Interview Questions You Really Shouldn’t Ask

Interview Questions You Really Shouldn’t Ask

30 Oct 14:00 by Melissa Cavanagh


I know many of you are interviewing candidates for retail and management jobs on a regular basis, but have you thought about the questions you’re asking? While it is logical to use the interview to try to get every bit of info you can to help assess whether the applicant is right for the role and the company, the interview isn’t a free pass to ask anything you want!

Here are some topics that are frowned upon and not allowed to be asked,

  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual Preference
  • Plans for children
The sad fact is that there are candidates that are still being asked questions specific to the above during interviews. Now, we all hate rules (well, most of us), but there are some things that you just can’t ask a candidate. All of these topics can easily cross into the territory of discrimination and should therefore be avoided at all costs. 

Here are some questions that should never come up in an interview – hopefully you’ll read them, laugh and think why on Earth would anyone ask that?! If not, then hopefully I’ve saved you any potential issues in the future! 

  • Questions about a candidate’s family and plans, for example: Are you married? Do you have children? What childcare do you have in place?
  • Questions regarding someone’s age? Their health? Their drinking or smoking habits?
  • Questions about race and religion?

You can find more information on this here. 


Sometimes it can be easy to stray into the grey areas and finding yourself asking interview questions you shouldn’t. Some questions may seem innocent enough, but if there’s even the slightest doubt that they could be inappropriate or unintentionally somewhat discriminative, it’s always safest to steer clear. We can find ourselves in this situation quite easily, because it’s our job to get to know people, right? Just remember it’s ok to want to engage and really get to know your candidates, however be cautious that your intentions may not always be viewed as firstly and honestly intended. Do you have any other examples? I’d love to hear your thoughts.