright legally ask:

  • Are you single or married?
  • What is your political party view or preference?
  • How old are you?
  • What religion are you?
  • Are you pregnant? Or, when do you plan on having children?

Adding to this list, questions about sexual orientation, gender identity, relationship status, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, employment status, age or family status are discriminatory and could result in charges of discrimination.

In the hospitality industry, some of the questions above can be asked. For example, some licenses and permits require the employee to be of a specific age with proof. In getting around asking a question like this, its best to lead in such way: “For this role, the license to sell and serve alcohol requires the licensee to be 18 years or older. Does this apply to you?'' Although, in good recruitment practice, this would carefully be asked during the phone screening stage and clearly outlined in the job advertisement. Clearly outlined role expectations detailed in job advertisements will assist in more relevant candidates applying to your vacancy.

In most cases, personal information (at a professional level) will naturally flow during an interview when asking questions about motivation and career goals.

Be cautious not to discriminate during your candidate screening process. Our general rule of thumb is to proceed with caution at all times and to never ask if your gut tells you it's wrong or if it's conveyed in a manner clearly irrelevant to the role itself. If you’ve outsourced your recruitment to an agency, a good agency will advise when a question requested by the employer is not ok to ask.

If you’re unsure if the questions you’re asking are legal to ask, get in touch with one of our teams today!