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5 Personal Questions You Shouldn’t Ask When Interviewing a Candidate

Posted on Sunday, June 25th, 2017 at 9:20 am    

When it comes to interviews, many topics should be consciously avoided.  Interview questions are mostly all about judging your ability and skills for the position; however, a few questions might indicate discrimination. Ensure that you know what not to ask a candidate during an interview. Here’s a list of a few questions to avoid during an interview:

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1. Have you been arrested?

Every organization does a background check to find out whether the potential candidate has ever been convicted or not. At several organizations, you will also find that question such as “have you ever been convicted of any crime?” appears on the application form. This question can also be asked in an interview; however, the question “have you ever been arrested?” is a strict no-no.

2. Are you married or single?

You cannot ask this question to the candidates for several reasons. First, this is a subtle way of inquiring about the sexual orientation of the candidate. Second, this question can be looked upon as a way to know more about the candidate’s (especially in the case of women) future family plans – such as if the candidates are married and if their spouse gets transferred to another city are they going to relocate and leave the job? The candidate might think that such information might have implication on the decision-making process.

3. What’s your nationality?

Nationality should never be a topic of discussion during an interview. When you find the candidates have a different accent than yours, you will have this urge to know their country of origin. You can, however, ask them that whether they are legally authorized to work in the US or not and whether they have a valid work permit or not but the issue of nationality should be off limits.

4. Do you have kids? Or Do you plan to have kids?

Personal questions like this often put the candidates in an awkward position (especially women). This makes them feel that they might be overlooked for the position if they have children as the employer might assume that the candidate may demand fewer work hours. In the same way, asking about plans to have kids make the candidates feel that the company may not want to invest in them as they might go on a maternity leave soon.

5. What is your commuting time?

You might think that it’s okay to ask where the candidate is living; however, this might have serious implications. You can ask the candidates whether they will be able to get to work by 9 AM ever day or whether they can relocate (if they are staying in another city) if they get the job or not. However, if you ask the commuting time, the candidate might think that it could affect his or her application as candidates who live nearby might get the preference.

Avoid these questions to keep the interview process fair and judge the candidates by their skills.

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