HR AGENT BLOG
Thoughts and strategies related to HR Consulting, HR Outsourcing, HR Compliance, HR Oversight, HR Administration, HR Daily Tasks, Talent Acquisition, and Talent Retention...
While some questions feel personal, not all of them are. There is a difference between an interviewer infringing on your personal life and one seeking to better understand you. At some point in your career you'll encounter invasive questions during an interview. Here are some tips to help you determine which questions to answer and how to address those that make you uncomfortable...
When Interview Questions Feel Too Personal, Should You Answer Them?
Not all interviewers are good at interviewing. The unfortunate reality is that many interviewers are ‘winging it’. Some are unaware that certain questions are inappropriate. Questions like – “Are you married or single?” or “Do you have children?” are not appropriate to ask in an interview. Should you answer them? Only if it is something you wish to share with the employer. I’ve heard of candidates being asked if they have children because the employer was starting a ‘child care program' and wanted to know if it is something that would be valuable to current or potential employees. Even so, you are NOT obligated to answer such questions. However, just because you are asked such questions, doesn’t mean the employer is attempting to do anything wrong. So, don’t overreact.
Some questions, while personal, are entirely reasonable. Questions like – “You’re originally from Michigan, why are you wishing to take a job with us here in Florida?” In cases like this, the employer is likely trying to determine the likelihood that, after accepting the job, you will soon relocate again. If you were to answer the question by saying that you’re looking to move to Florida because your boyfriend just got a new job there and you're moving to be with him – that would indicate that you are a flight risk and may move back home if things with the new beau don’t work out. I’VE ACTUALLY HEARD THIS IN AN INTERVIEW.
My Advise -
Never be afraid to ask an interviewer (respectfully stated) counter questions. For example, if you find that you’re being asked a series of questions about theft or anger (i.e., How do you deal with confrontational situations? Have you ever faced a situation where you and a coworker engaged in a physical altercation? If you found a ring on the sink in the bathroom what would you do with it?) it's okay to be curious about the interviewer's rationale. I suggest that you reply with an honest answer and further respond with a counter question like “Why do you ask?” or “I noticed that you have curiosity about theft or anger related issues, have you had such incidents here before?”. Carefully worded counter questions are completely acceptable.
Remember, the key to a good interview is to build a strong, positive and memorable rapport. Having your questions answered is equally as important as answering the interviewer's questions. And, most interviewers (especially those who are winging it) are all-to-happy to have some of the pressure of interviewing off their shoulders.