The key questions for recruiters to ask during interviews

Instead of fielding intrusive and unnecessary questions to job applicants, recruiters should focus on experience sharing.
By: | August 30, 2023

Organisations are constantly looking to retain their best employees while also attracting new talent to join their ranks. With the latter, the first impression often made on job applicants is through the interview process, which can be a make-or-break process. Unwelcomed questions lacking tact by recruiters, even if they are well meaning, can see organisations lose out on the best talent.

In South Korea, data collected by South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labour revealed that in the last two years, 84 cases of privacy violations during employment interviews were reported. Job applicants were asked questions such as their height and weight, where they were born, and the lives of their immediate family members and siblings. While South Korea’s government has set forth laws and guidelines to protect one’s personal details during the recruitment process and during work, regulation of the process, however, is scant. 

How then, should recruiters create an interview process that is professional and non-intrusive?

Ciara Harrington, Chief People Officer, Skillsoft, shared with HRM Asia that recruiters in all organisations, when preparing questions for the interview process, should strike a balance between relevance and non-intrusiveness by focusing on job-related competencies and employee behavioural and situational questions.

Recruiters, firstly, should thoroughly understand the job role and required skills, Harrington explained, aligning interview questions with these criteria and thus align any interview questions to the criteria needed for the role. Next, any questions which focus on understanding the behaviour of the candidate should be done by respectfully discussing past experiences and avoiding personal or sensitive topics. “This can be achieved by asking questions about the culture at their current company or asking for examples of where the individual has lived and what they perceive as a good or bad culture in their past,” said Harrington. This way, she explained, recruiters can see if the individual is a good cultural fit for the organisation that they wish to join.

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 Lastly, she cautioned that recruiters should focus on understanding the skills and competencies that the person on the job should have so that they can identify when the job applicant has the abilities for the position, rather than taking the risk of choosing a job applicant that may be able to develop the skills in question on the job. “At Skillsoft, we often prioritise behaviour and cultural fit, knowing that job-related competencies are typically easy to develop in a candidate who is the right fit for the organisation,” Harrington concluded.