Recruiting? Here’s One Interview Question You Can’t Ask Anymore

Interview in progress

If (despite the doom and gloom out there) you’re recruiting staff for your business then you should know that there have been some significant changes to what you can and cannot ask following changes to UK law in October 2010. And one of them in particular may surprise you.

Some old favourites still persist though. Candidates at job interviews could pretty much guarantee to get asked three things below. In fact part of the reason some interviewers ask these or similar questions is to check how prepared a candidate is for the interview. I’m sure these will sound familiar:

  • Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

As well as these sorts of questions and job specific information of course, you’ll want to determine how reliable the candidates are likely to be are and how much they want the job.” You’ll try to gauge their determination and motivations. As part of the recruitment process you may also want to know what their attendance record is like at their current job or at the very least attempt to find this out whilst checking for references. What many managers don’t know is that you cannot ask about attendance or health anymore during the interview process or you could be in breach of the Equality Act 2010. Remember that this will include checking of attendance records for staff going for promotions or other internal roles – not just new hires.

So, what can you do? Employment lawyers recommend that you make all job offers conditional. Conditional on satisfactory references and conditional on the candidate being fit enough to do the job. Be aware though that if someone has a disability you can only reject them for that reason if the skill/task they cannot carry out is intrinsic to the job. If for example they had an illness like epilepsy it’s likely that they would be unsuitable for a job as a roofer as working at heights is intrinsic to the job.

Anyone responsible for recruitment interviewing needs to ensure that they are up to date with changes to the legislation. Take a look at the Five Approaches Handling The Equality ACT article on this blog to consider some options. Flow Learning offer a range of online learning courses covering topics such as this – more info here

Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not intended to give advice on specific cases and if you are in any doubt about your employment/recruitment situation then you should consult a specialist lawyer.

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