5 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask Candidates in Video Assessment Interviews

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“Are you passionate about your job?”

“If you could be an Avenger, which one would you be?”

“Do your routine tasks lighten up your day?”

Too many interviewers ask these sort of questions in interviews. In fact, too many interviews and job descriptions position passion as a requirement or rely too intensely on improbable commitment. But are these the best types of questions to ask in video assessment interviews?

Not exactly.

Oftentimes, candidates are asked questions that are on the verge of being discriminatory and to a certain extent, unfair. Some may even balloon into giant HR issues.

To avoid getting into all of that, here are a couple of questions you should steer clear off in video assessment interviews!

Do you have any disabilities?

A candidate with a disability conducting a video assessment interview

Employers have every right to ask questions that unravel a candidate’s ability to perform the required functions of the job. But they’re not exactly allowed to ask if a candidate has a disability or the severity of it in a video assessment interview. Simply because these types of questions make assumptions about a candidate’s ability to perform a job based on the presence of the disability.

Keep in mind, that the decision to disclose a disability rests with the candidate. However, they must choose to disclose it if it relates to the job requirements.

So if they are required to complete a medical test or the form asks about a disability or illness, that’s when it’s perfectly acceptable for candidates to disclose that information.

So we suggest that recruiters refrain from asking candidates any disability-related questions in video assessment interviews. Such as how they acquired their disability or how it will impact their work. Instead, they can ask the following questions if necessary:

  • Do you have a medical condition?
  • Do you have a mental health condition?

What is your race and/or ethnic origin?

Diverse candidates conducting video assessment interviews

Any question that tries to deduce a candidate’s race, ethnicity or national origin should not be asked in video assessment interviews. Although asking such questions make seem harmless to some, it may seem offensive to candidates. Simply because they might feel like they’ll be discriminated against as soon as they give an answer.

But if the job requires proficiency in a particular language, recruiters can always ask whether the candidate is proficient in that language or not, without asking them about their race or nationality.

Think about it this way, if your company is working hard to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it’s only contradicting to ask such a question in a video assessment interview. At the end of the day, candidates want to feel equal. They don’t want to feel like their race, ethnicity, or nationality could cost them the job. After all, video assessment interviews are used to assess a candidate’s skillsets, not their background!

As an alternative, recruiters can ask the following questions instead:

  • Are you authorized to work in this country?
  • Which languages can you speak fluently?

Do you think your age has ever held you back?

a video assessment interview take by a young candidate

This question comes up a lot in video assessment interviews. And all too often it’s not received too well. Either way, through the candidate’s resume, LinkedIn profile, or documents recruiters can divulge a candidate’s age. So why ask about it in a video assessment interview, and most importantly, why make their age sound like such a huge setback?

Firstly, asking this type of question in a video assessment interview will catch candidates off guard. Especially since they won’t want to show any sort of weaknesses, especially by a factor that they can’t control such as their age.

We can’t deny that recruiters shouldn’t hire a bus driver who’s over the retirement age. Nor should they hire a senior manager who’s not yet 19. But these sort of questions can be filtered long before inviting them to a video assessment interview.

In fact, many hiring platforms like EVA-REC allow you to filter resumes and allocate weights to the criteria most important to you. The criteria can be related to the years of experience, career level, position – and much more. Afterwards, you’ll get a matching percentage for each candidate. Through this matching percentage, you can get a relative idea of how closely these candidates match the job requirements.

So if a job requires intense physical demands, you’re likely to want a young and strong employee. That’s a given. But recruiters shouldn’t ask direct age questions, they should ask what they want to know instead!

Are you planning on having children?

A frustrated female recruiter.

Asking if a candidate is planning to have children is a question best left for physicians (or mothers-in-law!).
If this type of question is asked to a female candidate in a video assessment interview, she has every right not to answer. After all, having children shouldn’t predetermine whether or not she will be given the job. Her skills and qualifications should.

Which is the entire point of video assessment interviews!

Asking a candidate female (or male) this kind of question, will immediately alienate them into thinking that they don’t have the ability to perform the job up to standards. Which is not true.
This only stands true if the candidate is not qualified enough, or hasn’t had the right amount of experience to excel at this job.

Instead, employers should offer accommodations for pregnant employees, and not assume that they can’t perform the job!

Here are two alternative questions that recruiters can ask in a video assessment interview:

  • Will you be able to work overtime when asked?
  • How do you think this job fits in your career goals?

What religion do you practice?

An applicant taking a video assessment interview

While it’s no rocket science, employers should refrain from basing their hiring decisions on a person’s religious belief. Unless recruiters are hiring for a faith-based organization, or trying to sort out holidays, this question is definitely marked as a no-go.

The only time this question might also be relevant is in a secular interview and if the candidate needs an accommodation.

When recruiters ask this question, it might sound like they’re interested in hearing about the candidate’s commitment to religious practices, but in essence they’re probably really asking if the candidate can work on certain days, times or holidays.

When conducting video assessment interviews, recruiters should glue their focus on the actual job, the skillsets required for the job, or any other factor that is deemed more important. But asking about a candidate’s religion won’t help recruiters with that.

However, recruiters can ask the following questions if they have to:

  • What days of the week are you able to work?
  • Are you able to work on holidays or weekends?
  • Are you a part of any professional organization?

Bottom line

With this list of top taboo questions, recruiters now know what to ask candidates and what they shouldn’t, in video assessment interviews.

Some of these questions aren’t only illegal to ask in many countries, but they also tend to throw candidates off guard, make them feel uncomfortable, and have them question your employer brand. Which will inevitably impact the quality and success of video assessment interviews.

Therefore, we advise recruiters to steer away from any questions that hint at bias or discrimination, and focus on asking job-related questions instead.

EVA-SSESS is a next generation video interviewing software that enables enterprises to pinpoint top talent faster and build diverse workforces. Helping them sail through the screening process faster and gain a competitive edge in the ever-changing HR landscape. EVA-SSESS delivers structured video assessment interviews that minimize bias, empower employers and recruiters to evaluate candidates fairly, and make better talent decisions faster.

Assess candidates fairly ‏

Our video interviewing software can help you identify and secure top talent fast with unbiased and secure AI-based video assessment interviews.
Try video assessment interviews for free‏

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