Interviews can be just as stressful on the person conducting the interview as it is on the person being interviewed. There is so much ground to cover including thoughtful, open ended questions to get to know the candidate. On top of this, you need to tailor each question to the situation so you can get an honest read on whether the candidate is right for the job. Sometimes, it can be easy to slip up and say things that aren’t that effective toward your end goal. Here are three things to avoid saying while conducting an interview.
Questions Pertaining to Candidate’s Personal Lives
Often in an interview, you want to get to know the candidate at a more personal level. Yet, you should avoid asking about someone’s age, sexual orientation, country of origin or ethnicity. It is also important to avoid asking about their marital status or whether they have kids. You also don’t want to ask about religion, disabilities, gender, etc. These types of questions violate the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. While it sounds easy to avoid these questions, sometimes it slips out in conversation, so just be aware of the areas to avoid.
Asking Stark or Extreme Questions
You don’t want to ask about what kind of sacrifices and commitment candidates are willing to make for the job. You also don’t want to use stark or extreme language to describe the role. While you don’t want to sugarcoat the job expectations too much, you don’t want to scare candidates off either. If the job sounds like a huge amount of work that has few rewards, no one is going to want the job. Instead, ask questions about their work style. You can get a sense of how hard working they are without making the job seem overly intimidating. You will also learn about how well they collaborate and gain a fuller sense of how their work style fits the company and the specific job position.
Questions That Don’t Engage the Candidate
You learn more useful information about a candidate when the interview takes the form of a conversation. You want to ask questions that are open-ended but not cliché. A cliché question won’t tell you anything because most candidates will answer the same way. Open-ended questions are ideal because they elicit longer responses. Open-ended questions will engage the candidate and help them open up about their experiences, values, and skills.
Conducting an interview requires finesse (and planning). You need to steer the conversation so you can learn as much as you can about the candidates’ qualifications and work style, but you also have to avoid inappropriate questions. It helps to think about each question and ask how essential it is. Do you really need to know the answer to assess the candidate’s fit? With offensive and cliché question, the answer will usually be no.
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