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Don’t Ask Construction Job Candidates These 4 Types of Questions

Article-Don’t Ask Construction Job Candidates These 4 Types of Questions

EyeEm/Alamy Stock Photo Two construction professionals shake hands over a blueprint for a project
Keep your company and yourself on the right side of the hiring process by eliminating these questions from your interview process.

In my last column, I discussed three types of interview questions that can help you hire the best candidate for the job. But there are also questions you should avoid—including some that could get you into hot water, that are simply unhelpful and that could lead you to hiring a poor fit.  

Applicants won’t pursue a job opportunity if the interview is painful or unpleasant, and you don’t want to lose out on a great candidate due to mistakes made during the interview process.  

Here are the types of questions you should stay away from when trying to hire the best candidate for the job.   

1. Illegal questions 

As the interviewer, you never want to offend your applicants—or bring on a lawsuit—by asking illegal interview questions. These include questions about the applicant’s personal life and identity, such as their race, religion, age, marital status, financial status or any disabilities. Instead, focus on questions related to whether an applicant can perform specific job-related tasks.  

For example, instead of asking, “Do you have a car?” try rephrasing to say, “This job may require you to come in early or stay late. Do you have access to reliable transportation that will allow you to make it to work in such a situation? 

2. Leading questions 

Give your candidates a challenge. It helps them set themselves apart from other candidates, and helps you weed out those who may underperform at your company. In particular, leading questions that make it obvious what answer you’re looking for should be avoided as much as possible.  

For example, instead of saying, “Our sales pitches usually require a visual element. Would you add a visual element to a sales pitch?” rephase the question to ask, “What strategies do you use to during a sales presentation to keep your potential customer engaged?” 

As the interviewer, you must confirm the applicants have the skills and experience required for the role. Don’t give them the answer and be surprised when, upon being hired, they aren’t as effective as you expected. Instead, ask questions about how they’d handle common situations or provide a simulation to examine their problem-solving skills in real time. 

3. Yes-or-no questions 

Yes-or-no questions offer little insight into an applicant’s experience and skills. Instead, ask open-ended questions that allow the applicant to illustrate their qualities or professional experiences relevant to the role.  

Qualified job applicants should be able to think on their feet and provide complex answers by listing examples, highlighting several key points and thoroughly addressing the entire question. 

4. Inappropriate or irrelevant questions 

I once witnessed a hiring manager who would ask candidates to solve long-division equations at random times during an interview. Unsurprisingly, this strategy threw off the candidate and left them wondering if the company was a good fit on their end.  

While math skills were important to the roles for which he was hiring, they could have been verified more accurately with a pre-hire project that required the candidate to use math in a real-world scenario they could face in the role. 

Additionally, don’t ask about management experience if the role doesn’t have any direct reports, and don’t ask about prospecting experience if you are hiring an inbound salesperson. Keep questions focused on the skills and experiences needed to do this job well. 

Rikka Brandon is a nationally recognized building industry recruiting and hiring expert and best-selling author. She helps building industry business owners and leaders solve their recruiting and retention challenges with strategy, best practices and access to experts. Whether or not you're looking for in-house training and coaching for your team or an expert to provide consulting, you can learn more at  

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