10 inappropriate questions interviewers need to stop asking!

According to new research, the vast majority of organisations have asked candidates inappropriate and potentially illegal questions during a job interview.

Researchers of the study found that 85% of interviewers have asked questions such as ‘Are you physically fit and healthy’, ‘Have you any plans to start a family’ or ‘Did you grow up outside of the UK’.

All of the above questions are potentially breaching the law, which requires all potential employers to treat candidates fairly.

It’s true though however that many interviewers could be completely unaware that what they think is innocent questioning could be a legal grey area, with 47% saying they have never had official training on what questions to ask in an interview.

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Below are the top 10 inappropriate interview questions that hiring managers have asked:

  • What year did you graduate? (59%)
  • What year were you born? (55%)
  • Do you have any children? (56%)
  • Are you physically fit and healthy? (53%
  • Are you in a relationship or married? (51%)
  • Have you got any plans to start a family? (42%)
  • Where is your accent from? (46%)
  • Will you need flexible time for family life? (46%)
  • Did you grow up outside of the UK? (45%)
  • Will you need time off during half term? (43%)

This highlights the need for training for any person involved in the process of interviewing prospective candidates, so they know what is and isn’t acceptable in the recruitment process.  Ensuring all prospective employees are given a fair and honest opportunity to secure a job based on their skills and ability not their gender, personal choices or maternity/paternity choices.

If you need any HR help, advice or tips on interviewing, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY FAQS – Can an employer ask about my mental health when applying for a new job?

Thanks to awareness days like Wednesday’s World Mental Health Day, the conversation surrounding mental health is getting louder. The stigma attached to talking about our mental health in the same way that we do for our physical health is being lifted and with that there is a growing acceptance that it’s okay not to be okay and to seek support.

The workplace is undeniably an environment that for many people can cause stress and anxiety. If you have a mental health issue then being in a pressured working environment, that may not be supportive of your mental health, can cause further damage to your health and overall well-being.

It’s therefore the role of employers to ensure they have fair practices in place with regards to their approach for identifying and supporting their teams with mental health issues, just as they do for physical health.

As an employee you should expect to be supported by your employer and provided with the necessary support for a mental health issue.

However, is it a concern for those seeking new employment that if they have an existing mental health issue, it may impact upon their likelihood of getting a job?

We want to help debunk some of these crucial questions and shed light on an area of HR that is vital for a happy and productive workplace.

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1. Can I be asked about my mental health issue when I apply for a job? 

In short, no. It’s unlawful for an employer to ask a candidate if they have a history mental health issues during the application process.

If you are asked about your mental health, you are not obliged to answer this, however, if you do choose to disclose this information it is recommended that you do so honestly.

Asking candidates health questions before a job offer is made is unlawful and can be reported to the Equality Advice and Support Service.

If you are asked about your mental health during the application process and then don’t receive an offer, you may want to challenge this as it can be classed as discrimination on the grounds of disability.

2. Are there situations when an employer can ask about my mental health before making a job offer?

There are a few situations when an employer may need to ask about your health before a job offer is made, these can include:

  • To find out if you can take an assessment for a job.
  • To find out if you need reasonable adjustments to the application process.
  • To find out whether you will be able to do the requirements of the job, whilst they also consider any reasonable adjustments that may need to be made.
  • To find out if applications are coming from a diverse group of people.
  • To establish if you have the particular disability required for the job.
  • To assess you for national security purposes.

For example, a lawful question about your health and whether this affects your ability to do the job would be; if you were applying for a job erecting scaffolding and the employer asked questions at the application stage regarding disability, health and whether the applicant has a fear of heights.

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3. What questions can I be asked about my mental health once I’ve been offered a job?

Once you receive a job offer then your new employer is lawfully able to ask you questions about your health.

If your new employer asks questions about your mental health and subsequently becomes concerned due to a mental health issue you may not be able to carry out your job, then it is the employer’s responsibility to seek further advice from your doctor or occupational health.

Should your new employer ask a question about your mental health and then withdraw the job offer without first consulting advice or conducting a further assessment or investigation, then this may be seen direct discrimination and therefore unlawful.

Mental Health is a really important HR issue in the workplace and If you need any help or advice on how to approach it, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Be prepared – 5 killer interview questions and why you should ask them…

Here at HR Revolution we are no strangers to conducting a few interviews, some on behalf of our clients for various different roles and some internally for us, but whoever it is, one thing I’m sure of is that the person sitting across the table in an interview is more nervous than we are!!

So, we want to help you, the interviewee to calm your nerves and be confident, and the biggest part of that is being prepared. Your potential employer, will pick up very quickly whether you have come prepared by asking lots of questions about the company like, “so tell me what you know about us?” or “what did you think of our website?” or maybe, “who do you think our biggest competitors are?” and of course they would, they want to know that you are genuinely interested in working for them. This leads me nicely on to one of the most important question they will ask you… “Have you got any questions for me?”…

This one question will really show whether or not you really want to be part of their team, so please do not answer like this… “no I think you’ve already answered all my questions” or even worse just sit there like a bowl of jelly spluttering out the odd “err” and “um” followed by “nope, all good”!! What are you thinking!!! The interviewer has just seen how unprepared you are, and no matter how good your experience, you just don’t cut the mustard! So, let us help you.

