The task of the employer to interview is to understand whether the applicant is in line with the position and culture of the company. His questions may relate to experience, education, motivation, personal qualities, plans for a professional future, etc. But there are topics that violate the boundaries of the candidate as an individual: the employer does not have the right to raise them, and the applicant may well not respond. And such a right is protected by both ethics and law.
1. Marital status
Employers ask about the family in order to better understand the person – the potential employee. But not only. For example, women are often interested in whether they have children – it is believed that women workers with young children often take sick leave. Or trying to find out if a woman is planning a pregnancy in the near future.
Such questions are incorrect and irrelevant, and today, when a man may well go on maternity leave, even are meaningless. It is your choice to answer them. For some, this is unacceptable, and there is no desire to work in a team in which personal boundaries are violated. But if you do not consider this a problem, you can meet the employer and talk about your situation and plans: for example, that there are children, but there is also a nanny. Or that in the coming years you plan to focus on your career.
Remember – having, number of children and plans for parenting is a personal matter. The same applies to personal life: no one has the right to demand from you an answer about who and in what status you live or spend time with.
The employer does not have the right to refuse to work because of his age – young or mature. You have the right not to indicate the year of your birth in the resume and not to answer this question at the interview. The problem is that it is still very difficult to hide age, but it is also difficult to prove that the candidate was not taken because of age discrimination. Therefore, you certainly have the right to refuse to talk about your age and to remind you that age discrimination in the labor sphere is prohibited.
But it is much more productive in parallel to destroy the employer’s stereotypes, to convince that age is not a hindrance to work. For example, if you are young and you have little experience – talk about your motivation, potential, and willingness to learn a lot. If you are a mature candidate, focus on your activity, dedication and learning, including new technologies.
3. Views and beliefs
The employer does not have the right to demand an answer from you about which church you are attending and whether you go at all, which political party you support, and your views on controversial social issues. If you nevertheless decided to support the topic and answer these inappropriate questions – pay attention to how important they are for the interviewer (too ardent adherence to some idea may indicate an unhealthy atmosphere in the team). Or to note that you have your own position, but you also respect the opinion of other people, different from yours (if this is true).
4. Gender Prejudice
Unfortunately, gender discrimination is a common phenomenon in the Ukrainian labor market. There are many myths about “male” and “female” professions, beliefs about the ability to perform a certain job depending on gender.
Usually “inappropriate” candidates are eliminated at the review stage of the resume. At the interview, candidates may be compelled to prove their ability to successfully perform tasks that, according to the employer, are suitable for members of the opposite sex. A possible way out here is to prepare well and concentrate on your results and achievements, which are more eloquent than the employer’s fantasies.
5. Health status
There are professional spheres that oblige the future employee to submit medical certificates about his state of health – for example, if it is a public catering. This may be a measure of concern for potential employees (it is important that the work does not harm health) and the safety of other people.
But the employer can not be interested in your health and chronic health problems right at the interview out of idle interest – for example, to assess how often you will take sick leave. This information is confidential and applies only to you and your doctor. Nevertheless, indirect evidence of the fact that you will be an active and productive employee may be your interest in sports, the absence of bad habits, and a healthy lifestyle.
Again, the employer cannot demand an answer about whether you run in the morning, if you smoke, but if it is the value of a company, a team, and coincidentally, it is useful to talk about it.
By the way, the same applies to the health of your family – for example, a candidate is not obliged to answer the question of how often his children are ill.
6. Place of residence
The company cannot demand from you information about where you live or are registered – if you come from another city, you have the same right to apply for a job, like local residents. There are features of employment when it comes to foreign experts, but they are solved by companies individually.
It is also inappropriate to discuss with whom you share your living space – with your parents or neighbors, renting a flat or you own an apartment: this is not related to your professional qualities.
7. Nationality and origin
A representative of the employer does not have the right to demand an answer about your origin and your relatives. But she can ask such questions if she believes that your experience and background influence your personality and potential as a specialist. If you wish, you can tell about your family, but only if you yourself consider it necessary.
8. Confidential information about past work
A potential employer has no right to demand that you share sensitive information from your previous job: for example, about your clients, transactions or colleagues. This is incorrect, moreover – for a thoughtful employer, your willingness to share such information will be an argument to refuse to work. Since you can do the same with the new company.
9. Irregular work
It should be remembered that the working time is normalized. At the same time, the specifics of work in some companies are such that overworking cannot be avoided. But in any case they should be paid for or compensated by rest. If you are already at an interview, the employer asks if you are ready for processing – you can tell if you have the opportunity to work flexibly and not according to the established schedule. Although this is also a reason to be wary, pay attention: how respectful is such a company that relates to the balance of work and the personal life of its employees
Any questions and remarks of the employer about how a person looks are inappropriate. For example, regarding weight, choice of clothes or hair. At the same time, a neat appearance is an important requirement for most industries, and the dress code can be an internal rule that employees must comply with. Therefore, a presentable appearance at the interview is a sign of respect for a potential employer, and it is important to observe it.
11. Financial well-being
Financial issues that an employer can discuss with a candidate relate to salary expectations in a proposed job. A company representative cannot ask, for example, about the income of other members of your family – whether someone helps you financially, how you manage your income.
12. “Strange” questions
Some questions do not demean a candidate and do not violate his boundaries, but have nothing to do with work. For example, an employer may ask you to tell you what animal or vegetable you associate yourself with, what is your zodiac sign, or who are you in the eastern horoscope? What to believe is a personal matter for everyone, but these aspects are not related to professional selection methods. And it hardly indicates that the company has a mature personnel management system.
How to respond to inappropriate questions?
There is no unified instruction, and the reaction to such questions is an individual choice. But the main recommendations are:
Decide how much you want to get this job?
- If you feel uncomfortable already at the interview, it is likely that it will be so further that this is a signal about the culture as a whole. True, not always: it may be the human factor and the behavior of one person. The main thing is to understand: are you ready to turn a blind eye to such company features and attitudes towards people?
- Ask clarifying questions: why are you being asked these questions? It is possible that the employer does not want to offend anyone. And, for example, he asks about his family in order to understand whether you can cope with frequent business trips. Conduct a dialogue – and it is likely that you will be able to agree.
- Remember that employment discrimination is illegal. It is not necessary to go straight to these arguments, it is always better to agree peacefully and positively. But, in particular, pay attention to the memory “About the basics of preventing and counteracting discrimination in Ukraine”, art. 24 of the Constitution of Ukraine, Art. 2-1 of the Labor Code.
- If a question touches you, you have the right to say this directly, to explain that you would not like to discuss such personal moments. What is your argument is experience, motivation, skills, education and interest in this company and position.
- You should not react harshly: leave, be rude in response, answer a question with a question, even an incorrect one. It is better to calmly but confidently state your position: that you are always ready to fully and with examples tell about your professional achievements and plans, motivation, reasons for interest in a job and career plans.