Questions You Should NOT Ask a Candidate

Facilitating a good interview is an art form in itself. You have to ask the right questions to see if your candidates have the right behaviors, skills, and experiences needed for the job you’re looking to fill. You need to assess for cultural fit as well as job fit. Plus, you want to simultaneously sell your company as a great place to work and assess the applicant’s genuine interest in your company. That’s a lot to juggle at once. Add to all that the fact that there are several restrictions about what you can and can’t ask during an interview.


Here’s What You Shouldn’t Ask


Questions That Are Illegal

There are a series of questions that are illegal to ask because you can’t discriminate based on that information. Some of it might come out naturally in the course of the conversation, but it’s best if you just don’t ask it directly. That includes questions about a candidate’s race, ethnicity, or color, gender or sex, country of national origin or birthplace, religion, disability, or any details about marital status or children or pregnancies.


Indirect Questions to Avoid

Sometimes you accidentally veer in the direction of illegal topics in the course of your conversation. For example, you can’t chat about the ages of their children, their plans for retirement, where they’re from, their health history, the likelihood of taking off for religious holidays, or their plans to have children. You can’t even ask about their graduation year because, again, you can’t know their age. Remember that you only want to talk about behaviors, skills, and experience that’s relevant to the job.


Stay on Topic

It’s easy for conversations to slip into that off-limits area. After all, many people consider these factors to be part of their core identity, so when they’re meeting you for the first time, they instinctively want to offer these facts. So when a candidate inadvertently shares some information you shouldn’t know, do your best to change the subject. Don’t pursue the topic or ask follow-up questions. Just smile and nod and swerve back to the behaviors, skills, and experiences required for the job. And remember that you can’t use any of those characteristics to determine whether or not the applicant gets the job.


For more tips on how to conducting interviews that can help you target the right skilled and talented employee for your company, contact Pridestaff Thousand Oaks today.

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