Company Secretary
MIracle Information Services Ltd
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Standard application form questions

Standard application form questions

Does anyone know if the following questions can be asked on a standard application form to be filled in during the interview stage before a job offer is made?

"Are you able to attend your main place of work for the hours applicable to the specific job applied for?"

"Are you aware of any circumstances that would regularly prevent you from attending your main place of work for the hours applicable to the specific job applied for?"

"Do you have any unspent criminal convictions?"

The first two questions are aimed at ensuring that prospective applicants are honest about their ability to turn up for work every day.

Would these questions be deemed unfair under the Equality Act? 


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31st Oct 2011 15:43

The third question (about unspent convictions) is acceptable but you should have a clear policy on how to deal with people who have unspent convictions (a blanket refusal to employ is rarely appropriate).

The other two questions are far more problematic especially as you intend to treat them as a test of whether someone is being "honest" and it is not at all clear how you are thinking of approaching that or even why you consider it necessary. It would be easier to comment if you had given a bit of background to why you want to ask these questions or what sort of people you want ta avoid offering employment to.

I am concerned about your second question - where is the line drawn for something to occur "regularly"? It looks to me that you may be trying to filter out people such as those who have a disability that may affect their ability to reliably turn up to work at a specific time. That could be unlawful as a disabled person is entitled to reasonable adjustments to accomodate their disability. It may also be considered an indirect question about health which would also be unlawful.

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By sax
1st Nov 2011 12:55

That's what I thought may be the case. The background is we very rarely recruit anyone as we have an extremely stable small workforce. I'm just updating the forms. What I'm trying to do is find out if, on offering someone a job for a 5 day week, they already know they cannot attend 5 days a week. If they started and then announced they have to take time off regularly this would cause friction amongst our other long term employees.

Our staff regularly have to work away from home for weeks at a time as consultants on customer sites (often with just a few days notice), so missing days on a regular basis would be a major problem. Would we be wrong to state this at an interview so that the candidate is aware of the requirements of the job. It seems it would be wrong to even say this out loud. If on offering employment to the candidate it then transpired that they couldn't work away from home, or they couldn't work a full week, would we be within our rights to terminate the employment, since it's an essential part of the job.

Could I change the application form question to "Are you able to work away from home for long periods at minimum notice as and when required."

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