interview questions do’s and don’ts for employers

It’s no surprise that a strong interview is a determining factor in securing a new position. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be – resulting in a better outcome.

To ensure you put your best foot forward we have outlined some common interview faux pas to avoid when facing the pressure of a job interview.

So, what are the top five things you should always do before or during an interview?

Preparation is the first essential step in the interview process, so don’t let yourself down before it’s even taken place. Researching the company you are meeting with will show your interest in the business and give you an upper hand. Look at their website and what’s happening in the news to widen your research and see what the media is saying about the company. Don’t limit your research to this alone – make sure you research the background of your interviewers, including their career history and specific achievements.

5 Do’s and Don’ts When Interviewing Job Applicants
  • DO create a comfortable environment for interviewing. …
  • DON’T ask personal questions. …
  • DON’T ask discriminatory questions. …
  • DO keep the conversation focused on job-related information. …
  • DO provide the candidate with information regarding next steps.

While no specific federal, state or local entity specifically provides a list of illegal interview questions, there is sufficient precedent (legal history) in court rulings, legislative decisions, regulations, and constitutional laws to govern certain categories of questions. Some of these questions may be perfectly acceptable outside of the US and so, may appear to be benign.

The Persons with Disabilities Acts also specifically protects people with physical or mental disabilities or handicaps in addition to providing special accommodations for them (e.g. wheelchair access). Because of these laws, organizations are increasingly careful about the way in which they ask questions in interviewing; no one wants to be the subject of a lawsuit claiming discriminatory hiring practices. Generally, employers must focus on what they need to know to ascertain whether the candidate is capable of doing the job. All questions must be directly relevant to the job for which the candidate is applying.

The key to understanding unlawful inquiries is to ask only questions that will provide information about the person’s ability to do the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Also, note that inquiries which are unlawful to ask a candidate directly may not be asked as part of a pre-offer reference check.

As an interviewer, you should be aware of the types of questions that may be problematic in the US as well as how to handle them in an interview. Bear in mind that both law and precedents continue to change. Therefore, the list of potentially illegal questions (or their legal counterparts) presented here is in no way exhaustive.

Regulations and US Law provide extensive protection against discrimination in employment. Many companies and organizations you will encounter state explicitly that they follow Equal Opportunity Employer guidelines. Basically, this means that they do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, marital status, religion, or sexual orientation, to name just a few of the classes protected by federal and/or state laws.

If you have 15 or more employees, you are likely subject to federal laws prohibiting discrimination in hiring. Many states also have laws that mimic federal discrimination laws and apply them to smaller employers, sometimes even those employers who have one employee. Therefore, you are limited in what types of questions you can ask.

For example, a white male applicant for a secretarial position arrives for the interview dressed in a suit. A black female interviewing for the same position arrives wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt. While it is legally defensible not to hire the black female because of her clothing choice, the reason for rejecting that particular applicant should factually describe that “the applicant appeared for the interview in sweatpants and a sweatshirt.”

While conducting an interview does not have to be a stiff and formal sit-down, there are distinct parts to an interview, and each of them is important. The following outline is a guide to handling each part of interview:

If an applicant should offer some information voluntarily about one of these areas, we recommend that you ignore it. Dont respond to it and dont follow up on it. Dont even include it in your notes. It could be used to prove you discriminated if there is a notation about the applicants protected status.

When you are conducting an interview, keep in mind your role as the interviewer includes both conveying and obtaining information. Part of this process is knowing what interview questions to ask and perhaps even more importantly, the questions you shouldnt ask in an interview.

Listen and respond accordingly

Too often the feedback from clients is that the candidate does not answer the question in a clear and direct manner. Don’t run circles around the questions, listen and answer accordingly while using examples from your experience to back it up.

Make a good first impression

If youre going to a face-to-face interview, plan your trip there, do a trial run if it is at an unfamiliar location and arrive a few minutes early for the interview. Late arrival for a job interview is inexcusable. Bring your CV and ensure you know the dates and its specifics so you can confidently talk through your CV and give examples.

For a video interview, minimise technical issues by testing your video tool the day before your interview, on the day of your interview, ensure you are set up and ready to go at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time, in a quiet and comfortable place. You wont have the luxury of being able to offer a firm handshake or make eye contact with your interviewer, so the best alternative is for you to smile confidently and appear interested and engaged.

Looking the part is also important and you can rarely go wrong wearing a well-fitting suit. The amount of care you take in your presentation is a sign of your interest in the role and your seriousness in making a good impression.


Do and don’ts interview questions?

Top five interview dos and don’ts
  • Do your homework. …
  • Make a good first impression. …
  • Listen and respond accordingly. …
  • Prepare smart, open ended questions to ask the interviewer. …
  • Sell your strengths and expertise. …
  • Don’t speak poorly about your present or former employers. …
  • Don’t falsify information. …
  • Don’t speak over the interviewer.

What are the do’s and don’ts of conducting an interview?

It is illegal to ask a candidate questions about their:
  • Age or genetic information.
  • Birthplace, country of origin or citizenship.
  • Disability.
  • Gender, sex or sexual orientation.
  • Marital status, family, or pregnancy.
  • Race, color, or ethnicity.
  • Religion.

What employers should not ask in an interview?

Don’t do these things:
  • Don’t be late.
  • Don’t ask about other applicants.
  • Don’t request salary information.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t chew gum/eat life savers, etc.
  • Don’t slouch.
  • Don’t criticize previous employers, professors, etc.
  • Don’t dress inappropriately. (You must dress to fit in.)

What are 5 don’ts of interviewing?

Don’t do these things:
  • Don’t be late.
  • Don’t ask about other applicants.
  • Don’t request salary information.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t chew gum/eat life savers, etc.
  • Don’t slouch.
  • Don’t criticize previous employers, professors, etc.
  • Don’t dress inappropriately. (You must dress to fit in.)

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