Legal restrictions prevent CEOs from asking support staff possibly biased questions in interviews. That’s a good thing!
When interviewing support staff, avoid asking questions like these:
- How many children do you have?
- What church do you go to?
- When are you planning to retire?
Some questions are better left unasked out of respect for the candidate. Avoid asking any of these questions:
- Do you have to wear that scarf on your head?
- Why are your clothes so dated?
- Is that your natural hair color?
Instead, try asking open-ended questions based on work-related scenarios.
Questions the CEO CAN ask support staff in an interview
It can seem like there are a lot of questions you can’t ask in an interview. Rather than focus on what you can’t do, try these more positive questions that reveal behavior:
- Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
- This job sometimes requires working after 5 pm or on weekends. Often, tasks like making reservations or scheduling meetings can be done from anywhere. Could you commit to working like this?
- What prior experience do you have that would be useful in a job like this one?
- Tell about a time when a challenge prevented you from completing a critical task.
Applicants can use the STAR method for answering questions: explain the situation, task, action, result. For example:
- SITUATION: Two days before a major holiday, our company held a quarterly board meeting at a retreat. Weather forecasters predicted severely inclement weather – the kind that could cause significant travel delays.
- TASK: My job required that I secure travel arrangements home for board members and the C-Suite. Most of them were flying.
- ACTION: I worked with the other executive assistants to create several backup arrangements, including car rentals and chartered grand transportation. We also secured hotel reservations, just in case. Then we made “survival bags” consisting of bottled water, snacks, and a few other necessities for each person.
- RESULT: As it turned out, air travel was canceled for only a few hours, so everyone made it home safely. The survival bags were a big hit!
Open-ended behavioral questions allow candidates to respond in more detail, especially when using a template like STAR.
About the vaccine
Applicants are curious about vaccine requirements for work. Some candidates may find that the provision gives them peace of mind, while others may decide they cannot comply for various reasons.
No current laws prevent you from asking about someone’s vaccination status. Still, it’s better to let your HR department explain your company’s requirements. The applicant can then decide if they can agree to the condition or are better off finding work elsewhere.
Need help figuring out the questioning process? Your recruiter can help by vetting the candidates you interview. If you are the candidate, the recruiter can help you prepare for questions.