10 Questions Not To Ask Candidates In An Interview

Asking candidates the right questions in an interview is essential because it helps you the employer to identify whether the candidate’s behaviour, experience and skills match what is required for the job. However, some employers tend to use the interview time asking obnoxious questions that are not helpful – the type of questions that probe the candidate to go over and above to prove themselves to impress the employer, making the employer appear superior.

Asking appropriate questions not only allows you to weigh in on whether the candidate fits the job description and your company culture but also enables you to select the most suitable candidate, which in turn creates higher chances of understanding if the prospective candidate will excel in your company.


10 Questions You Should Avoid Asking Candidates

Here are 10 questions you should avoid asking candidates in an interview.

1. Where do you see yourself in five years?  

This question creates a biased view that if they don’t have five year-plan, they’re not serious enough or it could cost them the job opportunity. Goals can be affected by change, the best way would be to ask how the role they’re applying for fits into their career goals.

2. What are your weaknesses?

This can affect the candidate’s focus in hopes of finding the perfect way to convey their weaknesses to you. Instead, ask them when they identified an opportunity to improve, and the result from that.

3. Out of all the candidates who applied for this position, why should we hire you?

Granted all applicants are vying for the vacant position, it is not the job seeker’s role to decide why you should hire them; it is your role to ensure they match what you’re looking for.

4. What would your previous employer say about you?

Employees who are true to themselves focus on doing their job and delivering results as opposed to pleasing their employer. 

5. How many sick days leave did you take in your previous job?

Questions relating to health, sickness, etc, should be avoided unless the job specifically requires the candidate’s health status.

6. What is your political affiliation?

Political preferences should be off bounds.

7. What religion do you belong to?

Just like political preferences, questions relating to religious affiliation should be avoided.

8. Are you a team player?

Do you expect the candidate to say no?  Instead, ask them how they would acquaint themselves with a team that has been working together for a long time.

9. What did you hate about your previous job?

This sounds like a good question but it sets up the candidate to be negative about their former employer and it’s not helpful in filling your vacant position.

10. Are you affiliated to a union?

Workers have a right to be part of a union, and as an employer, you shouldn’t ask this question.

Final Thoughts On Questions Not To Ask Candidates In An Interview

The interview is a fundamental factor of the hiring process, however, conducting it effectively is not an easy task as it may sound; that’s why knowing what to ask and not to ask during an interview is imperative. Your talent acquisition strategy should entail a detailed interview questions framework. 

Remember candidates are also interviewing you, hence, there are questions you need to stay clear off by ensuring your questions focus on the actual job and skills required for it.


How do you decide the type of questions to ask candidates in an interview? We would like to hear from you in the comment section.

Preparation: How To Get The Best Out Of A Job Interview

Interview preparation is a critical component of a job-seeking process that can affect your success rate. You could meet all the requirements stipulated on paper and still fail to put your best foot forward at the interview because you did not prepare. Failure to prepare will not only cost you that dream job but also reflects badly on you as a candidate.

Preparation is the process of assembling different factors for a particular reason in anticipation of an event, in this case, the interview. Each time you need to go through an interview process, you should prepare  mentally, psychologically, physically etc to ensure you are in a conducive state to do the interview effectively.

Tips On How To Get The Best Out Of The Interview

Getting invited for an interview means your CV left a good impression on the employer but that’s not all; the interview process can be a nerve-wracking experience and thorough preparation is the best start if you want to get the best out of a job interview.

Some candidates fail the interview not because they lack expertise for the role but simply because they did not prepare or they don’t prepare properly. The best thing you can do before a job interview is to prepare extensively. Preparing for a job interview can be done in numerous ways. Let’s explore some useful tips to ensure you get the best out of your interview.

Research About The Company

Visit the company’s website and read about them, from their mission, vision, values, their clients, products etc. If they don’t have a website, check if they have social media pages. Find out as much as you can about them, even through word of mouth. Having more information at your disposal is imperative, it shows that you’re interested and invested in the company but most importantly, helps you to understand the company and how you can fit in.

