Interviewing Job Candidates Isn't Easy

The recruitment process can be daunting. And most managers are inexperienced at hiring because it’s a manager skill that they don’t get to practice often enough.

The key to successful interviewing starts with asking The Best Interview Questions. But it’s equally important to make sure that you maintain a legal hiring process. That means being aware of the Interview Questions Recruiters Should Not Ask Job Candidates.

Related Content:

  1. Interview Checklist for Recruiters
  2. Behavioral Interview Question and Answer Guide
  3. Your Ultimate Guide to Interviewing: Hiring for Performance (Free Online Manager Training)

Most recruiters don’t purposely ask inappropriate, irrelevant or illegal interview questions. But in an effort to create rapport or make “small-talk” with candidates it’s easy to inadvertently cross over into dodgy territory. To protect your good intentions as a recruiter it’s important to take not of the Interview Questions you Should Not Ask Job Candidates:

Inappropriate, Irrelevant, Illegal Interview Questions

Here is a list of the most common interview questions that you should not be asked:

Personal Questions:

  • Is English your first language?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you have any criminal convictions?
  • What religion are you?
  • What are your sexual preferences?
  • Do you have any physical/ mental disabilities?

Family-Related Questions:

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • Are you planning to have children?

Job-Related Questions:

  • How many days were you off sick in your last job?
  • Are you a trade union member?


Ask yourself are these interview questions relevant? These kinds of interview questions really have no place in a job interview, because there are laws against discrimination, as Peter Reilly, principal associate at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), explains."In a legal sense, you have to be careful," he says. "You have to ask, is that relevant to the task? And if it's not, you shouldn't be asking it."More Suitable Interview

Alternative Interview Questions That Interviewers Should Ask:

Personal Questions:

  • "Can you think of any personal reasons you might not be suitable for this role?
  • "Can you think of any conflicts of interest in your applying for this role?"

Family-Related Questions:

  • "Are there any current commitments you can think of which could affect your ability to do this job?"

Job-Related Questions:

  • "Do you have any specific needs or requirements to be able to perform this job effectively?"

Remember - Job Fit is the Key Factor

The interview questions you ask job candidates should be designed to evaluate a candidate’s ability to perform the essential job functions. These are the job functions defined by your job description. The Best Interview Questions for determining how well candidates will perform in the job are Behavioral Interview Questions.

Behavioral Interview Questions test how the interviewee acted in specific past situations. The reasoning is that the best way to determine how someone will perform in the future is to find out how they have performed in the past. Plus, how candidates use their skills in real-life situations is a good indication of their potential.

How to Deal With Information That Job Candidates Volunteer Freely

The one thing you can be sure of is that savvy job seekers are not going to touch on any irrelevant subject matter. Less experienced job seekers however might feel it necessary to offer bits of information which they think are important for the job. In these instances, the best course of action is no course of action. Don’t make any notes of irrelevant points or engage in any further conversation on them.


Hiring is the single most important thing for a manager to get right. The recruitment process takes a lot of time and has a massive risk of a bad hire slipping through. If you’ve ever suffered the financial and emotional cost of a bad-hire you’re not alone. Most managers have made bad hires. Hiring is difficult. People who look good on paper and interview well can still turn out to be a disaster. The first step a successful recruitment process to starts with asking The Best Interview Questions. Get your comprehensive interview question and answer guide here.