We’ve all had those interviews where a question leaves your brain scrambling for some semblance of an answer. When you draw blanks, you may then decide it’s time to make up the best story you can! Or maybe a question is so personal that it leaves you too flabbergasted to come up with a response. The obvious problems here are that we are not giving honest answers. This is no better than stuttering into silence and giving no answer. What can make this process better? The best answer to that is in the questions themselves!

So here we have it, the Do’s and Don’ts of asking interview questions.

Do: Ask your applicant what work schedule they would be able to fulfill.

Don’t: Ask your applicant personal questions to gauge work availability. For example, never ask about their marital status or if they have children.

This one should be fairly obvious. Just like it is not allowed to base merits on an employee’s personal life, it is not allowed to ask possible employees the same. This goes the same for things like their age, race, or sexual orientation. Again, it may seem obvious, but even saying to your candidate, “I detect an accent, where are you from?” can be considered discrimination.

Do: Give your interviewee an example of a situation and ask how they would react to or solve it. For example, “A manager asks you to stop what you’re doing and help them; however, you are busy with other time-sensitive projects, how do you handle the situation?”

Don’t: Ask your interviewee to come up with an example of their own situation.

This way of forming the question removes that horrible “scrambling” feeling that can leave your interviewee feeling overwhelmed and confused. As we all know, interviews are quite nerve-wracking and it is very hard to think on the spot. This is only made worse if you are trying to think up both your own situation AND your best response.

Do: Give your interviewee information about the company and position at the end of the interview.

Don’t: Give your interviewee information about the company and position at the start of the interview.

This may differ between businesses; however, it is usually agreed that the majority of the information about the company and position should come at the end of the interview. Why? So that the candidate cannot change their answers in order to better meet your criteria. Your applicant may have minimal experience with Office software; however, tell them that the position entails a lot of work with Word or Excel, and suddenly they are experts!

Do: Create a pleasant atmosphere that is conversational.

Don’t: Make your applicant feel like they are on trial for murder!

You are thinking about hiring this person so you must have liked what you read on their resume. And they are interested in you and your company. So don’t conduct the interview like you’re about to fashion them an orange jumpsuit. Keep it light and make conversation. An interview is as much about the questions and answers as it is about gaining some insight into the candidate’s personality. You will better see their true side if you establish an easygoing a