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Do you still interview by the book?



A couple of weeks back I wrote about AI being used in the recruitment process. If you are not ready for that, it might be worth having a quick refresher on human-to-human interview techniques. This week my focus is on the type of questions that might actually cause trouble and may land you with a significant problem.


Do you interview by the book?


The Interview process is inevitably time-consuming and costly but it does really allow an organisation to see what kind of a personal fit your candidate offers. However, ’being face to face’, unless your interview plans are structured and ‘to the book’ can lead to some potentially tricky moments.


Do you ever look for potential for growth?



In addition, bearing in mind the aforementioned time-consuming nature of interviews it is an excellent opportunity to utilise behaviourally based questions during the process. These are great indicators regarding skills and behaviours and just what kind of skill sets your candidate possesses or is capable of attaining.


To extract the very best from the interview process I explore just what types of questions might land you in hot water and won’t necessarily find you the right candidate..


Questions You shouldn’t Ask during the Interview Process


The rule of thumb is that you should never ask questions that could possibly be deemed discriminatory. You may well shrug and be wondering, ‘just what kind of outfit do you think I am running here?’ But sometimes it’s the incidental questions such as ‘Can you work evenings or weekends?’ that can be seen to discriminate against candidates; especially parents.


‘Do you have a car?’ May not be an innocent question


You might wonder why this kind of question is a problem but actually it can suggest you are probing about religious persuasion or even child care arrangements. Even posing the question, ‘Do you have a car?’ could be seen as a question of discrimination. It’s different if the car is a pre requisite for the role but care should be taken nevertheless.


Be careful how you structure questions


The same is true for asking directly if the candidate has eligibility to work in your country. Yes, you can ask them to demonstrate proof of citizenship, visas etc. You can also ask if they are known by any other names and whether they have English proficiency. But be generic and sensitive here.


The key thing is to be objective and avoid the highly personal questions such as; “How did you learn English or where were you born?


Put the onus on the candidate to tell you about their skills and capabilities


Another potentially sensitive area is around disability. It is illegal to discriminate against people who have specific needs. The key approach is to describe the role carefully and very accurately in the initial advertisement and at the beginning of the interview. When this is done, ask the candidate if they feel comfortable with performing all aspect of the job. It is not appropriate to probe into whether someone has a disability or even probe into what that disability might be. Neither can you ask whether they have suffered an injury in the workplace. Be sensitive, empathic, open and objective. The way forward is to ask how a candidate would manage to perform the job they have applied for.

Obviously age discrimination is also against the law.


This is very good news. With people destined to work until 70 the traditional perceived cut off points regarding retirement for example have disappeared. `You should not ask people when they left school or dates of university etc. These are irrelevant. As an interviewer you are looking for the best fit not a company clone. Unexpected candidates may well add a new and important dimension to your business in ways you might not have anticipated.


Do you need help?


It is clear that interviewing is a skilled and skillful process. If you need assistance in finding just the right kind of candidate for your Food Industry vacancy I can remove the time consuming aspects and create an outstanding shortlist. If this appeals and if you want to avoid falling foul of employment regulations then do give me a call for a no obligation discussion on +44 7793 526078. On the other hand you can Click Here to schedule an appointment directly with me to suit you.