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The interviewer asked personal questions in the job interview

  • 30-03-2023 2:27pm
    Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭

    I applied for a job which I was very interested in and I got an interview, the interviewer (which will be the boss) asked me personal questions like if I’m married, what does my partner do, what time do I wake up (it’s an early shift job, but still…). I felt uncomfortable but still politely answered all the questions because I wanted this job so much.

    I’m a foreigner and the interviewer came from the same country as me. I think maybe it could be the culture we had from our country, but I’ve been here a good few years, so I was quite shocked to still hear these kind of questions.

    For many reasons I decided not to go further with the next process I’ve been offered.

    What would you do if the interviewer asked you these kind of questions?




  • Registered Users Posts: 3,912 ✭✭✭3DataModem

    Firstly, well done on handling this situation. Many would have handled it a lot worse.

    It is inappropriate and actionable to do this, but as you say may be just innocent and naive. If you believe this is the case, perhaps drop the interviewer an email saying "Just letting you know, that some other candidates might have an issue with these questions, as the law in Ireland is pretty clear. Might be an idea to get familiar with the law so you don't have a problem in the future. Thanks for the opportunity."

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,809 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    If someone disrespect you at the interview, when they are supposed to be on their best behaviour and trying to make a good impression, you should not take it forward, even if you have the law on your side, because far worse is likely to come.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,506 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    The only question that is actionable, from what they listed, is the one about the partner.

    Questions about what time you get up now are directly relevant for the job. The best answers talk about times (maybe not right now) when you have got up early, and what strategies you used to make sure it was not an issue.

  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 4,621 Mod ✭✭✭✭Mr. G

    Marriage and about the partner would fall under the 9 grounds of discrimination (eg marital status, family status).

    It could be an innocent question, but sounds like the interviewer was inexperienced and hasn’t been trained in interviewing others. Personally I have interviewed many candidates, and wouldn’t dream of asking those questions. It leads you wide open to a claim down the line.

    What some interviewers do like to ask is “tell us about yourself, what do you do in your free time?”. This I feel to totally acceptable, makes it human etc. and not robotic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    They have 20 minutes to suss out if they think you are a decent investment. They like you on paper, they just want to get a feel for what you are like in reality.

    I would always try to unsettle or rough up a candidate subtly during an interview. It helps to see what type of person you will have under pressure. You can't get away with asking them anything too weird, but digging carefully into their sexual lifestyle, mentioning a partner in a social scenario, will usually feedback with " my husband is a chunt, he eats too much and doesn't phuck me properly anymore etc etc" or something like " my giirlfriend is the real boss in the bedroom, she peggs me senseless after a bottle of Rosé" is usually indicative of your candidates sexuality or lifestyle.

    Whilst employers are forbidden from using prejudicial motives when selecting candidates they will certainly ignore any unwritten social justice motives when building an operational team. They have every right too, their business depends on it.

    An interview is a 2 way process. It also allows you to meet your farmer and decide if you want to spend the next 2 years licking their arse and responding positively to their whims and demands, or else.

    i hope you find a nice " fit " to spend the next 40% of your life with. Good luck.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,742 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    Dear God. In this day and age are there people who still think stuff like this is ok?

    What the employee does outside working hours is none of your business. If you asked asked questions like that, not only would it be unsettling, it would be creepy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    I might ask something edgy to see what time of dupe is considering sharing their working life with me.

    Anyone who respects their time and is serious about who they spend it with should be up to understanding what is going on. If a a candidate gets outraged and decides to look elsewhere I am fine with it. I don't want to waste my time, money and/or effort on a complete snowflake.... I have money to make and a business to run?

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,742 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    It isn’t edgy, it’s creepy, asking what time they usually wake up or if they are married. Just tell the person what time the job starts and ask if that is a problem for them. You will get the answer you are looking for without enquiring about their personal life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    Why should I invest my money and time in someone who feels uncomfortable with me? Why would any employer do that?

    The weird or awkward question is often asked for that very reason?

    Obviously unlikely to be asked by an overpaid moron who is in mid tier of the civil service. But if you want to spend 40% of your waking life agreeing with everyone, smiling like a drone and achieving nothing... then maybe the civil service might be a nice fit for you?

    Your choice?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,786 ✭✭✭DownByTheGarden

    You have to weed out the snowflakes to be fair :)

    Thats priority number 1 for most interviewers now.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    You won't have a business to run for much longer if you keep walking yourself into lawsuits by making hiring decisions on unlawfully discriminatory criteria.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    A lawsuit over an interview question?

    Get a hold of something close there.... and get a grip on it.

    Anyone attempting to sue someone over not getting a job deserves to be laughed at hysterically, for the rest of their careers.

    How could anyone take you seriously after doing that?

