Unwelcome questions still a problem for job applicants in South Korea

In the last two years, 84 cases have been filed to the labour ministry regarding prying questions asked during work interviews that violate privacy.
By: | April 17, 2023

Despite guidelines that protect the privacy of job applicants in South Korea, some prospective candidates still get questions from interviewers that are not relevant to the job in question. 

In fact, data collected by South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labour has shown that in the last two years, 84 cases of privacy violations during employment interviews have been reported. Job applicants were asked questions such as their height and weight, place of origin, and questions about the lives of their immediate family members and siblings.

Although laws have been set forth to indicate that potential candidates are not required to provide information irrelevant to the prospective position, the regulation is mostly applicable to the collection of basic examination materials during the first screening process.

The country’s labour ministry has set guidelines to protect one’s personal information during the recruitment process and while working. However, as there is no regulation to enforce this, it then becomes difficult to prevent applicants from getting intrusive questions during job interviews.

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Yoon Ju-keyng of the People Power Party and one of the lawmakers pushing for the government to enforce and encourage organisations to comply with guidelines, said, “If such behaviours are not eradicated and only the guidelines remain in place, the labour ministry should discuss the issue with the Personal Information Protection Commission and amend the legislation so that it can protect privacy.”