Interviewers come under fire after survey reveals eight out of ten are guilty of asking illegal questions. 91 percent of hiring managers and interviewers do not think it is illegal to ask where a candidate’s accent is from. 88 percent do not think it is illegal to ask what year they were born. Contributor Ricky Martin, (winner of The Apprentice) and MD – Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS).
Three in five (59 percent) hiring managers asked what year a candidate graduated. Over half (51 percent) asked if the interviewee was in a relationship or married and 42 percent asked if the applicant had plans to start a family. An alarming 85 percent of interviewers have admitted asking illegal questions during the interview process, new research by UK science and technology recruitment specialists, Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS) has today revealed. The research also unveiled confusion among hiring managers over what can and cannot be asked, with nearly half (47 percent) saying they have never had official training on what questions are legal and illegal to ask in an interview.
The findings highlight a lack of interview training among those responsible for hiring staff. Just a third (36 percent) of those at a junior level of responsibility said they had received training, compared to 56 percent of those at director level and 72 percent of business owners. The Apprentice winner Ricky Martin, who set up his own recruitment firm (HRS) after winning the reality TV show in 2012, called on Britain’s bosses to sharpen up their act when it comes to interviews – to give all applicants an equal chance.
He said: “It’s pretty shocking to unearth that such illegal practices are happening every day in the hiring process. It is imperative British bosses are educated on work place practice, to put a stop to such shocking and illegal interview practices which lead to unprecedented inequality. It’s also really important a light is shone on what is and isn’t acceptable in the recruitment process to give prospective employees the best possible chance of success at the interview stage.”
Over three-quarters (77 percent) of interviewers surveyed said they do not think it is illegal to ask, ‘Are you planning on going on maternity / paternity leave?’ with 40 percent thinking the question is acceptable and 36 percent thinking it is inappropriate – but not illegal. However, 42 percent of male hiring managers think it is an ‘acceptable’ question compared to 24 percent of female hiring chiefs.
From an employee point of view, the survey went on to show that one in five (19 percent) feel they have been mistreated in an interview. And, of those, 48 percent tried to ignore it, 34 percent told the interviewer how they felt, 19 percent walked out and just 17 percent made a complaint to the hiring company. Twenty-three percent of men and 16 percent of women said they had felt mistreated in an interview, with twice as many men (43 percent) as women (22 percent) telling the interviewer how they felt.
Mr Martin continued: “This research isn’t about suggesting the recruitment process is made easy for interviewees, but ensuring all prospective employees are given a fair, legal and honest opportunity to secure a job based on their skills and ability not their gender, personal choices or maternity/paternity choices!”
By law, employers cannot ask people about their ‘protected characteristics’ in an interview as this could lead to discrimination (unless it is a positive action to help people with a protected characteristic.
Protected characteristics’ include marital status, whether people have or plan to have children, health and disability, age, becoming or being a transsexual person, race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, belief or lack of religion / belief, sex and sexual orientation.
 By law, employers cannot ask people about their ‘protected characteristics’ in an interview as this could lead to discrimination (unless it is a positive action to help people with a protected characteristic.
‘Protected characteristics’ include marital status, whether people have or plan to have children, health and disability, age, becoming or being a transsexual person, race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, belief or lack of religion / belief, sex and sexual orientation.