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Interviews... What not to ask!

Interviews... What not to ask!

Posted on 1 July 2020 by Claire Summerfield

We are big advocates of being curious (in fact it's one of our values), asking questions and exploring possibilities...but during an interview process it's vital that you ask the right questions and avoid the wrong ones.

Here are our top tips on the questions you can’t ask during the interview process and a few that you really shouldn’t.

First up are the ones you legally can’t ask…

Are you married?

You might be asking this innocently but you can’t. A candidate has no reason to disclose this information and you can’t (and should never) discriminate against anyone because of their protected characteristics.

How old are you?

Another no no. Whether it’s asking out-right, asking for their date of birth for your records or quizzing them on when they graduated, you can’t do it.

Have you got children? Any plans to have them? Are you pregnant?

Again, you could be asking innocently but questions about their personal life aren’t relevant to their suitability for the role.

What religion do you follow?

You may well just be curious but unless your interviewing them for a religious position it’s a no go area.

Were you off sick in your last job?

Questions around health or disabilities shouldn’t be asked unless it’s to determine any adjustments you’d need to make to accommodate the candidate.

In summary you cannot ask questions that in anyway relate to a candidate’s: age, race, ethnicity, colour, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or country of origin.

Next up are the ones we’d really recommend that you don’t ask…

What is your biggest weakness?

This nearly always generates a lie at worst or a humiliating admission at best.

If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

You may ask your 5 year old this but your next Marketing Director? Perhaps not.

Tell us about a TV show or movie you’d recommend?

We all like to get a recommendation for our next Netflix binge but this isn’t the right time to ask.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’?

We’re living through the biggest economic and social challenge our generation has ever experienced. Planning 5 years’ ahead is hard at any time but in 2020?

Are you a team player?

Is anyone really going to answer NO to this question?

Interviewing is a skill. The questions you ask are a reflection of your company, culture and brand. If you need any support with your interview tactics or advice on what you can or can’t ask, then the team at next level Recruitment are available and ready to offer any help that we can.

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