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Asked age again during interview!

  • 28-03-2021 9:53pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 37 ✭✭✭ Rotting Carrot


    This has happened before during an interview a while back, in which I declined to answer. I think the result made the interview awkward.

    It happened again the other day. I felt comfortable enough with the guy interviewing me and it was quite a bit into the interview. He said it as "Would you mind telling me how old you are?". Because of the way he asked, I decided to answer, and I then joked saying "seeing as you said 'if you don't mind'? He then said he didn't like to offend people, but straight after that he said "married? kids?". With my guard down, I answered. As I do have a thing about this I felt quite bothered by it, as well as the fact that I answered. I made sure this didn't show for the rest of the interview. As it happens the answer probably worked well for me, but that's not the point.

    What's the point in this being against the law if they're no way of complaining it. Are the career coaches who say "oh they'll never ask you that because that's illegal" as naive as I think they are? It might sound like I'm complaining about nothing as I've since been offered the position, but when I think back to the moment he said "married? kids?" it makes me feel violated. He didn't even phrase it as a proper sentence. He did not seem like the sort who doesn't know that he's not supposed to be asking these things. I mean, what if it was a woman of child bearing age being asked that question.

    Funily enough I think I'm about to be offered an almost identical position elsewhere, and right now it feels like this will be a factor in my decision between the two.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,501 ✭✭✭✭ CIARAN_BOYLE


    There's two possibilities

    1. The interviewer makes friendly conversation
    2. The interviewer wants personal information that he can discriminate based on

    Either is a possibility and it's hard to judge which it is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,522 ✭✭✭✭ Strazdas


    As far as I know, an interviewer is not supposed to ask your age (unless there was some highly specific reason related to the vacancy). If it's the type of job that could be done by a wide spectrum of ages, then that question is bang out of order (no more than he could ask you about your marital status, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity etc).


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,599 ✭✭✭ SouthWesterly


    You can call the WRC to make a complaint should you not get the job.
    Did the interviewer make notes of the answer?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,934 ✭✭✭ Pauliedragon


    I've been asked several times (early 40s) it doesn't bother me but I can understand why employers want to know even though it is illegal. It's a tough one I suppose as employers look at people like me and think does this guy have young kids, school runs, having to leave early because a child might be sick etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,934 ✭✭✭ Augme


    What's the point in this being against the law if they're no way of complaining it.

    But there is a way of complaining. Have you complained yet? Did you complain the last time you were asked the question or take a case against them?

    I know you got offered this job so the idea of complaining isn't ideal, but it's incorrect to say there is no way to complain.

    There's a whole system set up to deal with discrimination.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,318 ✭✭✭ JustAThought


    I've been asked several times (early 40s) it doesn't bother me but I can understand why employers want to know even though it is illegal. It's a tough one I suppose as employers look at people like me and think does this guy have young kids, school runs, having to leave early because a child might be sick etc.

    I’ve decided that the next company that asks me - or what year I did my leaving cert in another favourite - and didn’t give me the job will be rewarded by me finally complaining and taking a case to the workplace relations commission. They really should be running ads on it now - it happens so often - its totally disheartening - and illegal.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,934 ✭✭✭ Pauliedragon


    I’ve decided that the next company that asks me - or what year I did my leaving cert in another favourite - and didn’t give me the job will be rewarded by me finally complaining and taking a case to the workplace relations commission. They really should be running ads on it now - it happens so often - its totally disheartening - and illegal.
    I agree with you 100%


  • Registered Users Posts: 214 ✭✭ PoisonIvyBelle


    I had a boss years ago who was very outspoken about his reluctance to hire women in their 30s because he was convinced they'd fcuk off on maternity leave after getting the job. He actually said it in an interview to a lady who did get the job, but only because she told him she already had 2 kids and didn't want more. Even then, he wanted to know who'd be looking after them and if she'd need time off. He even told me he was on the fence about her because of that. Absolute prick to deal with and I don't know how he got away with it. I believe he'd been sent for "management training" (pretty sure this was a bit of "cop the **** on" training) by HR after I left there.
    TBH this is very much a thing in recruitment too with both men and women, they are wiser about obviously asking age but they'll do their best to work it out and it will affect whether you get put forward for a job.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,981 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    I’ve decided that the next company that asks me - or what year I did my leaving cert in another favourite - and didn’t give me the job will be rewarded by me finally complaining and taking a case to the workplace relations commission. They really should be running ads on it now - it happens so often - its totally disheartening - and illegal.
    It's not illegal to ask, it's illegal to discriminate based on the answer. So it makes sense that interviewers should never open themselves up to the accusation by asking for their own sakes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 964 ✭✭✭ LimeFruitGum