Stand out from the crowd and ask questions that show you’ve prepared. To get you started, HR Revolution have compiled 5 questions that we would liked to be asked:

  1. How would a member of your team describe working here?
    How the interviewer answers gives a good insight into the company culture and working practices, it should fill you with enthusiasm, if not you have to question if this really is the right role for you.
  2. If I’m successful what will my first month look like?
    Shows that you are keen to get off to a great start in reaching your objectives and helps you determine how the good the onboarding process is.
  3. What makes someone successful in your team?
    This will give you a good idea of what your new employer is expecting of you in your new roll and it should be a good indicator of how they would like to see you perform and what you should be concentrating on.
  4. Can you explain how performance will be measured for this role?
    Shows that you understand and accept that you will have responsibilities that you will be accountable for and that you want to succeed.
  5. What do you like most about working for this company?
    Helps you get a better insight into what it’s like to work at the company. If the interviewer can’t answer this straight away, then maybe warning bells should sound.  They should love a question like this, as it will give them a chance to talk about themselves on a personal level and why they love their employer! After all you don’t you want to work with people that love what they do!!

Good luck, this is your chance to demonstrate you have given the company and role real thought and hopefully leave the interview with a great impression of yourself as the right candidate for the job.

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Invited to an interview? 8 tips on what NOT to do!

Has anyone been watching “The job interview” on Channel 4? No… well if you are looking for a job, you should, it is a fantastic guide on what NOT to do in an interview!  Ok, I’m being a little unfair as there have been a couple of people who came across very genuine and likeable, even if a little out of practice at interviewing. There are some though, that seriously just need to a) get some manners and b) use a bit of common sense!

We have blogged before with interview tips and do’s and don’ts, but for those that missed it, here are our top tips on what not to do if you want to land your dream job.

  1. Don’t be late – We shouldn’t really need to tell you this as everyone knows this is probably one of the worst things you can do;  first impressions and all that.  So do whatever it takes to arrive in plenty of time, even if that means being ridiculously early and going and grabbing a coffee somewhere to prepare. That leads me on to the next point…
  1. Not being prepared! There really is no excuse for this, the internet is a wonderful thing and there is literally nothing you can’t find on it, company size, organisation charts, company turnover and most importantly a companies ethos. Remember they will ask you questions based on it, so do your homework.  And please, please, please, remember the name of who is interviewing you!  Sound silly, well in one episode of the above mentioned programme the interviewer asked “what’s my name” to which the interviewee replied “err, ooh I’m sure I know it, I’m not very good and retaining information”… Really!!!
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of body language – after all it is telling the interviewer a story of its very own! I bet your mum told you to sit up straight and not swing on your chair, and she was right! You need to look interested and engaged not lazy and uninterested. Enter with a smile, a firm (but not aggressive) handshake and maintain steady eye contact, and watch for how they are reacting to you, as they are giving off signals too.
  1. Don’t tell porkies! Of course you want to showcase yourself, but remember to do this based on the skills you have and not those you don’t. For example, don’t tell them you are fluent in French when really you scraped a C in your GCSE, how embarrassing would it be when they strike up a conversation and all you can manage is Oui Oui mon petit fleur! The chances are if you land the job you will be asked to demonstrate these wonderful skills and if they aren’t quite as true as you have said, well you’re going to look a bit silly aren’t you?!?!
  1. Don’t go on and on and on and … oh you get the picture. Keep your answers short and relevant and know the point you are trying to make, if you just ramble on for the sake of saying something, the interviewer will quickly switch off and you will forget what you were answering in the first place. Preparation before the interview will help you have some answers ready prepared, allowing you to speak clearly with confidence.
  1. Don’t be rude… Like I tell my kids, pay attention when someone is talking to you! Checking your watch or your phone constantly is just not acceptable behaviour. And just think about the way you are talking and how it is coming across; don’t interrupt and be argumentative if you don’t agree with something just listen and formulate your response appropriately.
  1. Don’t insult or criticise your current employer. It really is not professional to talk about how rubbish your boss is, what they do wrong or why you hate them so just don’t do it. If they ask you why you are looking to move jobs, talk about the positives of the new position or career progression, not about how you can’t wait to get out where you are “cos it does your head in!”.
  1. Not asking any questions – Please, whatever you do, don’t make “what is the salary and holiday allowance” the first one!  Interviews are as much for you to decide whether you want to work for that company, as it is for them to see if you are right for the role.  So again be prepared and have some well thought out questions ready; some examples might be asking what they are looking for in the new hire, or how do you see the company growing and how will this role contribute to that? They show that you are genuinely interested in being part of and contributing to a growing business.

Lastly I would say, be yourself, if you get the job surely you want to know that was partly down to them liking you as a person as well as your skills, try and be a bit more confident in the interview and show some of your winning personality.

And a parting note, make sure you follow up. I’m not suggesting you start becoming their stalker but an email to thank them for their time, reiterate that you are the right candidate for the job and you’re happy to answer any further questions… Just don’t come across too desperate.

We hope the above tips are helpful, so good luck and go nail that interview!

Why not download below our FREE guide “21 commonly asked interview questions” and be as prepared as you possibly can.

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