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In the Twitterverse: #ThingsJobInterviewersShouldntAsk

10th Jul 2012


It’s a busy day on Twitter. Trending for at least 2 hours ago, is the hashtag #ThingsJobInterviewersShouldntAsk. Often beginning with a (presumably real) interview question that has been asked by a company based in Singapore, each tweet ends with a smart retort. It made for a light-hearted morning, as hundreds of tweets sprouted in barely less than half of a work day.

ThingsJobInterviewersShouldntAsk Twitter Trend

*Display pictures and Twitter handles are blacked out for privacy purposes. All tweets above can be found as top tweets of the hashtag.

While entertaining, the trending topic is bringing up a very important point of consideration: why are companies still asking their potential employees either illegal or unethical questions during an interview?

I am not taking all the tweets as facts, and am aware of exaggeration and the artistic licence to embellish a little for the sake of a joke. As a collective though, the stand is clear. Many have gone through interviews, and have been asked questions unrelated to their merit.

According to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) in Singapore:

Adopting fair employment practices is about recruiting and treating employees on the basis of merit, such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job. It also means being sensitive and not using factors, such as age, race, gender, religion, family status or disability for employment-related decisions.

The Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices sets out guidelines for adoption by employers.

The 5 principles of Fair Employment Practices are:

a. Recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), and regardless of age, race, gender, religion, family status or disability.

b. Treat employees fairly and with respect and implement progressive human resource management systems.

c. Provide employees with equal opportunity to be considered for training and development based on their strengths and needs, to help them achieve their full potential.

d. Reward employees fairly based on their ability, performance, contribution and experience.

e. Abide by labour laws and adopt the Tripartite Guidelines on fair employment practices.

The practice of fair employment will help to foster an inclusive workplace, one that is built on merit and based on progressive HR practices.

As a theme throughout the hundreds of tweets, questions along the likes of family planning, and the request for one’s photo are not uncommon. If employers are to judge their future employee based on merit, how they look and whether or not they ultimately would like to start a family holds no bearing to how well said employee does his/her job. Well, presumably unless they are interviewing for modelling positions, which isn’t the case in this instance.

Earlier this year, CBS News published an article on Illegal Job Interview Questions, where there was advice on how to ask certain interview questions, that are necessary for human resource purposes, without them being illegal. Case in point, an employer is not allowed to ask “How old are you”, but are allowed to ask if their candidate is “Over 18 years old” because they need to be legally old enough to work for the organisation. A simple rephrasing of a question could potentially save an organisation a huge lawsuit.

Interviews are not a breeze for interviewers, now that they are in the hot seat! This current twitter trend brings about a glaring question: should all recruiters and human resource personnel go through a refresher course of proper interview etiquette?

And the kicker:

Why is thingsjobinterviewersshouldntask? trending

Mr Brown on Why thingsjobinterviewersshouldntask? is trending