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There is an eclectic range of interview questions that you can ask your candidates – the question is: which shouldn’t you ask?

Your interview questions should be specific to the role, and the value that the candidate can bring to the role. You should only ask them personal questions if the job role demands it – other than that, you should steer clear of them completely.


In an interview, the last thing you want to do is give the candidate the impression that you are discriminating against them – or, that you are assessing them using meaningless details.

If word gets around that your Company discriminates during interviews – your reputation will take a serious hit. This could mean that you receive lower quality applicants, and you have access to a much smaller talent pool. In other words – if you are known to discriminate, your recruitment goals will be much harder to achieve.


There are certain questions that you should, generally, avoid:

  1. “How old are you?”

Are you familiar with the phrase: “you should never ask a woman her age”? Well, this applies when you’re interviewing candidates. That’s not to say that this only applies to your female candidates – it doesn’t. This rule applies generally, to all of your candidates.

Why? First of all, they may get offended by you asking them such a personal question. Second of all, it doesn’t really matter! Their age will not take away from how suitable they are to the role – it shouldn’t even cross your mind. You don’t want them to get the impression that this is important to their application – this reflects negatively on your employer brand.

  1. “How far do you have to travel to work?”

Many interviewers feel as though this question is perfectly acceptable to ask. And, in some cases, asking a slight variation can be fine – “are you able to start work at 9am, and finish at 5pm?”, for example.

However, it could give the candidate the impression that it will come into consideration with their application. You don’t want them to feel as though their commute will impact their application negatively, and that the person closest to the office is more likely to be offered the job.

  1. “Where are you from?”

There’s no subtle way of asking this question – it just comes across as rude. Their nationality should not have any bearing on their application, so you don’t need to know it.

However, you are allowed to ask if they’re legally authorised to work in the UK – because, for legal reasons, you need to know this. However, their exact nationality isn’t important.

Asking this question could get you into a lot of trouble. Imagine: you ask a candidate where they’re from, then they don’t get the job. What are they going to think? Whatever it is – it won’t be good for your reputation.

  1. “Are you married?”

This is an extremely personal question, and should be avoided at all costs. First of all, the candidate may interpret this question as your subtle way of asking about their sexual orientation – another question which should never be asked. This can make the candidate feel awkward, and give the wrong impression of your company culture.

Second of all, the candidate may feel as though you’re trying to… you know… hit on them. Which, of course, is extremely unprofessional. To maintain a professional exterior, and the impression that you are a fair company – don’t do it.

  1. “Do you have/do you intend to have children?”

Under no circumstances should you ask a candidate if they have children, or if they plan to have children in the future. Asking this question can give the candidate the impression that it will impact their application negatively – that you discriminate against individuals with children.

How? First of all, they may think that you, as the employer, will assume they will need to work fewer hours because of their children. Second of all, they may get the impression that you won’t hire them because they’ll be taking maternity/paternity leave at some point in the future. Both of which will severely impact your employer brand and reputation.


Above are just 5 of the questions that you shouldn’t ask your candidates – there are plenty more. Before you even post the job advert, you should have a clear set of questions that you’ll ask the successful candidates – which have been signed off by a number of different people.

Put yourself in their shoes – what would you think, if you were asked one of the above questions?

 

We’d love to hear about any interview questions you’ve been asked, that you felt were completely unnecessary. Comment below!

 

7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever

 

Building a Rapport

Building a rapport with candidates and employees is essential

Building a rapport is an integral part of any recruitment process – if it isn’t in yours, it should be.

Having a rapport with someone is having a good understanding of someone, and the ability to communicate well with them – building a relationship through mutual trust and respect. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But, do you do it as often as you should in your recruitment process?

Initially, I’m going to look at the “why” you should be building a rapport, before addressing the speculation around “how”.


So, why is it necessary to build a rapport with a candidate?

Let’s look at this from two perspectives:

  • The candidate. The candidate sees all contact with representatives of the company as an insight into the employee culture. Many candidates may even reject jobs if no rapport is made, purely because this gives a negative reflection of the employee culture at that company. Think about it: would you want to be in a job in which nobody really speaks to you? You can lose a high-quality candidate, who knows what they’re looking for, as quickly as you can approve their application – their comfort is your benefit.
  • The interviewer. This gives you an opportunity, one-to-one with the candidate, to really get to know them. Make sure there’s nothing in the room to intimidate them, starting with yourself – open up your body, because if you look comfortable, they’ll start to feel more comfortable. Getting to know the candidate, and asking them more in-depth questions, gives you an insight into their personality and their capabilities in the workplace – both of which can be important factors when making a job offer. If you really get to know them, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about whether or not they are suited, not just to the role but, to the business.

Now, you know ‘why’ you should be building a rapport with all of your candidates.

So, ‘how’ do you build a rapport with your candidates?

  • Body language. As I previously said, opening up your body language will be less intimidating for the candidate. This will allow them to feel more comfortable in the environment and be more like themselves. Try this: don’t cross your arms. Don’t cross your legs. Try leaning slightly forward to show them that you are actually listening.
  • Eye contact. Some candidates may feel as though you’re being rude by not maintaining eye contact. This is enough to put the candidate off wanting the job. Maintaining eye contact when you’re listening shows that you are paying attention and taking in exactly what the candidate is saying. Maintaining eye contact when you’re talking shows that you are confident in your message which, in turn, makes the candidate believe what you are saying.
  • Take a genuine interest in them. Get to know what’s important to them – taking this time to do so can help you get to know the candidate, and also reaffirms their interest in your company by exhibiting the employee culture in a positive way.

The above points are some of the main things you can do to build a rapport with your candidates.


However, there are a number of simple things that you can start doing that will contribute to a strong rapport:

  • Offer them a firm, but not intimidating, handshake
  • Answer questions as honestly as possible
  • Relate to them on a personal level, if possible – do as much research on them as possible (e.g. “I see you’re from *****, my parents were born there).
  • Offer them a compliment, but don’t seem too enthusiastic about it (e.g. “I like your *****”)
  • Empathise with them – try and see things from their perspective. Understand how they feel about things.
  • Use their name regularly. This creates more of a ‘friendship’ feel about the process, whilst also reaffirming their name to yourself so you won’t risk forgetting it.

To build a rapport with a candidate, you don’t have to like or agree with everything they say. All you have to do is understand and respect it. There are a large number of things that you can do, that are extremely simple, to help you build a rapport with your candidates.


Your recruitment process should be an enjoyable experience for all of your candidates – building a rapport makes it easier for them to transition between stages, making it more comfortable and enjoyable for them, whilst also allowing you to pick out and grab hold of the best talent.

So, how will you go about building a rapport with your candidates?

Your Diverse Workforce