There’s no getting around the fact that interviews can be a bit awkward. From the candidate’s perspective, nerves are running high, and there’s a lot of pressure to deliver all the right answers and impress a prospective employer. From the employer’s side, there’s also pressure – you’ve only got a narrow window of time to find out everything you need to know about a candidate and make the best hiring decision.
That pressure to know everything in a short period of time can lead you into some grey areas when it comes to asking candidates the right kinds of questions – that is, the kind that will tell you what you need to know without biasing your hiring decisions or landing you in legal hot water with a Human Rights complaint.
We’re all about hiring for fit, and using the interview to assess how well the candidate will fit in with your team. But hiring for fit should never mean allowing our biases to influence our decisions.
There are some questions that have no place in job interviews, but it can be difficult to know what to ask instead. Here’s a handy summary of some things you can’t ask a candidate, and how to reframe the question to get at what you need to know.
*This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to ask in interviews, but it does provide good coverage of the basics – If you’re not sure about a specific question, feel free to ask us!
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Tempted to go off-script and wing it in interviews? It’s fine to ask follow-up questions, but interviewing best practice means having a pre-determined set of questions and a scoring matrix to help keep everyone’s biases in check. Pro Tip – Keep the reference table above on hand the next time you hire to make sure you’re sticking to the right kinds of questions when you interview!