There are certain questions that a recruiter should never ask a candidate during an interview. These are typically based around various pieces of anti-discrimination legislation.
I would hope that anyone (and this includes recruiters as well as any internal staff member tasked with interviewing applicants for a particular job) is aware of what not to ask during a job interview.
However this posting is certainly not a lesson in anti-discrimination legislation. It's actually directed at anyone thinking about applying for a new job.
It's more like a few tips for candidates and what they shouldn't say during a job interview.
Personally I've had some real 'doozies' over the years ...
I remember asking a candidate once what she was hoping to do in her next role and her response was, "Oh look I'll do anything 'xcept prostitute m'self".
Let's just say I brought that particular interview to a grinding halt.
On another 'memorable' occasion, when I asked a candidate how she would be described by her peers, she replied, "I guess they'd probably call me the office handle [pause]. Everybody's had a turn".
That one left me speechless for quite a few moments.
OK and one more for the road ...
I was sitting across from a candidate who I was seriously considering for a pretty senior role in financial services. I asked him how he would feel if, for whatever reason, he didn't get that particular job.
He looked me in the eye, made a pistol shape with his middle finger, index finger and thumb, pointed the 'pistol' straight at me and made a gun firing gesture. Then he simply said "So you'd better make sure I get the job".
Now I am not sure where any of these particular candidates has ended up (nor do I care), but I certainly haven't had anything to do with their career advancement.
As a candidate, you don't just have to think carefully about your responses to specific competency-based or behavioural based interview questions. You actually need to be just as aware of what you are saying during the rest of the interview and what sort of impression this may have on the chances of you either being represented by a recruiter, or being considered for other interviews internally.
I was talking to a recruiter last week who had also recently experienced a bit of a 'classic comment' from one of his candidates along the lines of her being the best candidate for the job because she felt she was the best looking one!
He then came up with the great analogy that wouldn't it be great if recruiters could just press a button or pull a giant lever during an interview if a candidate said something stupid and they would just be ejected from the room without any need for further explanation.
Something like Graham Norton's big red chair would be perfect! The minute a candidate would say something completely inappropriate ... BAM! The interview would be over.
You don't want your recruiter even thinking about flicking a switch, pulling a lever, or pressing a button to eject you from the interview room. So if you are asked about your suitability for a particular role, why you applied for specific job, or how you would be described by your peers or colleagues, think before you say something you might regret.
Recruiters are always careful not to ask candidates about their age, religion, marital status, or whether they might be suffering from a particular medical condition despite what they might be thinking to themselves.
Candidates need to be just as careful. So think before you say something that could impact your chances of getting that next job.
Image courtesy of: BassboatRadio