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Interviewing, what am I allowed to ask now?

(44 Posts)
Imissmyboy Wed 18-Oct-17 21:49:46

I have been tasked with finding an assistant so that I can go part time in future.
It's over 16 years since I last interviewed anyone. The job will attract mainly young women between 17 and 25 I would think. I know there are certain things you can't ask these days about children, plans for children childcare options etc. Where is the best place for me to check what I can and can't ask?
(I remember being asked at interviews at that age if I was planning on having any children, but it was a long time ago!)

shakemysilliesout Wed 18-Oct-17 21:54:11

Do you have an HR department who could advise? Surely just ask about the role and their skills. Would you ask any of those questions if it were a man? I am curious, you don't have to answer. Perhaps share your works flexible working policy so that this is clear?

Caulk Wed 18-Oct-17 21:56:00

Are you interviewing with someone else? We arent allowed to interview alone. It helps to have someone else to discuss questions with beforehand.

AlternativeTentacle Wed 18-Oct-17 21:57:13

The job will attract mainly young women between 17 and 25 I would think

Hows about start with not assuming exactly who it will attract, and make sure that you ask about the job, and don't ask a question of a woman that you wouldn't ask of a man.


MrsDc7 Wed 18-Oct-17 21:57:57

There's no reason for you to ask anything about childcare. You're interviewing them for the job. If they accept the job along with the terms and conditions (hours etc) then childcare is up to them to sort out. You may hire someone without kids who is caring for elderly parents or a disabled partner. None of that should affect them getting the job. Look at the ACAS website for guidance. You need to be careful the questions you ask aren't in breach of The Equality Act and don't discriminate against any of the protected characteristics

twattymctwatterson Wed 18-Oct-17 21:58:11

You are allowed to ask questions related to the job and the candidate's suitability to the role - qualifications, experience etc. There really isn't any need to ask anything else.

MrsDc7 Wed 18-Oct-17 21:58:58

And PLEASE don't ask if they plan on having any children!

C0untDucku1a Wed 18-Oct-17 21:59:52

Wtf would you ask about their sex life?!

If you wouldnt ask a man the question, dont ask a woman.

PurpleDaisies Wed 18-Oct-17 22:08:03

If you wouldn't ask a man the question, don't ask a woman.

Hear hear.

otherdoor Wed 18-Oct-17 22:12:20

I'm confused, are you asking how you can weed out any candidates who might get pregnant soon?? It reaalllyy doesn't work like that...

topcat2014 Wed 18-Oct-17 22:15:17

I (male) have never been asked anything about children / partners / other dependents - although I will have worn a wedding ring during some of these interviews.

Therefore, no need to ask any of these type of questions of any female candidates.

Slimthistime Wed 18-Oct-17 22:16:24

it might have been 16 years, but there's always common sense!

Talk to HR if you need to learn the rules but focus on how well (or not) the candidates might do the job.

Also don't make assumptions about which age group or sex will apply.

sheesh, to quote a pp!

fatfingeredfran Wed 18-Oct-17 22:16:47

Might be an idea to think about what you’d like to ask, and then seeing if those questions are ok?

There are so many things you can’t ask that it would be a very long list if we were to list it for you!

But to be honest, if your questions are just about their skills and experience, and ambitions/aims in relation to work then that should be ok. Just ask absolutely nothing personal.

TittyGolightly Wed 18-Oct-17 22:18:23

You can ask about childcare and children. It wouldn't be wise to, but as long as you asked everyone it wouldn't be discriminatory.

WeAllHaveWings Wed 18-Oct-17 22:18:52

I have more problems fitting my elderly widowed mum’s, daily problems and her hospital appointments around work that I ever did with my ds. Thankfully I have a boss who is in the same position and understands completely.

Fretnworry Wed 18-Oct-17 22:26:57

There is a great range of info, advice and I think a helpline too which you can access via the acas website.

It's excellent and very fair and measured. And free!

Good luck!

RC1234 Wed 18-Oct-17 22:29:47

You can't ask anything that you wouldn't want to ask a man. Direct questions on plans for having a baby or child care are off limits.

Best to use open questions e.g. What are your future ambitions? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Describe how you organise your working day? Can you give an example of when something did not go to plan - what did you do? Why do you want this job? What attracts you to a career in X industry?

The wording of questions should be equally applicable to all candidates. People will try to tell you what they think you want to hear. Listen to their answers carefully - do the answers sound authentic? Smiling and nodding in agreement to set them at ease sometimes helps encourage a candidate to reveal their true personality/ needs/ desires.

daisychain01 Thu 19-Oct-17 04:27:01

You can ask about childcare and children. It wouldn't be wise to, but as long as you asked everyone it wouldn't be discriminatory

Oh dear! Yes it would be discriminatory if you garner information then make decisions that are discriminatory. If 2 of your candidate say they have DC and 2 do not, and you rule out both the candidates with DC —because you were stupid enough to ask that question in the 21st Century— then you are allowing irrelevant information to influence your selection process.

insancerre Thu 19-Oct-17 06:22:10

We have a set of questions that we ask all candidates
Maybe google and find some suitable questions that you coukd use
We also interview in pairs, never alone

Imissmyboy Thu 19-Oct-17 06:40:04

Ok, I knew that this would get some of you on your high horses!
We are a small company and don't have a HR department.
I am comparing how things are now, to how it was when I was interviewed ie if you were female and of child bearing age, then you were asked about your plans on having children. If you read my post, I said I KNOW there are things you are not allowed to ask these days, I didn't say I was going to ask them! Sheesh!

Thank you to those who took the time to point me in the right direction for finding out , there are some helpful points amongst the replies.

MrsDc7 Thu 19-Oct-17 07:01:25

titty that isn't good advice. The issue of childcare wouldn't be relevant to the job so there would be no reason to ask about it. Even if the OP asked everyone about it, it could easily be argued that the people who answered that they needed childcare were discriminated against if someone who just happened to not need childcare got the job

TittyGolightly Thu 19-Oct-17 07:26:17

I did say it wouldn't be wise to. hmm

MrsDc7 Thu 19-Oct-17 07:30:27

You did, but you also said it wouldn't be discriminatory

MrsDc7 Thu 19-Oct-17 07:30:44


somewhereovertherain Thu 19-Oct-17 07:31:41

The rule as far as I’m concerned and confirmed by our external HR is that you must as the same questions so if it’s about childcare you should be asking everyone that. Age is another one that comes up but again as long as you ask everyone and don’t make a decision based on age that discriminates you can ask the question.

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