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Do not ask these job interview questions during a pandemic

Do not ask these job interview questions during a pandemic

The global pandemic has drastically altered the way we conduct business. From taking the necessary steps to ensure safety in reopening businesses to helping your employees navigate the changes in the workplace, hirers need to consider various measures in the new normal. When it comes to the recruitment process, certain changes also need to be implemented to ensure hiring still continues without compromising everyone’s health.

You may have already shifted from a face-to-face job interview to a video call. But have you considered making changes in your list of job interview questions? During these unprecedented times, be wary of asking these questions that may come off as intrusive or insensitive.

DO NOT ASK: Do you have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19? Have you had COVID-19? Do you have underlying conditions that would make you more susceptible to the virus?

While it is understandable that you are curious as to whether a candidate has caught the virus, it is safer to steer clear of posing these questions. Health records are classified as sensitive information under Republic Act 10173, which means this line of inquiry should be treated with sensitivity.

To be on the safe side, secure consent from the interviewee if your organization’s protocols requires such health declarations. In addition, see to it that any information the interviewee divulges will be treated with utmost privacy and will be used only in relation to the candidate’s application. In any case, if a job seeker has tested positive for the virus, he or she is mandated to disclose it. Just keep in mind that foregoing an application solely on this ground is discouraged.

ASK INSTEAD: How do you handle uncertainties? What are your usual coping mechanisms? 

Because of the different changes that the pandemic has brought into our lives, it is completely understandable for anyone to feel stressed and exasperated. Asking these questions lets your interviewee know that you recognize the challenges that he or she faces, and that you—as an employer—may want to structure work arrangements around these new realities.

Asking about the interviewee’s coping mechanisms will also give you an idea of how he or she effectively handles stress.

DO NOT ASK: Are you pregnant or do you have children? Who is taking care of your children at home? 

In the Philippines, Republic Act 10354 (or The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012) indicates that pregnancy or having any number of children should not be grounds for a woman to not get hired or to be terminated from her job. Once you deem the candidate to be fit for the position, ask instead if there are any arrangements she needs for her to accomplish her responsibilities. Consider the challenges of a parent who has to work and care for her family during the pandemic, whether she is working from home or reporting to the office.

ASK: Have you worked remotely before? How will you be handling work interruptions, if any? 

Since someone’s work environment has a substantial effect on his or her productivity, it is okay for hirers to ask these questions to determine whether they can extend some help in creating a better work setup for their employees.

Also, finding out how a potential hire deals with work interruptions will give you an idea if he or she can still perform under such circumstances. Work interruptions are unavoidable especially when employees are trying to balance domestic duties and professional responsibilities. Hence, you should be prepared to make the necessary adjustments when these interruptions arise.

The new normal brought about certain issues you should consider as you go through the hiring process. Keep yourself updated with key guidelines and local HR trends so you can readily maneuver the new realities of hiring during a pandemic.

There are also various tools that you can use to make your recruitment process more effective and efficient. Maximize JobStreet’s Talent Search when looking for candidates to match #JobsThatMatter in your company. You can also visit the Jobs and Resources Hub for more insights and advice on navigating the industry in these uncertain times.

At JobStreet, we believe in bringing you #JobsThatMatter. As a Career Partner, we are committed to helping all jobseekers find passion and purpose in every career choice. And as the number 1 Talent Partner in Asia, we connect employers with the right candidates who truly make a positive and lasting impact on the organization. 

Discover Jobs That Matter. Visit JobStreet today.

About SEEK Asia

SEEK Asia, a combination of two leading brands JobStreet and JobsDB, is the leading job portal and Asia's preferred destination for candidates and hirers. SEEK Asia’s presence span across 7 countries namely Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. SEEK Asia is part of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed SEEK Limited Company, the world's largest job portal by market capitalization. SEEK Asia attracts over 400 million visits a year.

About SEEK Limited

SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprising a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK has a global presence (including Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, South-East Asia, Brazil and Mexico), with exposure to over 2.9 billion people and approximately 27 per cent of global GDP. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 100 company and has been listed in the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies by Forbes.

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