    Is this person going to be your line manager? Did you interview with other managers? I would assume that guy know they shouldn’t ask, but are kind of banking on you not saying anything.

    I have never been asked about my marital status or if I had kids, but one of my friends was asked about her plans 15 years ago when interviewing at a rural semi state. She had just gotten engaged, but she would be savvy enough not to bring up personal details. I remember she rang me afterwards because she was so taken aback by those questions.

    I did have someone make a clichéd ****ty joke about my home town in an interview years ago, and I wish I had the presence of mind at the time to walk out. I didn’t get the job, but it is probably just as well.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,522 ✭✭✭✭ Strazdas


    I've been asked several times (early 40s) it doesn't bother me but I can understand why employers want to know even though it is illegal. It's a tough one I suppose as employers look at people like me and think does this guy have young kids, school runs, having to leave early because a child might be sick etc.

    But if they pass you over for those reasons, then they have discriminated against you. That's the whole point of having employment equality legislation.

    No point in trying to see it from their point of view. If they're discriminating against you, then who else are they discriminating against?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 37 ✭✭✭ Rotting Carrot


    or what year I did my leaving cert in another favourite
    That's usually on people's CV? Is that question illegal too though?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 37 ✭✭✭ Rotting Carrot


    I did have someone make a clichéd ****ty joke about my home town in an interview years ago, and I wish I had the presence of mind at the time to walk out.
    It's the last thing we think we'd have to prepare for before an interview. It's amazing how people go into a different frame of mind when they're being interviewed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,934 ✭✭✭ Pauliedragon


    Strazdas wrote: »
    But if they pass you over for those reasons, then they have discriminated against you. That's the whole point of having employment equality legislation.

    No point in trying to see it from their point of view. If they're discriminating against you, then who else are they discriminating against?
    I understand that but how would you prove it? All they have to say is sorry but we've found somebody more suitable for the role. I'm not defending companies but it's a pretty easy law to get around unless some dope decides to tell you it's your age that prevented you from getting the job and even then unless it's in writing it's your word against theirs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,970 ✭✭✭ blindsider


    TheChizler wrote: »
    It's not illegal to ask, it's illegal to discriminate based on the answer. So it makes sense that interviewers should never open themselves up to the accusation by asking for their own sakes.

    Why would someone ask if they're not going to discriminate? Asking a question leads to an answer that the interviewer then uses to help make a decision - if not, why ask?

    People are trained in Manual Handling, customer service, complaint handling, HACCP, SafePass, "How to use the Photocopier/Printer/Coffee machine"....but not how to conduct an interview within the bounds of the law....?

    It's a joke, and the direct/indirect discrimination should be called out every time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,501 ✭✭✭✭ CIARAN_BOYLE


    Strazdas wrote: »
    But if they pass you over for those reasons, then they have discriminated against you. That's the whole point of having employment equality legislation.

    No point in trying to see it from their point of view. If they're discriminating against you, then who else are they discriminating against?

    Who says they are passing anyone over. Let me give an example.

    A lot of people don't put dates on cvs. Instead they mention 3 years experience as a trainee 5 years experience somewhere else.

    If there's 15 years experience and a 4 year degree on a cv and someone looks 30 asking someone's age isn't for the purpose of discriminating. It's fact checking. If they answer and say they are 30 they are probably lying about their experience. If it turns out the person is actually 37 and just looks a bit younger then there is no problem.

    There are a few other valid reasons to ask age but they are rare.