Read And Understand The Job Description Thoroughly

Understanding what the job entails will help you  answer questions thoughtfully. For instance, you can develop what-if scenarios around the role that the interviewer is likely to ask.  The more you understand what’s required of you, the easier it will be to customize your answers.

Get Ready Ahead Of Time

Stay away from doing things last minute that could affect how you present yourself at the interview and mess with your train of thought. Ensure your interview attire is presentable and appropriate for the company interviewing you.  

Arrive Before The Scheduled Time

Time management is fundamental. It advisable to show up before time, like 10 – 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. If you’re not familiar with the location of the interview, try to be 20 – 30 minutes early to avoid being late. Late-coming not only reflects negatively on you to the employer but can also distract you to the extent where you find yourself panicking and worrying. Give yourself some extra time to warm up for the interview so that your preparation time is not in vain.  

Try To Stay Calm

Try to relax and stay calm as possible. Being relaxed and calm allows you to answer questions in a compelling thoughtful manner while you remain engaged throughout the interview. Be mindful of your body language when answering questions, it says a lot about what you’re saying to the interviewer, mind your posture, sit upright and avoid slouching, maintain eye contact. Listen attentively and avoid interrupting the interviewer by all means.

Final Thoughts On Preparing For A Job Interview

Preparation is key and will help you exude confidence during the interview. It’s best to be over prepared than underprepared. Follow your preparations through and make that interview count.


How do you prepare for a job interview? Share with us in the comment section below.

Acquiring Talent And Your Company Brand

Attracting and hiring the right candidates is important for not only your company’s growth, but also your brand image; how you manage interviews and your overall hiring process can affect your companies brand image. Prospective candidates will most probably use it to judge factors like your company culture, gauge if you truly uphold what your brand stands for etc, and then ultimately decide whether to join your company or not – they could also go as far as discouraging other candidates.

In the current digital age, not to mention, the ever so competitive market, every stage of the interview matters; you cannot afford to be unprofessional – that’s why making your hiring process pleasant to the candidate is crucial.

Remember, Candidates Are Consumers.

When looking at hiring external staff into your organisation, it is important to remember that people research like consumers, because in fact, that is what they are. Your meeting with the candidate may not result into a successful interview but they could be consumers of your product so make the hiring experience positive.

During your interview process, many candidates will remember the recruitment experience (a representation of your brand) – always remember that you, the management of your organisation are representing this brand and can influence the way they will speak about your brand forever.


A Bad Interview Doesn’t Stop There

Lack of feedback after an interview is one of the biggest challenges that candidates face. Sending them an email or letter thanking them for their application goes a long way in ensuring that your brand is acknowledged and respected

Similarly, a bad interview experience can leave you with a terrible reputation, which in turn affects factors like customer loyalty and satisfaction. Many of us have had bad interview experiences – in reality, we don’t remember the interviewer’s name, but we never forget the brand – which stays with us for life.

Avoiding a bad interview experience is in your best interest. Whether you hire the person or not, you should aim to leave the candidate in awe about your organisation; they will undoubtedly share their experience through word of mouth.


Final Thoughts On Acquiring Talent And Your Company Brand

Upholding your company brand image should not only be left to the marketing and public relations team; it should be every employee’s responsibility, hence, communicating what you stand for with your employees is important. It takes years to build a brand and mere seconds to damage it – the interviewee’s impression counts. Ensure that your hiring process does not tarnish your company’s image.


How do you ensure that you uphold your company’s brand image during the interview/hiring process?  Share with us in the comment section below.

Are You Providing Feedback To Unsuccessful Candidates?

Providing feedback to unsuccessful candidates can be challenging due to factors such as time and dreading to be the bearer of bad news, however, it is remarkably important for not only the candidates but also your organisation’s brand and reputation.

