What questions should an employer avoid asking candidates at interview?

Employers should avoid asking questions that could suggest that their decision-making could be influenced by discriminatory assumptions, particularly related to any of the protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, for example the candidate's sex, marital status, disability or religion.

For example, employers should avoid questions about a candidate's children and childcare arrangements; general family commitments; partner's occupation and mobility; and actual or potential absences from work for family reasons. Such questions tend to be viewed by employment tribunals as discriminatory against women because they assume that childcare and other family commitments may have a negative impact on a woman's motivation, commitment to the job, attendance or availability to work overtime. Because such discriminatory assumptions would not be likely to be made about male candidates, questions of this nature are viewed as discriminatory on the ground of sex.

Employers should also avoid asking any questions that would indicate candidates' age or imply that age is a factor that might influence the selection decision.

Additionally, employers should not ask health or disability-related questions at interview unless they are necessary to establish whether or not the job applicant, if recruited, would be capable of performing the key functions and duties of the job.