HR Payroll Solutions
Keep Your Interview Questions Job-Related
Q: Can a recruiter ask a candidate, “Do you own a car?”
A: In most cases, no. The question of whether an individual owns a car is irrelevant, unless the position requires an employee to use his or her personal vehicle to travel between worksites, or other locations, as a primary job duty.
Whether candidates use public transportation, bike, carpool or drive to work really has no bearing on how they will perform in the job. Therefore, the mode of transportation used to get to work is not what an employer should be considering when making a selection decision.
A recruiter asking an applicant, “Do you have a car?” often intends to find out if this person will have attendance issues. An applicant's ability to be at work on time every day definitely is a job-related concern. But the question the recruiter asked doesn't really obtain the information he or she was seeking.
When you develop interview questions, think about what kind of answers you may receive when asking each question. Avoid questions that have more to do with personal lifestyles than job experience. Phrase the question so that the answer will describe on-the-job qualities instead of personal qualities, and if the question is not related to performance on the job, it should not be asked.
Below are a few sample questions that may help assess if an applicant has outside commitments or transportation issues, which could negatively affect their attendance at work. Choose questions that best reflect your company's hours of work, overtime and attendance policies.
- “Do you have reliable transportation to and from work?”
- “What shifts or days are you available to work?”
- “Our second shift is from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Are you available to work this shift every weekday?”
- “We do have a mandatory overtime policy. Required overtime could extend your workday to 10-hour days and/or may require working on Saturdays as needed. Are you available to work this type of overtime schedule?”
- “Would you be available to work overtime on Saturdays?”
- “Do you foresee any problems with working a third shift schedule?”
- “When overtime is required, will transportation be a problem?”
For more sample interview questions, check out SHRM's Interview Questions Database at www.shrm.org/hrresources/basic_published/CMS_007576.asp#P-4_0.
Article by Liz Petersen, SPHR, is an information specialist for SHRM's Information Center from http://www.shrm.org/kc/solutions/articles/archives/CMS_020894.asp#P-8_0