Job Interview

During a job interview, the employer is tempted to "grill" the applicant and take the opportunity to ask any questions that are useful. However, care must be taken. The employer must respect the candidate's privacy. Permissible questions will vary greatly depending on the job being considered.


Taking references from the former employer is of the utmost importance. It allows the future employer to get a better idea of the candidate and to obtain valuable additional information.

However, the former employer must be vigilant when contacted by a potential employer. Not all data collected during the employment relationship can be disclosed without further ado. This is particularly true if sensitive personal data on the applicant, in particular on his or her state of health and family situation, was collected.

Permissible questions

The future employer may only ask questions about the applicant's suitability for the job. For example, questions about training, professional background, diplomas and language skills are admissible.

Misleading CV

The employee is not entitled to embellish his or her CV or to lie about his or her language skills or responsibilities. As for the future employer, he must proceed with the usual verifications and ensure the authenticity of the documents attached to the application file. However, the employer must obtain the candidate's consent to obtain references from former employers. If the employee lies, he or she risks dismissal, even with immediate effect, depending on the circumstances.


Certain questions asked by the employer during a job interview are likely to infringe on the applicant's privacy. These questions will be illegal, as long as they are not directly related to the job. However, permissible questions will depend on the job description, the specificities of the position and the employee's position in the hierarchy.

Questions about a candidate's health or current or anticipated pregnancy are often not permissible, as long as they do not seriously interfere with the performance of the job.

Criminal record

Employers sometimes want to be sure of a prospective employee's honesty. This is especially important if the employee has access to money, valuables or is in contact with children, the elderly or other vulnerable persons.

However, the request for a criminal record is sensitive because the employer will be aware of all offences committed, even those that have nothing to do with the job. The special criminal record, which only mentions offences against minors or other particularly vulnerable persons, is more suitable for certain jobs. This may be the case for a job as a coach in a children's sports club or as a care worker in a medical-social institution (EMS).

Google and social networks

Many employers do an internet search of the candidate before the interview. When the candidate is not careful, the employer can easily come across personal information (marriage, children) or compromising information (photos of drunken parties). The question of whether the employer is entitled to "google" a future employee and refuse to hire him or her because of the information found is delicate.

Discrimination in hiring

In principle, the employer has the right to freely choose who to hire, according to the criteria he or she has chosen. However, there are exceptions. The Law on Equality between Women and Men provides that an employer may not discriminate in hiring candidates because of their sex or family situation. An employer who requires the manager to be a man? A candidate who is turned down because she is married? These are all particularly sensitive situations...


When a question is related to the candidate's private life and is not related to the job, the candidate can refuse to answer or even lie. The employer cannot fire the employee if it discovers that he or she lied. A termination of a secretary because she lied about wanting to have children may be considered improper.

If the question is lawful, the employee is obliged to answer it truthfully. He/she must inform the employer spontaneously of any information that would seriously jeopardize the performance of the job. The employer may dismiss the applicant, with immediate effect depending on the circumstances, if the applicant has lied. 

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