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Interview no-no’s: what you should NOT be asked

It’s a common phrase uttered by most; “interviews are stressful”. No matter how much you prepare curating your CV, nailing your or practicing with friends there are some questions your can’t prepare for.

So what do you when you’re asked something a little out of the ordinary? Occasionally employers can overstep the line in what they’re legally allowed to ask so knowing the questions you shouldn’t be asked, and finding ways to answer them can help you to turn an uncomfortable interview in to a successful one.

Here’s a list of questions interviewers should avoid, and how to answer them should they come up:

Is English your first language?

Any questions based on culture or ethnicity are illegal since the discrimination act. It is the employer’s responsibility to check applicants are eligible to work in the UK before interview so any questions relating to race or culture could be misinterpreted as discrimination. Questions to ascertain your place of birth or mother tongue are a no go area, here’s how to address it.

Try answering something like:

“I speak fluent English and will have no problems communicating with clients, colleagues and supervisors”.

Are you married?

Questions regarding your status, plans for a family, or home situation are inappropriate, and may be a concealed way to identify sexuality. Interviewers sometimes also use questions related to this to identify outside influences that could distract you from work.

Try answering something like:

I’m a professional at separating my personal and work life”

How many sick days did you take last year?

If the interviewer asks you questions relating to your health they may be able to establish any disabilities or medical conditions which employers generally can’t discriminate against.

However, employers can touch on the subject if it is to establish whether candidates need adjustments made in order to adequately accommodate a candidate’s needs.This is usually broached once the candidate has been offered the role however.

Try answering something like:

“I am fully fit and capable to perform the role”

Do you have any previous criminal convictions?

No interviewer should request details of your criminal history, but this doesn’t stop them from doing so. You have no obligation to answer questions relating to past convictions, but it’s in your interest to answer the question professionally.

Try answering something like:

 “there are no problems that would interfere with my eligibility for the job”.


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