Should You Really Be Asking That Question?

26th August 2009

The interview room is one where honesty is valued and being open with a potential employer is the right thing to do but have you ever experienced an interview when the question you are asked, feels just a little inappropriate? Have you been asked a question because of your race, gender, medical history or something that just doesn’t seem relevant to the job?

It may shock people to know that nearly half of all interviews actually involve an inappropriately phrased question. Simply question such as ‘how old are you?’ are actually considered inappropriate because all that really matters is whether they are legally able to work and this question can lead to discrimination against an interviewee because of their age.

Even ‘are you on any medication?’ is now considered to be inappropriate and any medical references can only be asked if the job involves certain physical activities. So asking ‘can you perform all the physical activities involved in this job specification?’ is considered polite and legal, only if you ask all of your applicants, not just those who may appear to have a disability.

There are many questions that on the surface may seem innocent enough but can get you into some serious trouble if you ask them in a job interview, so always check your question with someone else and see if they deem it to be appropriate and legal, before you ask it.

In the same way if you are asked an inappropriate question during an interview, you can either briefly answer the question if you are comfortable to do so, or ask why they are asking the question in order to gain an insight into how it is relevant, or refuse to answer the question.

Using an online recruitment agency can really be a great way of saving companies many hours in the recruitment process and with a flat fee charged, its very cost effective as well!