What are inappropriate questions topics at interview

New survey reveals that three out of four UK job seekers are asked ‘off-limits’ questions in an interview.  Here we reveal the most common inappropriate interview topics.

According to new joint research conducted by TopCV, the largest CV-writing service in the world, and CV-Library, one of the UK’s largest online job sites, 73 per cent of nearly 2,000 professionals surveyed have been asked an inappropriate or illegal question during an interview.

In fact, when asked about the types of topics they’ve been questioned about in an interview, the following areas were identified as those which interviewees are most commonly quizzed on:

Marital status (38per cent)
Age (34 per cent)
Criminal convictions (32 per cent)
Disability and illness (25 per cent)
Children and family planning (25 per cent)
Place of birth or ethnicity (25 per cent)
Lifestyle choices (E.g. Do you smoke? How much do you typically drink?) (19 per cent)
Memberships or affiliations (14 per cent)
Religion (12 per cent)
Gender or sexual orientation (11 per cent)

In addition, when asked if they’d like to provide an example anonymously, over 100 people wanted to share their ‘off-limits’ stories with the survey and some of the responses that came back were startling. Questions ranged from ‘Why should we hire a person of your age and not someone younger?’ to ‘Have staff ever been distracted by your good looks?’

Amanda Augustine, career advice expert at TopCV, commented,

While most interview questions are asked as a genuine way to evaluate a candidate’s ability to do the job, some may steer toward an unprofessional or downright illegal place. When it comes to obtaining personal information, responses could impact their candidacy because of discrimination or bias – regardless if it’s done intentionally.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library commented,

Interviewing for a new job is a nerve-wracking affair, even for those with years of experience under their belt. While it’s standard practice to be asked questions about previous work experience, as well as personal qualities or skills, in an interview, other questions are less acceptable. This includes anything relating to a candidate’s age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, country of national origin or birthplace, disability or family plans.

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Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for Prospects.ac.uk.

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.