Questions hiring managers should not ask during interviews

26 Aug 2019

Interviews are an excellent way for candidates and hiring managers to get to know each other better and talk about the job role.

But, what happens if a question comes up and you start to feel uncomfortable or unsure if you should respond?

We look at some questions you may encounter in an interview and discuss if they may need to be answered.

Are you planning to have kids?

Your female friend may have encountered this question that could have occasionally popped up in an interview. According to the law, employers are not allowed to question a person's parenting plans.

If you encounter such a question, you can counter back and ask why they wish to know or decline to answer, and let them know that you prefer to focus on your experience and qualifications.

Do you like to go clubbing?

Your personal life and habits are a no-no in an interview scenario. However, discussing your interests is considered acceptable as it is a way of letting your interviews get a sense of your personality.

As a rule, open-ended questions on interests are fine, but anything specific like clubbing or drinking habits are not the norm. What you do after work and in your personal time is up to your discretion.

In some jobs, entertaining clients after work may be expected. In this case, your prospective employer may ask you such questions to see if you are willing to go on such business outings especially if they deal with clients who are known to enjoy a tipple or two.

Do you have friends outside your race?

Diversity is a popular HR buzzword in companies these days, and to instill a culture of open-mindedness, companies may wish to hire people who are open to mixing with other races.

However, this question should still not be asked as it leaves you vulnerable to be judged or labelled as intolerant depending on your answer.

If you encounter such a question, you can highlight that with globalisation and living in Singapore, which is a multi-racial country, we have all grown up exposed to many different cultures and ideas.

How long do you plan to stay in this job?

Commitment is not an indication of your suitability of the job. And if you get asked such a question, you can share your ambitions and career aspirations you wish to develop for yourself.

Or, you can check if the company has a high turnover, thus the appearance of such a question.

Moreover, whether or not you will stay long in the company is dependent on many reasons, and some of it is not in your control.

Did you feel threatened during the interview?

The interview may be going well, and the conversation has developed into a potential verbal agreement to take you on board.

However, if the hiring manager is making you feel pressured to take on the role by saying if you do not agree to it on the spot, they will pass you on - this may be a warning bell to take a step back and think about it some more.

Unless it is properly justified like this is an urgent role where the person needs to fly off for an assignment immediately - to threaten or pressure a candidate is considered bad faith.

Once a contract is offered, the candidate should have ample time to make his/her decision.

Main image from Pexels

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