Impersonally Yours


‘Are you married? Do you plan to have kids? What does your family do… ‘What does your wife do? Will your in-laws approve you to work?’

Sounds familiar? Most job seekers have been subjected to such questions and most hiring managers ask these questions without batting an eyelid.

Asking “personal interview questions” is different from asking     “personal questions” in an interview. This is one issue which is close to being gender neutral. Men too, get asked personal questions as do most women inevitably!

Some hiring managers tend to practice this as a part of their inheritance from their seniors. They imbibe the same ignorance and continue the legacy. To take it a step further, some the hiring managers believe that it is a good practice. It makes the candidate comfortable and forms a good bonding exercise!

There is a flip side to it as well.

One hiring manager drew flak from his manager as a new hire quit in six months, and the business continuity was disrupted as the hiring process needed to restart. His manager lashed out on having poor interviewing skills in not being able to weed out these problems in advance.

His team member quit citing a reason that her mother in law prohibited her from working after marriage and left the job in 6 months. The hiring manager opined there was no way to argue on personal situations, as in our society such instances are not unheard of, so there was not much he could do other than asking deeply personal questions to pick any sign of an impending issue.

Turns out, the person joined another company, lying yet again.

This puts many interviewers in a quandary. The number of job seekers lying about their personal lives to either leave or get a job is also a rising reality in the market. However, it still does not absolve the hiring manager of doing a shoddy job in asking the right interview questions.

Most job seekers though answer personal questions comfortably ignorant. They have become immune and play in tune. They kill any iota of discomfort, for fear of losing the opportunity in this competitive market. But I would not be surprised if there are more of them who do not understand malpractice at all.

In my view, it is not appropriate to ask personal questions at all.Period. If you don’t know how else to assess a candidate, read up, take a D&I course, ask your HR or the ethics committee, watch how to interview on Youtube if nothing else!

Prepare for the interview before speaking with the candidate instead of turning up as a God’s gift to mankind! Read between the lines, frame the questions correctly and provide scenarios and then read the non-verbal communication. If you are not able to do it correctly, handover to someone who can!

So leaders, when you are about to promote someone who will have hiring responsibility, you might want to assess their hiring skills as well. Hiring is a critical part of people managers, and it is a continuous process. So get it right and set an example for your organization as a best practice.

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