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27Sep, 2019

The HR Professional’s Field Guide: The Do’s and Dont’s of Conducting an Interview

The HR Professional’s Role as Interviewer

As an HR professional, you’re frequently responsible for making major decisions in personnel. New hire decisions can be difficult, and perfecting the interview process may take time. In order to attract and retain the highest quality workforce, it’s important to remember that the candidate is interviewing you as well. As the candidate’s first exposure to your company, your first impression can make or break the interviewee’s decision to move forward. Furthermore, it’s important for HR professionals to understand best practices and legal guidelines that pertain to hiring. Otherwise, you may make yourself vulnerable to an expensive discrimination lawsuit.

Here are some of the most important do’s and don’t of conducting an interview as an HR professional.

interview preparation

Illegal Interview Questions

Thanks to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, legislation helps to protect classes of people from being discriminated against when applying for a job and while under employment.

Now, a candidate can’t sue a company just for asking a question. However, if you make a hiring decision based on certain information about the candidate (such as disability, gender, religion, etc.,) that can be the basis for potential legal action. Therefore, many businesses prefer to avoid knowing this information when possible, so that they can’t be accused of letting it influence their decision.

Even small-talk questions that seem innocuous could lead to a conversation that may sound discriminatory. For example, asking questions like when someone graduated college or high school may seem innocent, but it could be interpreted as a way to find out someone’s age, which could suggest ageism. While no employer intends to discriminate against a candidate (hopefully), staying clear of these questions can prevent trouble from potentially happening in the first place.

How can you know if you’re venturing into conversation that could be construed as discriminatory? Here’s a general rule of thumb: If it doesn’t relate directly to the job at hand, don’t ask it. If the candidate happens to start talking about their personal life as a method of small talk, be polite and divert away from the question by getting back to the task at hand: focusing on the job.

Ready to find out about what topics you should avoid?

asking questions

Not Illegal, but ‘Trap’ Questions

While certain questions are unlawful to inquire about, there are etiquette-based questions that are better off not asked by an HR professional for pure sensibility reasons, such as negative baiting, pigeonholing, irrelevance, or cliché questions. These types of questions have made their way into our common conversations around interviews, but they essentially draw out no useful information about the candidate’s abilities.

avoid interview questions

The Do’s

You might be asking yourself, “after all the questions I can’t and shouldn’t ask, what’s left?” Well, the best ones, of course! These are the questions that will make for a solid and informative interview with each candidate.

interview questions

About Greenlink

As a human resources professional, we know you’ve got a lot on your plate, from balancing payroll, to choosing a smart benefits package for your employees. With your current busy workload, we want you to be prepared for any interview with a potential candidate. Greenlink can help you keep in compliance and track new hire reporting, all on the cloud for ease of access.

Go forth and hire with confidence. For more information about Greenlink, visit our website.

To view the entire infographic, click the image below.

Interview infographic

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