    You are not getting hired for starters, too much attitude. When we want you to give us your opinion we will tell you what your opinion is going to be , ok?

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,742 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    Ignorance of discrimination legislation is neither a defence, nor an excuse. Educate yourself before you have to pay for your stupidity, like Mr Halligan.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,922 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain

    I'd say s/he is a fantasist troll typing from his mother's basement.

    To thine own self be true

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    You need to get a grip also.

    Not everyone attending an interview is some honeytrap trope looking to get her name in the paper at the expense of a TD.

    Where is she working now? Eh?

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,742 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    Not all cases taken to the WRC against interviewers ignorant of discrimination legislation make the papers. His did because you who he is, the papers wouldn’t be bothered with yours.

    Where she works now is immaterial to the WRC ruling, just as it would be to anyone you are stupid enough to ask your questions of, they would take your money and just move onto the next interview. Like the op, applicants are aware of what is inappropriate questioning, if you are foolish enough to engage in it, in some bizarre attempt to take the applicant out of their comfort zone, then you should be prepared for the consequences. If you can’t find a topic to question the applicant on, which doesn’t risk falling foul of discrimination legislation, then you shouldn’t be the one conducting the interviews, you are a liability to your company.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    You live in a really strange world, I mean that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,742 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    As an employer, I have to be cognisant of the legislative boundaries of discrimination when dealing with prospective and current staff. Like most, I don’t like having to pay for stupid mistakes.

    I find it strange that in your world, those boundaries don’t seem to exist.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    So you would be afraid to ask a candidate if they were married or not?

    For real?

    What business are you in?

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,742 ✭✭✭✭Dav010

    The not getting sued for asking stupid questions business.

    I wouldn’t be afraid to ask, I would, like most employers, know that asking it risks a trip to the WRC, so as my need to know marital status is lessor than my desire to pay a fine, I choose not to ask.

    For real.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    Lawsuit over an interview question? Absolutely - used to happen regularly until employers understood the basics of employment equality legislation. You're not allowed to make hiring/promotion decisions based on the protected grounds - race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, marital or family status, etc. If, in a hiring or or promotion interview, you ask questions about a candidate's marriage, sexual orientation, etc that's prima facie evidence that you are making your decision on prohibited grounds - why else would you be asking about them in the interview? The candidate will have you before an employment tribunal, and will win.

    This kind of thing is HR 101. It's frankly not credible in 2023 that you could be running a business that employs people, and be unware of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    Saw you are saying that under current employment legislation I cannot ask a candidate if they are married, even when i don't owe them any duty of care?

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    It's got nothing to do with duties of care. You cannot make your hiring decision based on whether they are married or not. Therefore, in the interview, do not ask them whether they are married. This is information which you cannot take into account in your decision; asking the question strongly suggests that you are going to take it into account.

    See also: do not ask candidates if they are gay, or whether they have children, or what religion or ethnicity they have. None of these things are relevant to your hiring decision, and making a hiring decision based on any of them will leave you open to legal action.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    You are not answering the question?

    I will make it easier for you.

    The "law" states that I cannot make an appointment based on the marital status of a candidate. It does not state that I cannot ask the question.

    Laws are made to be broken, learn that one please, it will help you develop a more stronger interpretation of how workers interact with their various legislative environments and how it is important for them to develop a robust nature in tackling nonsense, faff and irrelevant HR tripe.

    Have a nice day.

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,551 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    Ah lads, can't you see at the stage dracula is trolling you. They're obviously not an interviewing employer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,341 ✭✭✭apache

    I haven't had a job interview in a long time. It looks like that's changing soon. I see what I have to look forward to. I don't think personal questions should be asked.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    I've already explained this, your countship. Read the next bit carefully, and try to grasp it as you go. By asking the question, you hand the candidate evidence strongly suggesting that you intend to make a hiring decision on one of the prohibited grounds. This will considerably strengthen the candidate's case when, in due course, they take you to the employment tribunal alleging that you discriminated against them on one of the prohibited grounds.

    If your concept of "developing a robust nature in tackling nonsense" embraces losing actions in the employment tribunal because you provide evidence against yourself, and paying out substantial compensation as a result, by all means continue to ask the question.

    Post edited by Peregrinus on

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,603 ✭✭✭Sunny Disposition

    Once upon a time I'd have asked personal questions about family etc at interviews, but I'd only have done it to help put the person at ease and try to forge some kind of a connection. If you can do that you have a better chance of finding out what the person is like.

    Of course it can't be done now and that interviewer is totally out of order. The reasons why they are out of order are less important, even if it is seen as alright in their own country it just isn't here.

    Sorry it didn't work out for you OP, how you get a job you like soon.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,207 ✭✭✭HBC08

    I have a sneaking suspicion Count Dracula is not running a business at all,tis all a ruse!