Thursday, 25 November 2010


It’s not a common secret (to you anyway) that I’m searching for a new job. I haven’t been chasing it too much since I’m busy with my course and the studying but I’ve been applying to vacancies I found on-line. On some major companies, it is general policy to ask personal questions, for statistic reasons as they put it. They want to know your ethnicity or if you’re handicapped. Recently, I came up with more personal questions concerning my religion and sexual orientation!

I was quite surprised to see them and not very happy about it. Why would they like to know all that stuff? I am not sure if asking these personal questions is not a form of discrimination! Wouldn’t they want to consider someone for a position because he is mixed race and Muslim and a potential suicide bomber? Would they expect me to go to work on my red short dress on a Casual Friday because I’m an agnostic homosexual or are they afraid I’ll give them awful diseases and make them uncomfortable by constantly hitting on them?

It could be that they’re asking for statistical purposes, but stereotypes do exist and the interviewees will be subjective even in a subconscious level negatively or positively. We don’t live in a perfect world and my religion and sexual orientation are personal data and I can’t see how they will affect the way I work. By nature, growing up in a very homophobic environment my first reaction is to try to avoid answering these questions, especially when they appear out of the blue. My course of action I try to have now is to be honest.

If they can’t deal with it, I wouldn’t like to work for them anyway…


  1. Hi Nik,

    Recently sexuality became one of the areas it is illegla to dscriminate against people for - like gender, disability etc. So companies are obliged to keep data on the sexuality of their employees. What should happen is the equal opps info is kept by HR and never seen by anyone who interviews you. You don;t have to answer of course... but being part of the LGBT network at work theirs clout to be had if the numbers are there. Nevertheless, I know a fair few gay men don't reveal their sexuality in the workplace, especially where it might be considered a sign of weakeness (doctors for example). Whatever you choose, your last sentence is absolutely right :-)

  2. I find this so intrusive. Are you obliged to give them the information? Fuck dat shit, man. I'd tell them to keep their noses out and concentrate on legitimate questions about my qualifications and experience.

  3. @Mike I know it's illegal to discriminate against people for their sexual preferences, but can you be sure that it will not happen? How can someone prove the real reason that he or she wasn't selected for a specific position because of that?

    @Vilges_Suola. Yes, it's a mandatory field. You can select the 'I'd rather not say option' but does it make any difference? It would be like saying you're gay.

  4. We ask optional questions on race, NEVER ask about religious affiliation, and allow someone to "self-select" as GLBT for statistical purposes on an HR web form (but don't allow mgmt to see it).

  5. @Gauss_Jordan Some companies have different policies. Unfortunately, they have the upper hand to ask whatever they want. I only hope this data is hidden from the actual interviewers.