    For the record it's not illegal to ask someone's age. It is illegal to discriminate based on age. It's rare that an interviewer needs to know your age in an interview for a legitimate reason so it's usual not to ask the question.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,981 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    blindsider wrote: »
    Why would someone ask if they're not going to discriminate? Asking a question leads to an answer that the interviewer then uses to help make a decision - if not, why ask?

    People are trained in Manual Handling, customer service, complaint handling, HACCP, SafePass, "How to use the Photocopier/Printer/Coffee machine"....but not how to conduct an interview within the bounds of the law....?

    It's a joke, and the direct/indirect discrimination should be called out every time.
    They might be being friendly, curious, naive, malicious or all of the above. My point is it's not illegal to ask like some people have mentioned. Stupid yes if you don't go on to hire them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,522 ✭✭✭✭ Strazdas


    Who says they are passing anyone over. Let me give an example.

    A lot of people don't put dates on cvs. Instead they mention 3 years experience as a trainee 5 years experience somewhere else.

    If there's 15 years experience and a 4 year degree on a cv and someone looks 30 asking someone's age isn't for the purpose of discriminating. It's fact checking. If they answer and say they are 30 they are probably lying about their experience. If it turns out the person is actually 37 and just looks a bit younger then there is no problem.

    There are a few other valid reasons to ask age but they are rare.

    For the record it's not illegal to ask someone's age. It is illegal to discriminate based on age. It's rare that an interviewer needs to know your age in an interview for a legitimate reason so it's usual not to ask the question.

    In that specific case, they could outline their reasons for wanting to know the person's age and say they are trying to work out the discrepancy on the CV. But just dropping a general "Do you mind me asking, how old are you?" into the interview is not on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,196 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    A lot of people don't put dates on cvs. Instead they mention 3 years experience as a trainee 5 years experience somewhere else.

    If there's 15 years experience and a 4 year degree on a cv and someone looks 30 asking someone's age isn't for the purpose of discriminating. It's fact checking. If they answer and say they are 30 they are probably lying about their experience. If it turns out the person is actually 37 and just looks a bit younger then there is no problem.

    There are much better ways to determine if a candidate is truthful than jumping through those hoops, especially since those hoops could land the interviewer in trouble.

    Every manager wants to know your age, or if you are going to leave to have kids, but only a very stupid manager actually asks the question out loud and leaves themselves open to a claim.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,934 ✭✭✭ Augme


    I understand that but how would you prove it? All they have to say is sorry but we've found somebody more suitable for the role. I'm not defending companies but it's a pretty easy law to get around unless some dope decides to tell you it's your age that prevented you from getting the job and even then unless it's in writing it's your word against theirs.


    It's actually quite a difficult law to get around. The issue is people just don't take a case. The burden of proof to prove discrimination did not happen is always important.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,747 ✭✭✭ c.p.w.g.w


    You could always record the interview, Ireland is a one party consent state...inside your jacket pocket, on in your bag...just keep you your bag on you at all times


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,970 ✭✭✭ blindsider


    TheChizler wrote: »
    They might be being friendly, curious, naive, malicious or all of the above. My point is it's not illegal to ask like some people have mentioned. Stupid yes if you don't go on to hire them.

    They might - but they might not....

    I'm not going to get into an argument re Employment law, so I will say this and leave it...the WRC is the place for EL arguments.

    If you ask a question in an interview, it's because you want an answer. That answer is used to help formulate a hiring decision.

    Naïve questions (Malicious???? Seriously??) have no place in an interview setting - it is a quasi-legal environment and any interviewer (and their employer) who fails to recognise this should ensure that they have the number of a good Employment law solicitor - IMO they will need it!


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 7,850 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Jim2007


    Do people actually think for even a minute that an employer will employ someone they don’t want to?

    - passport or similar is usually required

    - age and family details will be needed for pension and insurance

    - Education certificates have dates

    - Employment references

    There is a slim chance you’ll get past the interview, but if they don’t like your face you’ll be gone early in the probation period. Personally I don’t want to waste time and effort on this kind of nonsense.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,937 ✭✭✭✭ Strumms


    I wouldn’t see the point in asking, unless it was that the candidate was obviously late teens or early to mid 60’s...

