Job interviews can be nervous and stressful enough for anybody looking for a new job, least of all graduates who are starting out their careers. That hasn’t stopped companies asking candidates highly inappropriate – and sometimes discriminatory –questions.
The employment law solicitors Thomas Mansfield have asked student job seekers to share some of their experiences of interviews, with some of the questions asked ranging from being ‘just’ over-familiar, bordering on intrusive to illegal questions that could land companies in trouble.
Some of the responses gathered included sexist questions asked:
“Can you flirt with customers so they stay longer?” was asked to a Journalism graduate, with another asking a physics graduate if they could “wear more make-up next time”.
Others included racist questions (“Will you be going back to Jamaica to work?”) and downright weird questions (“Is that a hickey on your neck?”).
Other questions asked included asking interviewees when the last time they took drugs, and if they would do the job for free.
HR professional, Renae Jackson, told BT News: “Discrimination can occur during the candidate screening stages, the interview process and really anywhere throughout the remainder of the employee life cycle. So the laws are there for the right reasons. Even the most well-intentioned employer can unwittingly leave themselves open to litigation though.”
Meredith Hurst, senior partner at Thomas Mansfield, said: “Employers, without even realising, can ask seemingly innocent questions and be breaking the law. However with employment law information so readily available online, there really is no room for insensitive questions or illegal practices.”