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Study reveals awkward questions 90% employees face during interviews
HRKatha News Bureau | New Delhi | Wednesday, 28 June 2017

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A TimesJobs study shows that 80 percent female and 60 percent male respondents admit to having faced inconvenient questions during interviews.

Most people walk into a job interview expecting questions such as ‘tell me about yourself’, or ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’, or ‘why do you think we should hire you’. People burn the midnight oil to prepare how to respond to such questions but the truth is that job interviews are crazy and awkward, to say the least.

As per a recent study by Jobbuzz, a TimesJobs platform, a whopping 90 percent of the 820 employees who participated in the study confessed that they have faced inappropriate or awkward questions in job interviews. In that, not so surprisingly, women face more inappropriate questions.

The study shows that 80 percent female and 60 percent male respondents admit to having faced inconvenient questions during interviews. In addition, 40 percent of junior level employees, 65 percent middle level employees and 55 percent senior level employees, have had to deal with inappropriate questions in their interviews.

Shockingly, 20 percent of employees surveyed stated that they have been asked inappropriate questions in all their interviews. Nearly 40 percent of them said that more than 10 percent of the job interviews they have been through, till date, had inappropriate questions. About 25 percent of the employees admitted having faced such questions in 5-10 percent of their interviews, and 15 percent employees said nearly 5 percent of their job interviews were plagued by such questions.

The questions could range from marital status to drinking habits, while the study revealed that questions on family planning and habits are most common. While responding to the frequency of various awkward questions in interviews, male and female respondents gave distinctive replies.

For female employees, the most common awkward questions were related to family planning (40%), marital/relationship status (35%), childcare (30%), age/weight/size (20%), religious/social and other personal preferences (15%), lifestyle habits (drinking, smoking) (10%), and appearance preferences (tattoo, piercing) (5%).

However, for male employees, the most common awkward questions were related to lifestyle habits (drinking, smoking) (35%), religious/social and other personal preferences (30%), marital/relationship status (25%), appearance preferences (tattoo, piercing) (20%), age/weight/size (15%), family planning (10%) and childcare (5%).

“Questions reflect the mind-set or culture of the employers. The HR folks should keep in mind that when they are assessing prospective employees, at the same time candidates are also trying to get a hang of the company they could be working for in the near future. Unnecessary questions create a bad impression,” says Pallavi Jha, chairperson and managing director of Dale Carnegie Training India.

Explaining such attitude, Ramathreya Krishnamurthi, business head, TimesJobs, says, “An interviewer may ask awkward questions for two reasons, either out of inexperience, or to catch you off guard. While this practice is not acceptable it is unfortunately quite common.”

Krishnamurthi also shares that while interviewees have the full right to refuse to answer any such questions, it may also provide an opportunity to showcase their personality and attitude. With a keen mind, an inappropriate question can sometimes be reworded appropriately by the job-seekers into a more professional context.

© 2016 HR Katha

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