Advance Search

Many interviewers and candidates are keenly interested in ‘tough’ questions. However, from the interviewer’s perspective asking ‘tough’ questions is not usually helpful. It is advisable not to place undue pressure on candidates because people tend to withdraw and become defensive when they are under pressure.  We learn more about people when they are relaxed.

It’s better therefore to focus on ‘good’ interview questions rather than ‘tough’ ones. These questions encourage candidates to think about themselves and to give the interviewer clear revealing information as to their needs, capabilities, experience, personality and suitability for the job. The best interview questions can therefore be the ones which most help candidates to reveal their past experiences, skills, knowledge and attitude.

It is beneficial to highlight to the candidate that the interview is about them and their chance to sell themselves.

Interview questions not to ask

Asking questions about the following subjects is a breach of one or more legislative Acts that are in place to safeguard against discrimination.

  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital and family status
  • Health and physical disability

Avoid questions such as:

  • What is your native language?
  • Where were you born?
  • How would you dress to meet a client?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you plan to have a family?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you have a disability or chronic illness?
  • Do you observe religious holidays that may not be national holidays?
  • Do you smoke/drink?

Types of interviews


Occasionally interviews are carried out over the telephone, before inviting candidates to a face to face meeting. This process can be used to screen and make sure applicants meet the requirements.  A telephone interview can be a cost-effective way to screen candidates.


Often called a personal interview, this will enable the employer to ask questions about the candidate’s experience, skills, work history and availability.


These interviews involve a number of people sitting on a panel with one acting as Chairperson.


Designed to enable the interviewer to elicit meaningful and compete answers to questions asking for examples. Using the acronym STAR:  Situation, Task, Action, Result

Task Oriented or Testing

Problem-solving or short test interview, this will evaluate a candidate’s technical knowledge and skill.  Sometimes a presentation to a group is necessary to determine communication ability.

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