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Can you be asked anything at a job interview?

You need to be prepared to be questioned about most things. Whether it is legal or not is a completely different question. Then you may want to know what you do not need to answer.

You need to be prepared to be questioned about most things. Whether it is legal or not is a completely different question. Then you may want to know what you do not need to answer.

Most women have realized that a potential employer can not ask if you are pregnant or have plans to have (more) children. But where does this stand? And what can employers really not ask for? And why not?

We have a discrimination law in Norway that clearly states that it is forbidden to discriminate against anyone on the basis of employment on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion, etc., disability, age, sexual orientation, political views, and membership in an employee organization. These regulations set limits on what an employer can ask you about in an interview.

What is forbidden to ask

First, an employer in an employment process may not ask whether or otherwise obtain information about pregnancy, adoption or plans to have children, political views or membership in an employee organization.

The Equality and Discrimination Act further prohibits questions about religion or belief, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

The prohibitions include information that a company requests in a job advertisement, what a potential employer asks for in an interview, and information that the employer itself obtains through, for example, informal references, social media, etc. Note that the prohibitions on discrimination also apply to other aspects of an employment relationship, such as relocation and promotion.

Another factor is health information. The Working Environment Act prohibits asking for or otherwise obtaining information that can contribute to mapping jobseekers’ current and possible future state of health. Even if you think it’s okay and unproblematic, the person interviewing you can not continue to ask about this. Consent is not enough. They can only obtain health information that is clearly necessary to perform the work tasks associated with the position.

For certain types of positions, however, “prohibited” information can be obtained if it is of decisive importance for the performance of the work. If you are stunned, my advice to you is to ask why the questions are crucial to the work to be done. A special rule applies to companies whose purpose is to promote certain views of life or religious views. These employers can state in the job advertisement that information about the form of cohabitation, religion or outlook on life (legal) will be obtained, but only if the position in question is important for the purpose of the business.

Do you mean that an employer has crossed the line, and that you due. the information they obtained did not get the job, you can in the first instance complain to the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud. It is free.

You want to talk about this yourself

What if you yourself want to talk about, for example, politics, family background and future plans in an interview? You are passionate about something and believe that your commitment and “history” gives you identity. Maybe you think it will give an advantage in the competition for the dream job. We all know that employers want to know more about you than what education and work experience you have.

Of course, talking about what you want is not forbidden. The employer has no duty to “cover your ears”, nor has any direct duty to inform you that what you are talking about they can not ask about. If you still do not get the dream job, you must be prepared that you will hardly arrive if you then think you were discriminated against.

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