Employers: Only Ask Neutral Questions When Interviewing Candidates

You ask a question. You mean one thing. Your listeners interpret it differently. They answer based on what they hear, not on what you thought you said. Now you are in trouble.

Let me reword that: In a job interview, you never want to prejudice an answer by asking a question based on your personal convictions. If you do, you may get the wrong answer or, if you prefer, the correct answer to the wrong question, meaning, not the question you meant to ask.

I thought of this when I saw a photo update on LinkedIn featuring the following photo:

It did not ring true. But note the heading, “Muslim Ban.” So it is safe to assume that the premise of the question was that President Trump’s recent executive order was against Muslims. The question probably was, “Do you in favor of, or do you oppose, President’s Trump ban on Muslim’s entering the country?

Now, to be fair, that poll was taken on December 8 and 9. Even so, I doubt that support has grown over the past two months for a “Muslim ban.” Yet, two months later, when a poll reported by US World & News Report asked about a “travel ban,” the results were totally different:

Politics aside, and while not related in any way to employment, this is a great visual reminder that, when interviewing candidates for a job, you have to be specific and neutral. Never reveal a bias in a question. If you do, your decision making will be flawed because the information you receive will be inaccurate. You could end up hiring the wrong person.