Top five questions you should stop asking candidates during interviews

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An interview is, in simple terms, a question and answer session between the employer and the candidate who is a potential employee. As an employer, an interview is an opportunity to determine whether a candidate’s qualifications are a good fit for the organization. An interview enables you to sift through the fine list and get the finest candidate for the position you are seeking to fill. Candidates, on the other hand, spend hours preparing for the interview and work even harder to deal with the anxiety that comes with being interviewed.

With today’s cut-throat competition for talent among employers, it is only natural that an employer would go out of their way to prod the candidates and find the best. However, this enthusiasm can easily be tainted by biases which come to the fore in the form of questions posed to the candidates. As a best practice, it is advisable to avoid posing the following questions to candidates:

“Where are you from?” Or “You have a strange accent. Where are you from?”

This may seem like an innocent question but it is laden with hidden meanings. This question boils down to a candidate’s ethnicity or first language. It can mask underlying biases towards candidates on the basis of their ethnicity. Unless the candidate’s ethnicity has a direct impact on the candidate’s ability to perform the job, it is advisable to steer clear of a candidate’s ethnicity during an interview. Instead of asking a candidate why he or she has a strange accent, you can pose the following questions:

  • This job requires you to speak ______ fluently. What languages are you fluent in?
  • This position requires you to represent the organization in forums with audiences drawn from different ethnicities. Are you good at handling such audiences?

We have always had a man/ woman for this role. Can you handle the challenges that come with this position?

images (6)Men and women possess different abilities which enrich the workplace in unique ways. For decades, ill-informed notions about what a woman can do have been used to lock out women seeking certain opportunities. The effect of this discriminatory practice has resulted in huge gaps between the number of women and the number of men in certain fields. Fortunately, most organizations are beginning to recognize the critical role played by women in the workplace and are taking active steps to close the gaps. Your organization will benefit immensely from providing both men and women with equal opportunities. Do not lock out women on account of their gender. Open the field for them and level the playing field for them.

“Are you married?” Or “Do you have young children?”

As the workplace is changing, young people find themselves committing to their careers in favour of starting a family early. Unlike in the past, marriage is delayed as one pursues higher education, career opportunities or business opportunities. A good employer recognizes that a candidate’s marital status is an important part of his or her life but does not use this against the candidate. Some jobs may require a candidate to work overtime or work long hours but this should not be a reason to lock our candidates who have families. An employer’s working hours or policies should support work-life balance because studies have increasingly shown that employees who have a balance in their lives perform better. Instead of asking about a candidate’s marital status, the interviewer can pose the following questions:

  • This job may require you to work overtime hours. What days/hours are you available for work?
  • Are you available for work-related travel occasionally?
  • This job may require you to relocate to another city or country. Would you open to this?

“Which religion do you practice?” Or “Who is your religious leader?”

pexels-photo-1407278.jpegReligion is increasingly becoming a dicey topic. While we cannot ignore the role of religion in one’s life, it can be a hot button topic in the workplace. Asking about a candidate’s religion can open the door for discrimination on account of one’s religion or lack of religious affiliation. Organizations that are religiously affiliated may find this question necessary when determining a candidate’s alignment to the organizational values. However, given that religion is deeply personal and private, it may be hard to determine if a candidate’s convictions are actually as stated. To avoid this, it would be better to determine if a candidate’s religious affiliation has a direct bearing on the position. If not, it is better to steer clear of this question.

“What is your greatest weakness?”

As an employer, you know that candidates invest a considerable amount of time in preparing for interviews. Asking a candidate to tell you about their weakness may not be useful considering the candidate has already rehearsed an appropriate answer that gives the best impression. If you are keen on finding out about a candidate’s weakness, talk to their referees. No one can openly admit to being addicted to social media or online gambling during an interview. Alternatively, ask the below questions;

  • When was the last time your Supervisor/Manager gave you constructive criticism with regards to your job? Tell us more.
  • What areas are you working on for Personal Development?

Do you need help with recruiting top talent for your organization? Crystal Recruitment is a Leading Recruitment Firm that specializes in targeting the right people for open vacancies. Check out our website today and get in touch with us.