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Questions an Employers Cannot Ask During an Interview Process

question cannot ask during interview

Recruitment is an ongoing daily activity that is essential for any company. Because with the turnover of employees, job openings are created. Like the other HR processes, the recruitment process itself comprises many steps like finding candidates, referring CVs, calling them, interviewing them, and selecting the promising one. These steps can be challenging for HR. But do you ever think about what an employer can ask and what questions employers cannot ask during an interview process?

But do you ever think about what you can ask and what you cannot ask the candidates during the interview process? You may have come across these questions.

Are these questions enough to test the talent of the candidate?
What if I ask an unnecessary question that can hurt the emotional quotient of the candidate?

Clearly, there are many rules formed which tells which types of questions are not allowed to ask. And the employer doesn’t want the company’s reputation to be disturbed and doesn’t want to offend the candidates on any discriminatory basis.

Here we have stated the laws and illegal questions that should be taken into notice for every screening process the company undergoes.

What are the different laws that prohibit specific interview questions that cannot ask during an interview process?

Remaining obedient to the statutory laws is the fundamental duty of any company to avoid any legal consequences. The labor laws always ensure to build transparent and understanding relations between employee and employer. Similarly, some laws prohibit employers from asking illegal questions to the candidates.

Enacted by the labor law of India, these laws are:

  • Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
  • Minimum Wages Act, 1948
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace, 2013
  • Workers’ Social Security Act, 2009
  • Age Discrimination Act
  • Indian Civil Rights Act, 1955
  • Employees Compensation Act, 1923
  • Payment of Bonus Act, 1965
  • Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

These laws protect the employees based on wages, age and caste discrimination, and other social security acts. These acts don’t allow discrimination between men and women in the workplace and provide them equal benefits.

These laws don’t directly talk about prohibited questions, but they speak about the candidates’ dignity and emotion, and the employer must not breach them. If the employee is hiring candidates, assure them of a productive and healthy environment with no prejudice. And it indeed starts from the time of interviews.

Now let’s consider the different types of questions that the employer cannot ask during the interview process to the candidates.
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What are the Different Questions That are Not Allowed to ask During the Interview Process?

As far as the employer knows the laws that prohibit the questions, it is now their vital responsibility to abide by these. As we discuss some illegal questions that are forbidden, here are some of the sample categories of the topic they need to avoid.

Never ask questions from this list:

1. Age

Though many job criteria have limited age eligibility, employers are never allowed to question the age fact during the ongoing screening process. If some jobs like the armed forces, banking, and other government posts have a limited age factor, it should be mentioned in the job offer. It will help the organizations to be on safer grounds.

Also, employees can defend themselves as government rules on age discrimination. Questions the employer cannot ask might be of these kinds:

Do you fulfill the age criteria as mentioned in the job discrimination?
In which year were you born?
What is your age?
In which you graduated from college?
When did you start working?
Would it be a concern for you to work with younger employees?

2. Caste

Caste discrimination should never be allowed in educational institutions, working premises, and any other places. It is not a subject to consider when considering the talent and capability of an individual.

Though it does not apply to private companies, the employees have constitutional rights to get protection against such discrimination. Below listed are the questions the employer cannot ask.

What religion do you belong to?
Do you receive any type of compensation due to your caste?

3. Gender Bias

The ideology has changed today, but some companies still bifurcate between men’s and women’s jobs. But when a woman has been into space, why to question her in the workplace. Even the employer is not allowed to ask questions on the sexual orientation of an individual.

Furthermore, both men and women have the right to receive the minimum wages as per the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

For instance, you cannot ask these questions.

Will you be able to feel comfortable to work, as we mostly hire men?
What is your sexual orientation?

4. Family Planning

Many hirers wanted to hire male candidates and not females. The main reason being the employers have assumptions that sometimes, female employees will take maternity leave or take care of their small child. Such cases may call for an adjustment of job work.

However, questions related to family planning does not help in analyzing the candidates. It is an illegal question on which a person cannot make a hiring decision, and the employees can defend themselves as it can affirm personal information.

Some type of question the employer are prohibited from asking are

Do you have any thoughts on family planning?
Do you have any children?
When are you going to get married?
Are you pregnant?

5. Financial Status

The status of finances is never related to the hiring decisions, and thus the employer must not ask anything about the family’s financial level. You can get information about credit, debt, previous salary information, and other banking histories by performing a background check, though it is not legal.

The questions an employer must not ask can be :

Have you taken any loans from banks or other agencies?
Have you ever been under debt?
What was your previous salary?

6. Criminal History

The employer must be curious to find the candidate’s history, like where he worked, how much the salary was, his professional profiles on websites, nature, etc. Though, employers don’t have the right to check the criminal data of the candidate. They cannot ask questions like

Do you have any criminal history?
How much have you changed since your crime?

Though it is hard to put trust in them, asking such things is considered to be offensive.

7. Impairment

Your candidate may have some physical disability, but that doesn’t count as a problem. Some people, though, have been through a lot of discouragement, but they can prove to be more effective than others. It is not suitable to ask about these subjects:

Will you be able to submit the expected work?
How will you get comfortable with the working culture?

8. Nationality

The Indian Civil Rights act never allows the employer to ask about a candidate’s or his family’s native region or nationality. The central questions that are prohibited from asking during an interview are:

What is your nationality?
From where do you belong?
Where is your family from?
Will you be able to communicate with other teammates?
Are you comfortable with the language?

9. Genetic Information

The employees cannot be asked about genetic information related subjects. It is the employers’ primary duty not to force them to question theirs and their family’s medical history. Here are some of the questions that the employer cannot ask during the interview.

Do you have any medical history?
Will your medical condition be problematic for the work?
Is there any family medical history?
What are your thoughts on medical checkups?

Ending Thoughts

Despite the curiosity, employers cannot ask for some illegal information to finalize the screening process. The interview process is an opportunity to represent the company’s thoughts to the candidates, and you don’t want to destroy this chance by asking some uncomfortable and offensive questions. Thus make sure you represent an interactive culture and not some old-fashioned beliefs that exist in your company.

The best way you can do this is to follow the legal laws enacted by the government. These laws not only support the employees but also avoid the threat to the company’s existence.

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