Most job hunters wouldn’t realise, what most HR pros know – that often conducting an interview can feel as off-the-cuff as appearing for one! Interviewing is an art where the HR managers have to tread cautiously. Even if you are not law bound, there are some questions which should forever stay on your ‘Do Not Ask!’ list.
It can be quite appealing to slip into cosy chatter with the one you are interviewing about their hobbies, their family and areas which are not pertinent to the role you are hiring for. However, It is best to stick to the skills and abilities of the candidate and altogether avoid the following set of questions.
Avoid Asking These Questions During An Interview!
If you don’t want your potential hires to be put off, avoid these questions like the plague!
#1. What Did You Dislike About Your Previous Job?
The candidate might feel trapped answering this one as this is one question that gauges his/her ability to feel satisfied with the current job he is interviewing for. Also, it opens up a lot of opportunities for the candidate to paint a very negative picture of their last job. They wouldn’t be out there searching for a new job, had they been happy in their current one.
So try and set a positive tone for the upcoming questions and instead ask,” What are you looking for in your new job?”. It is not only a better question to ask but also gives you an idea of what the candidate’s expectations from the job are.
#2. Are You Married?
Marriage is a personal decision and not everyone feels comfortable speaking about it. Firstly, if the candidate was about to get married in say coming months, he/she might provide you information themselves. Stop prying for it by asking directly.
Secondly, if the candidate is married, it would be part of the resumé and is still, most likely irrelevant to the job post. You might come across digging for information for their future family plans of relocating in case their spouse plans to change cities for a new job.
In today’s age marriage is no longer an obligation for a spouse to sacrifice one’s career for the other. Instead, more people are becoming acceptable towards a working situation where both can chase their careers in a competitive manner.
#3. When Do You Plan To Have Kids?
Imagine the situation when the candidate is being asked questions very similar to what their neighbours, relatives and friends are already bothering them with!
Questions like this can not only put the candidate in an awkward position but also make them feel they could be overlooked if they do have children because the employer might assume that they will want to work for fewer hours.
The probable candidate has the right to plan for a family and is perfectly sane to decide on a career path that gives them the needed flexibility. Leave it on them to think through this. Not investing in an employee just because they might need to go on maternity leave not only violates the law but is also an anti-social act.
#4. Do You Socially Drink or Smoke?
A candidate’s preferences for drinking or smoking socially should be of no concern to you or the organisation. Someone might be a chain smoker and battling with it every day to overcome it or someone might not be as vibrant as your company culture demands because of frequent night outs, parties conducted at your office.
In either case, focus on what qualities they bring to the table rather than judging them by their smoking or drinking habits.
#5. Tell Me Something About Yourself?
If there were ever a price for the most clichéd question in an interview – this one would be a strong contender to grab the infamous honour.
The reason is the answer to this one is something; the candidate must have already rehearsed a number of times in his head. The normal rut of the answer would be their education, family background, internships etc., which is already a part of their resumé! Instead, you can ask something like, “Describe yourself in three to four words.”
It not only pleasantly surprises the candidate but also elicits a very honest answer about his most relevant skills without wasting time on boring details. While this question is not a strict no-no, you can ask the same with a little bit of a twist!
#6. What Do You Think About Long Working Hours?
Asking this question will automatically lower the candidate’s energy levels as he will presume that your organisation believes in overworking employees. No one likes working for a workplace that lays too much importance on long working hours and where employees struggle to find a work-life balance.
Instead, ask them if they will be available for overtime on some days when the work will demand it. Before asking it, let them know your policies on sick leaves, casual leaves or any work from home policy in case you have one. It is one of the signs of a progressive organisation and makes it a great place to work at – The candidate will also think likewise.
#7. How Will You Handle This Role – Since We’ve Always Had A Man/Woman in This Role?
Steer clear of any questions that reference a candidate’s gender. You should certainly ask about their ability to handle the challenges of the role but never imply their gender may affect this. Gender disparity is one of the crucial aspects in Indian workplaces and it is upon all of us to bridge this gap by welcoming more and more women in different work roles!
Let’s not go off-track in asking questions to the candidates and stick to relevant topics while conducting an interview! Happy Hiring!