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Illegal Interview Questions and Guidelines:



Not Permitted



Would you be able to start work at 8am?

How far is your commute?


Are you over the age of 18?

Aren't you too young to hold a position at this level? Don't you want to earn more money at this age? How much longer are you planning to work before you retire?

Citizenship or National Origin

Are you legally able to work in the U.K.? What languages can you speak/read/write fluently?

Are you a U.K. citizen? How long have you lived here? What is your native tongue? Where were you born? What country are you from?

Employers are allowed to check that candidates can legally work in the U.K. and are also allowed to check their fluency in English, if that is a requirement for the job.


Employers may ask about convictions and imprisonments if they are related to sensitive positions where the conviction may have a direct impact on the job, such as working with children or the elderly.

Employers are not permitted to ask about arrests that did not end with convictions or about participation in demonstrations.

Candidates are legally allowed to hide any convictions that are "spent" under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.


Accurately describe the functions of the job and then ask the candidate how they might perform these duties. Ask the candidate if there are any adjustments you could make to assist them.

Do you have a disability? Wouldn't your disability make it difficult for you to carry out this job? How did you get your disability?

An employer is obliged to make reasonable adjustments for disabilities, so may ask about a candidate's ability to perform the functions of the job.

Family Status

Are you available to work overtime or travel, if necessary?

Do you have any children? When do you plan to have children? How old are your children? Will childcare arrangements be a problem? Will work clash with your family obligations?

Height or Weight

Accurately describe the job then ask the candidate if they can perform all of the functions.

How tall are you? How much do you weigh?

If you can definitively prove a specific height and/or weight is required for the job, then it is fine to ask, but this is usually unlikely.

Lifestyle Choices


How much do you drink? Do you smoke or do illegal drugs?

Employers can set out rules prohibiting the use of alcohol and recreational drugs, but only if it affects the workplace and the candidate's ability to perform the job. The candidates' activities outside of work are not the company's business, but there are certain industries that can legally carry out random drug or alcohol tests.

Marital Status

Are any of your references or qualifications under another name?

Are you married? Are you single? Do you have any children? When do you plan to get married?

Memberships/ Affiliations

Are you a member of a professional organization?

Which trade union are you a member of? Will you join this trade union if you get the job?

Questions about memberships and affiliations should only be asked if they are directly related to any possible problems that may impact job performance.


How long do you plan on staying with us? Do you have any leave planned? What are your long-term career goals?

Are you pregnant? Are you trying to have a family? If you went on maternity leave, would you come back to work?

Even if a candidate is obviously pregnant, it is not acceptable to ask any questions about this subject. You can still describe the job and then ask if they can perform all functions.

Race or Color


All questions about color and race.

Religion or Beliefs

Accurately describe the requirements for the job and ask if the candidate can meet them, such as working a weekend shift.

What religion do you practice? Do you practice a religion? How do you practice your religion? What religious holidays do you observe?

Employers should make reasonable adjustments for a candidate's religion once they have been offered the job, but they are not obliged to if it compromises the job and the business.

Sex, Orientation, or Gender Identity


What gender do you identify as? This role has usually been performed by a man/woman, how do you think you will handle it?

Avoid all questions relating to gender and sexual orientation.

Illegal interview questions pdf download

Illegal Interview Questions Table Download:

Download all the illegal interview questions above in a PDF and use them to create your own guidelines.

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What interview question topics are illegal?

  • Race, color, or national origin.
  • Religion.
  • Sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
  • Pregnancy status.
  • Disability.
  • Age.
  • Citizenship.
  • Marital status or number of children.

What questions are illegal to ask during an interview?

  • Do you go to church?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • How old are you?
  • What country are you from?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Are you married?

What is pre-employment discrimination?

Pre-employment discrimination happens when a potential employer discriminates against a candidate during the hiring process. This discrimination may be based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors. This still counts as discrimination, even if an employment relationship has not started.

Are there exceptions to illegal interview questions?

In cases where an employer is worried that a person may not be able to perform the job due to health or disabilities, it is appropriate to ask how they would perform it.

Can you ask a candidate how old they are?

Employers are only allowed to ask candidates if they are over 18 years old and legally allowed to work.

What are some examples of illegal interview questions?

  • When do you plan to retire?
  • What is your religion?
  • Are you comfortable working for a male/female boss?
  • Have you had any recent health issues?

What are the best interview questions to ask candidates?

Check out how to interview candidates, interview questions to ask, and our interview questions directory for instructions and interview question ideas.

  • What is your current (or previous) salary?
  • What is your expected salary?
  • What do you expect to accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?
  • What people or companies are doing the best job in our industry? Why?
  • Why are you leaving your current role?

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