Can the phrase, “tell us about yourself” get my organization into trouble when we are interviewing someone for a job?
It is very common for many interviewers to begin with this question, which may seem like an innocuous icebreaker intended to put the candidate at ease by creating an open platform to talk about themselves. This question, however, is dangerous and could lead an organization into a great deal of trouble.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advise that it is illegal to discriminate against candidates based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information. An open-ended question like, “Tell is about yourself,” could generate responses from which information related to a protected status that is irrelevant to the job for which your organization is hiring. This information could impact your team’s decision to hire due to conscious or unconscious bias. If this information is volunteered and the candidate does not get the job, they may also have cause for a discrimination claim against your organization. In either case, the question could lead to risks that do not serve the process of find the best candidate for your role.
A better approach for interviewing is to keep questions related to the job, relevant experience, and the organization’s goals and mission. Each question should have a clear desired output or area to probe to help you equitably evaluate each candidate’s suitability for the position and your organization.
A way to present this question in a more directed manner would be, “Tell us about a professional achievement.” It provides a safe, comfortable platform to engage the candidate while keeping the conversation focused on business and minimizing the risk of entering into an area that can potentially put you and the organization in a compromised position.
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This article is provided by our friends at Weiser Innovations.