To many, finding a job isn’t very easy. Some would spend months sending applications to various job openings, only to receive no response. This is why when they finally get invited to a job interview, they will try to do everything in their power to please the interviewer.
If you are in this situation, you will probably do the same. However, despite your best efforts and intentions, the interview may take a different turn. For instance, the interviewer may cross the line, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and ask things that they’re not supposed to ask.
As a job seeker and a citizen in general, you have rights and the law protects you against discrimination. Before you go to your interview, you should be aware of the things that a recruiter shouldn’t do. Here are five.
1. Ask your age
Job interviewers can dig as much as they can into your professional and educational background, but they shouldn’t ask for your age unless you implicitly provide them with such information. This is particularly important for applicants aged 40 and above.
A person who is obviously not in their retirement age shouldn’t be considered as less capable compared to younger applicants. In fact, their experience and knowledge, as well as work ethics, could be greater.
2. Ask about your sexual orientation or gender identification
Your gender or orientation absolutely doesn’t have anything to do with your skills, abilities, experience, and education. You’d be surprised that in this day and age, there are still employers out there that make the mistake of asking questions as personal as this.
Although there may be niche jobs where gender and orientation could play a role, you should be able to judge your own level of comfort. If you are applying for such a job, then you probably won’t have a problem being asked about your gender or orientation. Otherwise, if you feel uncomfortable in any way, you can justify that the question is inappropriate.
3. Ask about your religious affiliation
Unless you’re applying for a job with a religious group or ministry, then the interviewer shouldn’t ask you about your religious affiliation in such a way that they make it appear as though your religion will affect your performance should you get hired for the position.
If you have religion-specific concerns, such as needing days off to practice religious obligations, this can be discussed at a later time. Ideally, you are the one who should open up the discussion about it, not the other way around.
4. Ask you to say something about your previous employer that you know to be confidential
Even if you are looking for a new job, you are still somehow bound to your existing or previous employer in terms of confidentiality. Even if you’re holding some grudge against your employer, you shouldn’t go around telling people from another company about these issues in a way that you’ll put your employer in a bad light. More importantly, you shouldn’t be asked to disclose confidential and sensitive information about the company.
5. Ask whether you are married or not, and if you are planning to have children in the near future
Asking about your relationship status is a no-no. Unless you’re willing to disclose such information as you tell the interviewer about yourself, the latter shouldn’t ask about it. This is particularly important among female job seekers because some employers make assumptions that having a family and planning to have children may affect their performance and attendance at work. Remember, you shouldn’t be evaluated based on your personal and family background, but your skills, experience, education, and abilities in relation to the job’s requirements.
These questions may seem innocent or spontaneous, and the interviewer may not genuinely mean any harm, but they are still questions that you shouldn’t have to answer, especially if you feel uncomfortable answering them. The questions above are highly personal and none of them determine your capacity to do a job well.
In other words, these are none of the recruiter’s business and you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer them. It’s important that you know that you have the right to refuse to answer these questions.