Career Advice

Do you Have to Disclose an Addiction During an Interview?

Job Anticipation 20 October, 2020

Millions of people worldwide struggle with addiction in one form or another. Considering the wide variety of possible addictions, that’s not too surprising. Being addicted to something is certainly viewed as a negative character flaw, even though many addictions happen to otherwise very upstanding people. The question is if you’re actively seeking employment, do you have to disclose an addiction during an interview?

Certain Questions Should Not be Asked

First of all, certain questions are not legally permitted in the UK. There’s actually a long list of questions interviewers shouldn’t ask, including:

  • How many sick days did you take at your last job?
  • Do you have any previous criminal convictions?
  • Are you in debt?
  • Do you smoke?
  • How many drinks do you have in a week?


Note that even though some questions interviewers shouldn’t ask, some try their arm anyway. Be careful how you answer, as you could be denied a job based on your response. The best response is, “I’m not sure you’re permitted to ask that question.”

Employers Have More Rights After You’re Hired

After you’re hired, the situation changes. If an employer thinks that you have a problem, such as an addiction, that could harm you or put other employees in jeopardy, they are duty-bound to come to terms with the problem. The best employers take a sympathetic view toward any employee caught in the throes of addiction. If it comes to light that you’re addicted, you may be offered free or subsidized treatment, which you should take advantage of. Ultimately, your addiction will be your downfall, so taking a helping hand now is the smart decision.

You Are Not Obligated to Come Clean During an Interview

There is no law that requires you to disclose an addiction during an interview, even if you are asked point-blank. Technically, if you are asked, at the time you may not be aware of the addiction, so you can always deny it. The best thing is to not admit it during an interview but to do everything you can to break free of it.

Remember, people are very susceptible to addictions, so never feel bad about having one. The first step is to get a job so you have more resources to get help for yourself.