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What can you ask a candidate during the job interview?


We are often asked by clients and business owners what questions they are allowed to ask candidates during an interview, and more pertinent, what can’t they ask!

We suggest refraining from asking the following and suggest using these alternatives:

How old are you? Apart from ascertaining whether a candidate is of a legal age to sell alcohol or operate danger machinery and equipment, their age should not affect their ability to do the job.

Instead ask: Are you over 18?


Are you from the UK? You could be implying that their nationality has an impact on their suitability. Although you are allowed to check that the candidate has eligibility to work in the UK and that they have the required standard of English to fulfil the job criteria.

Instead ask: What languages do you read and speak fluently?


Are you married?  Asking this implies that you wish to find out about their future family plans and even their sexual orientation.

Instead ask: Do you have any current commitments which may affect your ability to do this job, or which may impact your attendance?


How many sickness days did you take in your last job? This could be viewed as being discriminatory against disability and again is only relevant if it affects the candidate’s ability to perform the duties the role requires.

Instead ask: Do you have any specific requirements in order to perform this job effectively?


Do you have any previous criminal convictions? There is no obligation for a candidate to disclose criminal convictions if the sentence has already been spent. The exceptions being if the role relates to working with children or has a financial nature.

Instead ask: Do you know of any legal reasons why you may not be able to take this job?


Interview questions should be set as a view to finding out the applicant’s ability to do the job and any questions leading to a bias in the decision making should be avoided.

For more information and advice, please contact us:



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