Hiring managers are continually seeking out the best questions to ask candidates during the face-to-face interview.
This makes sense, since the interview is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. (In fact, some people might say that it’s the most important part.)
However, hiring managers should be just as interested in knowing which questions they should NOT ask during the interview. This is especially the case in regards to questions that are illegal or close to being illegal.
Like the category of questions that you should ask, the category of questions you should not ask grows and/or changes just about every year.
Below are the top four questions you should NOT ask during the interview:
#1—When did you graduate from high school?
Let’s be honest: this is just another way of asking “How old are you?” This is one of the oldest tricks in the book—so old, in fact, that candidates can see it coming from a mile away. There’s no good reason to ask this question, anyway. If age is so important that you have to ask this question, then you might want to more closely analyze your motivation for filling the position in the first place.
#2—Which holidays do you observe?
This is another “on the sly” question. The first question was designed to find out a candidate’s age, while this question is designed to uncover the person’s religion. Once again, you’re not fooling anybody. Regardless of which holidays the person observes, it will not affect their ability to carry out the duties of the position.
#3—Which country are you from?
The only thing about which employers can ask within this category is whether or not the candidate is allowed to work in the country where the job is located. That’s all. You can’t inquire about the country from which the candidate originally hails. There is such a thing as nationality discrimination, and asking this question will put you at risk for such discrimination.
#4—Are you married?
This might seem like an innocent enough question . . . but it’s really not. That’s because this is the equivalent of a “gateway question.” With the answer provided, the hiring manager can make all sorts of assumptions about the candidate’s family plans, including whether or not they have children or will have children in the near future. In addition, the question is also sometimes asked as a way to determine a candidate’s sexual orientation.
These are by no means all of the questions you should not ask during the interview, but these can certainly get you into a ton of trouble. Steer clear of them and conduct more professional, more engaging, and more successful interviews.
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