You never have to answer these questions in a job interview  
Careers advice, Interview

You never have to answer these questions in a job interview  

Interview questions should be designed to give you the chance to talk about your relevant experience and express why you are the best person for the job, but unfortunately it is not always like this.

Job interviews are your time to shine and make the best impression on a potential employer. Interview questions should be designed to give you the chance to talk about your relevant experience and express why you are the best person for the job. There are some questions we all know we’ll have to answer in an interview – like “tell me about yourself.”

Learn how to answer the most common job interview questions

But did you know that some interview questions are not allowed? Questions that could be used to discriminate based on age, gender, race, family status, or religion should set off some serious alarm bells.  Here’s a list of questions you should never be asked in a job interview:

Are you married?/Do you have any kids?

Although questions like these may seem like innocent small talk, your marital and family status are considered protected characteristics. Whether you are married, single, divorced or in a civil partnership, whether you have ten kids or none, the interviewer does not need to know this information. These questions have the potential to be discriminatory and can be a way for the interviewer to try to determine sexual orientation or if the candidate has any “distractions” in his or her personal life.

What is your nationality?/Is English your first language?

Employers are required to ensure that you have the legal status to work in the UK. However, as long as you have the proper work permit, they are not entitled to know your nationality or if English is your first language. The only question they may (and are obligated) to ask is: Are you eligible to work in the UK? Anything else that hints at your nationality is off-limits.

While these questions are not allowed, they often come in forms that appear more innocent and conversational. Oftentimes there is no ill-will behind technically illegal questions, for example: “you have a lovely accent, where are you from?” or “what a beautiful engagement ring, when do you plan to get married?” Ultimately, it’s up to you on whether or not you’d like to answer these types of questions. If you feel uncomfortable answering any questions related to your personal life, try to steer the conversation back to the details of the job. Don’t be afraid to say: “I’m not comfortable sharing such personal information at this stage, but I’m happy to give you more details about my work experience.” Most recruiters will understand.

And if they don’t, it could be a sign to move on elsewhere with your search.