Feedback is the process of conveying information about a person’s performance so they can use it for improvement. It can be done in the form of an email or telephonically. Feedback can be positive, negative or both.

The interview process can be a thrilling experience for candidates due to the amount of preparation they have to go through and the time they invest to avail themselves for job opportunities in order to fulfil their career advancements; however, this still doesn’t guarantee them a successful outcome.


Why Candidates Appreciate Feedback

The issue of feedback to unsuccessful candidates remains a big problem that leaves many prospective candidates disappointed.

Apart from value for their time and preparation invested in the interview process; candidates also appreciate feedback because they want to know why they were unsuccessful and understand how to improve as the information could be useful for their next interview or better yet, their overall personal life.

How To Give Feedback To Unsuccessful Candidates Effectively

Despite the value of feedback, most companies either do not give feedback to unsuccessful candidates after interviewing them or those who do, don’t execute it effectively.

Granted you may receive hundreds of applications for one single role – which means, from a company perspective, you have had to also spend time going through each CV, shortlisting them, then interviewing them, making an offer, and you have achieved your goal, as an organisation, and hired the right person for the role but the candidates who took the time to apply need to be acknowledged too for the time that it has taken for them to apply and take an interest in your organisation.

As an HR professional, giving feedback to unsuccessful candidates is the least you could do. You should also remember that candidates are interviewing you too. Let us explore how you can give feedback to unsuccessful candidates effectively.

  • Feedback should be constructive and specific. Something they can use to better themselves.
  • Feedback should be aligned with the job description. Linking the two helps candidates understand where they can improve in the particular role.
  • Be transparent about your hiring process by ensuring open communication channels.
  • Be clear and honest. Give positive feedback followed by negative and wrap up with positive. It is important to close off with something positive. For example, you could advise them if the need arises for new talent, you will let them know of any openings in the future.
  • Be objective. Ensure feedback is balanced and non-discriminatory.
  • Provide feedback as soon as possible to avoid candidates from waiting, it shows you value their time.
  • Be genuine. Ask feedback from candidates too. It shows you value their views despite the outcome of their interview.


Final Thoughts On Providing Feedback To Unsuccessful Candidates

Feedback is vital and ought to be taken seriously. It should be incorporated into your talent acquisition strategy regardless of the candidate’s position/job level or the outcome of the interview – positive or negative. Whatever your feedback entails; do it gracefully and avoid burning bridges because as mentioned above, candidates are interviewing you too. Their opinion about you can hurt your brand and reputation thus make the interview process experience worthwhile. And remember, feedback goes beyond  proof of what impact it will have on your company’s image – it’s the least you can do for candidates; acknowledge their effort.

Do you provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates, if so or not, why? Let us know in the comment section.

Interviews: Why Do You Interview?

Interviewing candidates is an essential component of the hiring process. If executed well, it helps you to determine if the candidate fits well into your organisation, whether their experience, skills, and personality match the job description and so forth.

An interview is a meeting between an employer/HR profession and a candidate face to face, telephonically or virtually. It occurs in the form of an in-depth conversation where the two exchange information to determine whether they both meet each other’s requirements.

Goal Of The Interview

It is important to ensure that you’re well informed and equipped with the most effective methods to conduct interviews. The goal of the interview is not just about skills and qualifications; but also about a number of well-rounded factors such as:

  • To be able to predict or estimate what the candidate will do in a given set of circumstances.
  • To identify the skills and attributes the candidate brings to the job.
  • To see and assess how well they will fit into the organisation, in addition to  their personality traits, etc.

There is more that goes into an interview than actually sitting down with the candidate and having a conversation. You need to understand that candidates either meet with you after their normal work hours or have to lie to attend interviews – this is the norm.  

A great employee doesn’t just fill a slot on the organisation’s chart. A great employee solves at least one critical business need. So while credentials, qualifications, and experience are important, thus as an HR professional, never forget you’re not hiring for a position; you’re hiring for a result.


