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Is agency allowed to ask why I have been work part time?

(9 Posts)
cflops Fri 19-Jul-13 14:33:14

I've been working part-time for the past 6 years as I have an 8 year old. I am now applying for a full time job. The recruitment agency has asked me why I have been working part time and why I want to go part time. Are they allowed to ask this? What should my answer be?

chanie44 Fri 19-Jul-13 15:08:35

It's probably so that when they are 'selling' your cv to clients, they know what you've been up to in terms of career. They can answer any questions the employer may have, especial if it isn't obvious.

Personally, I don't think it matters how many hours you worked. However, you need to remember the agency is working for the client, not you, and they will be asking you questions so that they don't send unsuitable candidates to employers. In sure it wasn't the only question they asked you.

PoppyAmex Fri 19-Jul-13 15:13:29

Their client will ask them that question, so they need to be able to answer when presenting your application.

The question is relevant because a lot of candidates have "temporary" reasons for wanting to work particular hours and then change their minds when their circumstances change.

Their client might want to make sure you're "committed" to the hours they're advertising.

flowery Fri 19-Jul-13 18:22:51

Yes they can ask. There aren't lists of questions people are not allowed to ask.

You could refuse to answer if you like but I can't imagine that would be a good idea.

What's your concern with them knowing this? Perfectly reasonable to want to understand the reasons behind wanting a change like that.

Crinkle77 Wed 24-Jul-13 16:19:27

Flowery, I thought there were certain questions that a potential employer cannot ask in an interview like if you intend to have children? Perhaps the OP is concerned that employer might not want to hire somone who has young children or to be seen as not committed if they have only ever worked part-time.

LIZS Wed 24-Jul-13 16:22:11

There are all sorts of reasons why you may not work ft for a while such as caring , childcare, retrain , to work on other projects etc . As long as your explanation for a move to ft is committed then it shouldn't be an obstacle.

froomeonthebroom Wed 24-Jul-13 16:27:26

The agency want to see if you might consider working full rather than part time. It means they can put you forward for more jobs if you could be flexible re hours.

I don't think it's anything sinister! grin

badguider Wed 24-Jul-13 16:35:19

I'm a bit stubborn about revealing too much to potential employers so I would probably say "part-time hours suited my personal situation at the time but now that circumstances have changed I am looking forward to working full time hours again"
If pressed I might say "caring responsibilities at home" but I wouldn't tell them about my children because I hate the assumptions many employers make about mothers.

flowery Wed 24-Jul-13 17:50:54

No, there's no list of question employer or anyone else are not allowed to ask. They are not allowed to discriminate, and obviously asking women about intention to have children is likely to expose an employer to a potential claim.

But this isn't that. A recruitment agency is considering putting the OP forward for a role and wants to understand the reasons for the change in desired working hours.

Anyway, as this question was last week, I think it's fair to assume the OP is one of those who asks for advice but doesn't bother coming back if she doesn't like what is said... hmmgrin

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