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If you have ever been caught in a conversation with a stranger at a bar, restaurant, or waiting in line, you probably have come to realize that people love to talk about themselves. And I’m sure, like me, you occasionally have had both a “Why are you telling me this?” and a “This is an […]

If you have ever been caught in a conversation with a stranger at a bar, restaurant, or waiting in line, you probably have come to realize that people love to talk about themselves. And I’m sure, like me, you occasionally have had both a “Why are you telling me this?” and a “This is an interesting person.” moment…. You really want to achieve this type of candid, informal moment at some point during the interview. The best way to truly get to know the applicant is to get them to talk about their personal interests. You want the employee to let their guard down and show you the real them. If you do end up having one of those “Why are you telling me this?” moments, then they are probably not a good fit for your organization because they don’t understand what’s appropriate to speak about with a potential employer. On the other hand, you may find that you really like this person, and that they are passionate, have strong interests, and you can envision them fitting in well in your environment.

This moment is extremely important because your goal is to truly understand the applicant’s motivations and potential, and you want to determine if they would be a good fit for your company’s culture. You need new employees that share your current staff’s values and practices. The better the applicant fits into your corporate culture, the smoother their transition will be into the position and the more harmonious and successful your organization will become.

One item to keep in mind is that you don’t have to share similar likes with the applicant. I myself am not an avid crocheter, but if I have an applicant that is passionate about crocheting, I can respect and appreciate that. What’s important is that you see passion and depth in their personal interests. If a person doesn’t have strong passions/interests in their personal life, they more than likely will not be passionate or have strong interest about your company or their job.

There are a few personal questions you want to stay away from during an interview for legal purposes. You may decide to occasionally ask these questions outside the workplace, but I think you will find that they pretty much aren’t good to ask in general….so tread very carefully when asking these in a personal setting….and never ask them at work!

Question: How old are you?

Personal Setting: If you feel that you have to ask, walk away.

Work Place: Never ask. Age Discrimination

Question: Are you married?

Personal Setting: Could be important depending on where you meet the person.

Work Place: Never ask. Gender Based Discrimination

Question: How much do you weigh?

Personal Setting: Don’t go there, unless the elevator is really full and you’re on a high floor.

Work Place: Never ask. Do you really need a reason?

Question: Are you pregnant?

Personal Setting: If they aren’t, they are really going to be ticked. You can’t excuse your way out of this one. Trust me on this one.

Work Place: Never ask. Gender Based Discrimination

Question: What is your nationality?

Personal Setting: Only important at a beauty pageant or the spelling bee.

Work Place: Never ask. Origin/Racial Discrimination

Question: What religion do you practice?

Personal Setting: Go there if you want, but plan on staying a while.

Work Place: Never ask. Religious Discrimination

Now, on to the questions you can ask.

  • What is your favorite book?
  • What type of hobbies do you have?
  • What’s your favorite movie?
  • Do you have siblings? What professions are they in?
  • What is your dream job?
  • Do you travel? What is the favorite place you have been?

In my next blog I’ll provide you some insight into why I ask these questions and what types of responses I look for in a new hire.

By Last Updated: April 8, 2021Categories: Blog3.2 min read