When interviewing a candidate, you want to get to know them as much as possible. Asking the right questions can help you gauge whether they are the right fit for the company, how they will do in the position, and what their future potential at the company could be.
Aside from questions that are blatantly illegal (consult with your legal counsel on that), certain questions are too personal or might even make a candidate feel defensive. When it comes to asking interview questions, you want to cover topics that will help you understand how the candidate will perform in the job. While you can get a little bit personal in terms of understanding their behavior, your questions should pertain to the work environment and not beyond.
Questions asked in an interview should be always related to the role, the company, or the industry. There are interviewers who like to get creative with their questions, but the answers you get won’t necessarily tell you about the candidate’s ability to do the job or even allow you to understand the candidate’s personality.
6 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask Your Candidate
Here are some questions that you might want to avoid asking your interviewee.
1. Why haven’t you been hired yet?
Your candidate is already nervous, and throwing in this question is definitely not going to help. Not only is this blatantly rude, but it also doesn’t help you get to know the candidate. Sometimes candidates are in between jobs because they have not found the right fit or they chose to take a break from employment because they needed to tend to their family or personal matters.
2. What did you hate about your last job?
You want to avoid bringing any negativity into the interview. The candidate is trying to put their best foot forward. Asking them to express negative judgments does not put them in a good light and may even make them feel defensive. You can rephrase that question and ask your candidate what their ideal job or role is.
3. What was the worst trait about your previous supervisor?
This is another negative question you want to avoid. You don’t want your candidate bad-mouthing their past experiences. While it’s appropriate to understand how you can manage them and get to know their working style, there are better ways of going about it. Instead, ask them how they prefer to work and if they can give you examples.
4. What’s up with this big gap in your resume?
While you can ask about time periods when the candidate was not employed you should do so sensitively. This is a question that can be nerve-racking for many candidates. People have many reasons for taking gaps – school, family, children, and personal matters. However, if they have the experience and are willing to put in the work, a gap doesn’t mean that they are unfit for the role. Try to focus on getting to know their experience and how they would perform on the job before worrying about what’s missing.
5. What would your enemies say about you?
This is another one that focuses too much on the negative. Sure, you might want to assess their self-awareness, but you can do this by asking where they see their growth potential or areas of improvement as they progress in their career.
6. If you could choose a different career path, what would it be?
Again, the answer to this question may not help you assess whether this candidate is the right fit for the job. Additionally, they are looking to be in this field, so why try to make your candidate feel like they are trapped into answering a trick question? Instead, ask them about any challenges they have experienced at work and how they overcame them. This is a great way to understand how they might handle conflict resolution and if they are solution oriented.
When interviewing a candidate, you want to know if they’re the right fit for the company and role. This is your opportunity to understand the candidate and their ability to do the job well. While you might want to get creative, oddball questions could often lead the candidate astray, ultimately wasting time for everyone. Avoid questions that have no significance to the role and instead focus on the candidate’s personality and strengths.
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