What you can – and cannot – be asked in a job interview
Have you ever wondered what personal information or data a
prospective employer is entitled to ask you for at interview, or
their legal obligation to look after such information once they
But of course, we may never know about desperate job seekers,
faced with such a request, who are prepared to acquiesce.
So, what other information is a prospective employer going to
have difficulty eliciting from you at interview stage? Before you
are offered a job, you cannot be asked health or disability related
questions - including how many days' sickness you had in your
previous employment (although there are limited exceptions where it
is a necessary requirement of the job).
After you have been offered a job, health inquiries can be made,
but only to ensure that there are no obstacles to being able to
carry out your role. Your employer cannot ask for a medical report
on you without your knowledge or consent.
In addition, you cannot be asked your age or date of birth.
Crafty employers do try to get round this by posing related
questions, such as asking an older applicant how long he or she saw
herself working until retirement, but this would also be
Interviewers should avoid asking questions about your marital
status, whether you have children, or are planning a family soon.
It is acceptable, though, to be asked whether there are any
responsibilities that could interfere with your attendance at work.
You should furthermore not be questioned about your sexual
If, on the basis of your name or appearance, an
interviewer were to ask about where you were born, your race,
native language, or religious views or affiliations, this could be
seen as potential discrimination if you are not offered the role.
You should be interviewed on the merits of your expertise for the