Interview 102: Don't Ask Your Candidates These 5 Questions

August 17, 2016 Audrey


It's a given that some questions are a "no-no" when interviewing a candidate. Thou shall not ask about religion, race, or the marital status of your prospective candidate. That was all covered in Interview 101 - it's grade-school stuff. But what about questions that are irrelevant, inappropriate, or downright stupid?

1. How many pennies would fit in this room?


First of all, does the interviewer even know the answer? (Nope!) This type of question is often used to throw off a candidate in order to judge their emotional and intellectual response. However, there are plenty of ways to achieve that goal without making a fool of both the interviewer and interviewee. 

2. Wanna play? 


Sometimes interviewers ask candidates to play a game with them. This can be totally harmless, like a brain teaser that measures their sharpness or legitimately harmful, like arm wrestling. If you regularly test your prospective employees with games, ask yourself what benefit it achieves.  

3. What type of people do you dislike?

Oh boy - the answer to this question can go from tame to tasteless in a nanosecond. What seems to be a question about personality types to some might be a question about prejudices to another. If you ask this question, err on the side of clarity! 

4. What's your favorite drink?


Your applicant could reply with "venti mocha caramel macchiato" or "double gin and tonic." Why is this uncool? Alcohol use borders a very gray area when it comes to legality. Some questions are OK and others are not so it's best to be careful with this subject. 

5. What are you doing this weekend? 


While this question might be innocent, your prospective employee may see a come-on. Even with the best of intentions, this question can come off as creepy or at the very best, invasive. 

There are hundreds (thousands - millions?) of questions that can get you into trouble in the interview process. The interviewer is in a position of power and even banal questions can creep into the shady zone. Keep this in mind during your next interview and do your best to project a welcoming air to all applicants -- and you'll be just fine!


When your new gals and guys start, don't forget to make their onboarding process magical! For tips on how to roll out the red carpet, download our free eBook below: 

Download RecogNation: Why Onboarding?

Audrey is brand spankin’ new to the ‘ville (that’s what they call Baudville around these parts). As the new Marketing Coordinator, she'll be talking printer-ese, corralling creatives for our catalogs, and writing headlines and blog posts about Baudville’s #1 passion, employee recognition!

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