5 Questions Employers Shouldn’t Ask During Interviews

Although an interview can feel like you’re being grilled by a potential employer, it’s actually just as much a chance for you to decide if a job is a right fit for you. Unfortunately, certain employers could try to take advantage of the inexperience of students and new graduates to ask questions they’re not legally allowed to ask. Knowing in advance what these questions are can better prepare you for an interview and potentially show you what companies you may be better off avoiding.

1. Do You Have Children?

Employers are not allowed to ask you about your family situation, which includes asking if you have kids or want to have kids in the future. This is because employers could use these questions as a way to filter out candidates who may need to take time off for family commitments. Similarly, an employer could be asking because they believe workers with children may be less dedicated to their jobs. Asking about your future intentions could be a way to avoid giving you a job because the employer doesn’t want to lose you for a few months to parental leave.

2. How Old Are You?

Ageism can affect both older and younger workers. For this reason, employers cannot legally ask how old you are. The exception to this is when employing teenagers because employers must adhere to child labour laws. By the time you are at university, though, this should no longer be an issue.

3. Other Personal Questions

An interviewer is not allowed to ask you for other types of highly-personal information because an employer could use this for discriminatory purposes. This includes questions about your ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, or religion. None of these have any impact on your ability to carry out work.

4. Do You Own a Car?

An employer may be concerned about your capability to make it to work on time every day. However, it’s important the interviewer frames this question to stay on the right side of the law. For these reasons, an interviewer is not allowed to ask if you own a car but can ask if you have a reliable way to reach the workplace.

5. Questions About Disabilities

Interviewers are only allowed to ask about disabilities that would impact whether you are able to fulfill the duties of the position. For example, a job may require you to have a certain level of mobility, meet physical requirements (such as lifting a certain weight), or distinguish colours. Interviewers may also ask whether you require any reasonable accommodations to perform your duties, but the employer cannot use your answer to determine whether to offer you the job.

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