    I’ve worked a job where a guy from another department was seeking to move into ours, training which 80% was happening outside the country, about 3 trips was costing about 8-10 grand including flights, hotels, food, entertainment allowance, travel - airport taxis, car rental, other sundry expenses .. he was about 62... boss confided in me that he couldn’t justify spending that cash from his budget and having to do the same 3 years later. Again...I think we dodged a bullet with this fella anyway but... I don’t have too much of an issue a company not within to hire if age/experience is a negative factor and will be a burden on the operation and colleagues.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,748 ✭✭✭✭ One eyed Jack


    blindsider wrote: »
    They might - but they might not....

    I'm not going to get into an argument re Employment law, so I will say this and leave it...the WRC is the place for EL arguments.

    If you ask a question in an interview, it's because you want an answer. That answer is used to help formulate a hiring decision.

    Naïve questions (Malicious???? Seriously??) have no place in an interview setting - it is a quasi-legal environment and any interviewer (and their employer) who fails to recognise this should ensure that they have the number of a good Employment law solicitor - IMO they will need it!


    I’m not sure what you mean by a ‘quasi-legal’ environment, interview candidates have the same rights to be protected from unlawful discrimination as employees, it’s very much a legal environment if you want to put it in those terms.

    But you do have a point in saying that an interviewer asks questions because they will use the answers in making their decisions as to who to hire, and if they treat an interview candidate less favourably on any one of the nine grounds (directly or indirectly), then they would have a case to answer for.

    In all cases it’s not just a good idea for an interviewer to keep accurate notes, it’s mandatory in some organisations for people conducting interviews to keep accurate notes (there’s a good reason I stress accurate notes).

    In saying that though, positive discrimination is not unlawful, and providing there are objective criteria set before the interviews are conducted as to the relevant criteria for the successful candidate(s), this can be used as evidence to demonstrate that candidate(s) invited for interview were not treated unfavourably.

    The part where many interviewers lose the run of themselves and forget where they are is generally in the small talk, or if the candidate brings up something related to one of the nine grounds, interviewers are best advised to steer the conversation back to the objective criteria set out in the plan. Just like most people aren’t used to doing interviews, most interviewers aren’t used to doing them either (sometimes it’s a short straw draw, which is the worst way to select an interview panel).

    The issue isn’t so much naive questions as naive interviewers, who should never have been selected to conduct interviews in the first place. In those circumstances it’s true that their employer might do well to have someone advise them on their legal responsibilities, but generally speaking interviewers ask questions because they want to hire a candidate. They’re not looking for reasons not to hire candidates who have been called for interview.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,929 ✭✭✭ NSAman


    Most people will have dates somewhere so you can work it out. Not sure is discrimination is the interviewer is genuinely asking...it depends on why..but hostility could wipe out any good parts of the interview.

    Age for me is not something that bothers me about candidates. Once had a 63 year old interview after going through everyone else. The minute I met him I knew he was the right person and he became the MOST important part of our business.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,099 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    There are much better ways to determine if a candidate is truthful than jumping through those hoops, especially since those hoops could land the interviewer in trouble.

    Every manager wants to know your age, or if you are going to leave to have kids, but only a very stupid manager actually asks the question out loud and leaves themselves open to a claim.

    It's an even more stupid manager that thinks that knowing the age of the candidate is a useful predictor for parental or maternity leave.

    OP - what kind of industry and role were involved here, without identifying yourself of course?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 20,950 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Pawwed Rig


    That's usually on people's CV? Is that question illegal too though?

    Why would it be on your CV? I don't even mention my LC on my CV as it is irrelevant. I have also cut much of 10 years work off my CV again because it is irrelevant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,756 ✭✭✭✭ 6


    That's usually on people's CV?


    No it's not.

    Never put your year of education on Cvs. Or date of birth. That's a rookie mistake.

    People don't even get called for interviews based on this alone. Harsh but it's reality.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,988 ✭✭✭ Esse85


    I would of responded with a question such as "why do you want to know my age?" or "how does that relate to how I perform in the role?"

    I wouldn't answer them but appreciate a person can be caught on the hop.

    It raises red flags immediately for me that if a potential boss in front of you is ignorant enough to be asking questions like that, then what requests would they make of you in the role?


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