Illegal Interview Questions

 In June this year SEEK published an article   ‘Illegal Interview Questions – what employers can’t ask you’.

Interviews! We’ve all had at least one during our working life and for some of us, interviewing is our working life.

So, while conducting the interview, the job of the interviewer is to construct and ask questions which are specific to the role that the interviewee is being interviewed for. The rationale being that the specific questions posed will assist the interviewer with assessing and making a judgement as to whether the interviewee is suitable for the role and the likelihood of a smooth and successful transition for both the interviewee and business into the new role.

A skilled and experienced interviewer will have already undertaken their due diligence during pre-screening interviews to ascertain qualifications, experience and aptitude selecting those best matched to the prerequisites of the role.

While this all seems to be rather rudimental and formatted in its approach, all that hard work before the interview can be undone simply by asking a question or questions directly or indirectly that dig for information that is not relevant to the role. Examples of questions that go beyond what is acceptable are listed below;

  • Are you in a same-sex relationship?
  • How old are you?
  • What’s your ethnic background?
  • What religion are you?
  • Are you pregnant or planning to start a family?
  • Who do you vote for?
  • Do you have a physical or mental disability?

Section 107 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 provides that a person must not request or require another person to supply information that could be used by the first person to form the basis of discrimination against the other person.” So, what might seem like an innocent question can lead to huge ramifications after the interview. To ensure this doesn’t happen avoid the above-mentioned questions.

So, whether you are an inexperienced or experienced interviewer were and if possible reach out to a colleague or member of HR and have them double check your questions to ensure that you are asking questions that are specific, relevant and will allow the interviewee to pinpoint their attributes for the role. When l started out in recruitment my colleague turned mentor taught me to think of questions as “the need to know”, “the nice to know” and “l don’t need to know”. The last of which the illegal questions belong. So, before you conduct your next interview, think about those questions you can and can’t ask, you’ll avoid breaching Section 107 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, a win for everyone.

Happy interviewing. 

About the Author
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Jenny Lloyd

Founder/Director of Connections
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