8 interview questions that are illegal in France

Interviewing in France
As you would expect, each country has a different set of regulations when it comes to hiring staff. In France, you want to avoid making these 8 big job interview mistakes.

The illegal questions

As you would expect, each country has a different set of regulations when it comes to hiring staff. As such, if you’re not careful when recruiting, it’s easy to make a mistake that could end up having serious consequences! Indeed, in France, if you get sued by a candidate to whom you asked an illegal question, you could spend up to 3 years in prison, or have to pay a fine of up to 45 000€.

Granted, in practice, this rarely ever happens, but it’s still worth knowing about them to avoid making a mistake.

Basically, you should make sure that all questions you ask are meant to evaluate their professional skills and aptitudes only. But just to make sure, here are the topics you should avoid during an interview:

1 – The family situation

Any question such as “Are you married?” or “Do you have children?” should always be avoided. Indeed, these could give reasons for the employer not to hire someone even though it doesn’t have anything to do with their aptitudes. In a similar fashion, questions about the job of their spouse, the financial situation, or bank loans should not be asked.

2 – The health of the interviewee

The only thing an employer is allowed to know about that is whether or not the employee can physically work in the company, and it’s up to an occupational physician to determine that. It’s not a question to be asked in an interview.

3 – The sexual orientation of the interviewee

These questions are forbidden for fairly obvious reasons. If a candidate can provide evidence that they weren’t picked for a job because of this question, there’s a good chance they’ll win the trial.

4 – The religion

In a similar fashion, the religion of the candidate is a topic that only regards their private life. As such, a candidate would even be justified in not answering a question such as “Is there food you can’t eat?”

5 – Syndicates (Unions)

It’s easy to see why an employer would ask an interviewee if they’re part of a syndicate, but again, since this doesn’t have anything to do with the candidate’s skill, this question is forbidden.

6 – Political opinions

While discussing politics is technically allowed, it is completely illegal to ask a candidate who they voted for, or who they plan to vote for. That is, unless you run a company involved with politics.

7 – The legal background of the interviewee

It is generally forbidden to ask a candidate if they’ve ever been sued, put on trial, if they’ve been in jail, etc. There are a couple of exceptions; such as if it’s to apply for a job as a security guard, but such questions should otherwise be avoided.

8 – The origin of the candidate

Of course, any question about the country of origin of a candidate is illegal, and it’s easy to figure out why!


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