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Topic: Very personal questions on application  (Read 1004 times)

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Very personal questions on application
« on: March 05, 2019, 02:55:28 PM »
A recent application I filled out had some very personal, strange questions. They asked for my race, gender, marital status, religion, whether my gender identity matches what's on my birth certificate, whether my parents went to university, what kind of schooling I had as a child (public/private/religious school/etc,)  and whether I recieved free lunch as a child.

You could NEVER ask ANY of these on an American job application, so I was pretty shocked.  I'm really curious what the reason for these questions is, particularly the one about whether I got free lunch as a child? 

Anyone know why a company would ask these questions?  I've seen a lot of online apps including a questionnaire about race and gender, but usually those are not mandatory.   What does free school lunch have to do with whether I can perform a basic office job? 
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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2019, 04:55:25 PM »
Are you sure it was a real job posting?

Please be aware, there are some serious scams with jobs over here phishing for personal information that can be used for identity theft. I've encountered at least 2 and it always felt "weird" what they were asking me - I did research and decided applying was not worth it because it didn't pass the sniff test.

That said, they are allowed to ask quite a lot more than in the US. And they are allowed to discriminate on a number of factors that would be restricted in the US. So .... it really depends on the job.


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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2019, 07:16:20 PM »
Were those questions on a separate sheet of paper?  I've sometimes filled in a separate sheet with questions about my race and whatnot, that only went to HR for keeping records on diversity.  The application with none of that info then was forwarded to the hiring people.  I guess I could see the point of some of those questions if they are trying to prove they are working on increasing diversity.

Of course, you could just leave those questions blank.  If the company thinks it's super important that you answer them, you probably don't want to work there anyway.   If you are really a good fit for the job, they probably won't care.


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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2019, 09:48:09 PM »
Were those questions on a separate sheet of paper?  I've sometimes filled in a separate sheet with questions about my race and whatnot, that only went to HR for keeping records on diversity.  The application with none of that info then was forwarded to the hiring people.  I guess I could see the point of some of those questions if they are trying to prove they are working on increasing diversity.

Of course, you could just leave those questions blank.  If the company thinks it's super important that you answer them, you probably don't want to work there anyway.   If you are really a good fit for the job, they probably won't care.

It was all online.  I found a job listed on Indeed, and it forwarded me to the company's own site to apply. 

I don't mind the usual diversity questions.  Race, gender, that's fine.  But... I'd really like to know what recieving free lunch as a child has to do with anything.  Or my parents' education level.  They didn't attend university, so what?  My mother is dead now and I don't talk to my father, so it's not like they have much to do with my job performance... heh.

In any case, there was an option for "did not attend school in the UK," so I chose that for the school and lunch questions.  Just super curious about why they'd ask such weird questions.
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2019, 10:39:05 PM »
Indeed is just an aggregator, it doesn't check the validity of a company. Just keep aware while submitting apps that if something seems "off" it may be part of a scam.

The amount of stuff they are allowed to ask here and use as filter criteria to take candidates out of the running still shocks me. If you can find volunteering opportunities while you're hunting it will help improve the chance of finding something more permanent. :)

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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2019, 08:27:49 AM »
I forgot to mention that receiving free school meals is a common measure here of deprivation.  An ofsted report on a school will say what percentage of children receive school meals. 


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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2019, 12:52:10 PM »
Race, Ethnicity, sex, and Religion (with the option to not disclose) are quite common for diversity measuring purposes. I've even seen sexual orientation because there's a big push to make companies diverse in terms of being inviting to LGBTQ communities.

But the parents education levels.......That's very odd to me....Seems a bit sketchy. What type of job was this?
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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2019, 03:04:34 PM »
Race, Ethnicity, sex, and Religion (with the option to not disclose) are quite common for diversity measuring purposes. I've even seen sexual orientation because there's a big push to make companies diverse in terms of being inviting to LGBTQ communities.

But the parents education levels.......That's very odd to me....Seems a bit sketchy. What type of job was this?

Just a basic office admin job.  To be honest, I've applied for so many jobs recently I can't remember exactly which one it was.  I'm keeping a list of what I've applied for, but didn't make a note of which company had the crazy application.  I should have!
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2019, 03:14:49 PM »
Just a basic office admin job.  To be honest, I've applied for so many jobs recently I can't remember exactly which one it was.  I'm keeping a list of what I've applied for, but didn't make a note of which company had the crazy application.  I should have!

Only asking in case it was maybe a particular sector that would need this info for some reason but I can't imagine this would be the case...
My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019
* Citizenship approved on July 4th 2019
* Ceremony conducted on August 28th 2019

'Mommy, Wow! I'm a legit Brit now!'


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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2019, 06:19:30 PM »
Sounds like the Equal Opportunities form. I've had to fill them out for every interview I've done if that's any consolation.

I believe you can opt out of it for paper applications, but not sure if they were mandatory fields on your online application. As far as I understand, it's demographic and has no bearing on being considered for the role. I know it's offputting at first, but if it's a legit job posting it's not really anything to be concerned about. Maybe I'm strange, but I'm always happy to fill them out because I'm an ethnic minority and LGBTQ, so I'm like "Come git yer diversity, guv!"  ;D

I was more struck by the medical assessments myself! This was after securing a job, but I was like... QUÉ?!  ???

But, like others have said, some of the other more specific questions you mentioned about your parents and schooling are quite puzzling, so I would be careful.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 06:24:50 PM by new-yorkshire »
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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2019, 06:00:12 PM »
Just adding that I have filled out online applications seeking this same information.

Also: I applied for jobs in NI which asked me about religion. If I declined to answer, the application said it would just use my name to determine what my religion was. That was interesting.
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Re: Very personal questions on application
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2019, 09:17:27 AM »
Also: I applied for jobs in NI which asked me about religion. If I declined to answer, the application said it would just use my name to determine what my religion was. That was interesting.

That is beyond bizarre! How can they determine your religion by your name alone?!

My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019
* Citizenship approved on July 4th 2019
* Ceremony conducted on August 28th 2019

'Mommy, Wow! I'm a legit Brit now!'


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