Candidates Are Also Interviewing You

Always remember that the interview is not only about candidates. Candidates are also interviewing you; hence effective interview methods are of the essence as they enable candidates to determine whether their skills will be put to good use and if the company culture is conducive for their career prospects and overall employment needs.

It is mandatory for you to prepare tremendously, from the interview technique to use, to drafting comprehensive structured questions, doing thorough research on the candidate before the interview commences. Avoid ineffective interviews in the form of common mistakes such as:

  • Interview being canceled on the day which leads to Brand damage.
  • How you show up to the interview. Are you engaging and listening?
  • Scrambling for candidate’s CV and information as you have not adequately prepared for the interview etc.

Final Thoughts On Why You Interview

Preparation is key. You should have a clear objective of how and why your company handles the interview process, and once you have identified a comprehensive structure, execute accordingly. Thorough preparation will help you get the best out of the interview.


That said, what is your organisation’s objective when doing interviews? We would like to hear from you.

Why Don’t Companies Get Succession Planning Right?

Succession planning is a key aspect of human resource management, and when done effectively; it enables your organisation to identify, develop and retain talent, which in turn prevents business interruption.

Succession planning is a process that ensures that you have adequate skills being developed within the organisation to move into more senior roles in your organisation. It is done to identify and develop new leaders and prepares employees to be well-equipped with the necessary skills and competencies so that when senior positions become available in the organisation, they’re able to meet the job description requirements.


Why Companies Don’t Get Succession Planning Right

There comes a time when positions become vacant within a company as a result of promotions, resignation, retirement, etc. However, as unavoidable as this may be; a lot of companies still don’t get succession planning right. This could be attributed to a number of factors which we explore below.

Lack Of A Tangible Succession Plan

If you want to get the best of something, a tangible plan is a perfect start. It informs how to tackle the how what and why. Your plan is very important in determining what you intend to achieve. An effective plan requires extensive research to guide you on how to go about, and what process to use. The plan must be aligned with the roles that you will need to fill.

To avoid disruption in your business and your company’s overall productivity, ensure that you have a comprehensive succession plan in place to help fill vacant positions with ease. For example, you can start by researching how other companies in the market are doing it, and then customize accordingly based on what works for you. Speak to experts in this field etc.   

Lack Of An Integrated Systematic Approach

Lack of an integrated systematic approach within your organisation affects how you handle succession planning because you cannot track where you need to focus or not. Developing an integrated systematic approach enables you to check your plan’s progress.

Failure To Identify Potential Talent

Lack of a tangible plan affects the process to identify potential talent within your organisation because you failed to plan properly thus a ripple effect on other processes. Identify talent with leadership potential then look at critical roles to match them with. Your succession plan should be targeted at leveraging these two aspects.

Failure To Commit To A Succession Plan

Having a succession plan is one aspect but adhering to it is where most companies fail to get it right. You may have an impeccably detailed plan on paper and still fail to get succession management right; because you are not executing it effectively. In order to ensure that your execution is aligned with the plan, commit to regular reviews of your succession plan, update it should any changes occur and communicate it to relevant stakeholders. You can also reinforce it through other avenues such as  performance management, training and development.


Final Thoughts On Succession Planning

To avoid business interruptions within your organisation during a critical time, you need to start preparing today by incorporating succession planning into your human resource strategy. Schedule regular follow-ups, keep reviewing your plan and make it work for you.  


How is your company managing succession planning? We would be glad to hear your insights in the comment section.

How To Manage Non-Performers

Performance is undoubtedly a critical factor in the workplace for all employees irrespective of their job level or position in the company. How performance is managed affects productivity and business growth; and the success of your business depends on the performance of your employees.  As a manager, performance management forms a huge part of your job; however, managing non-performers can be a challenge, especially when their under-performance persists.


Non-performers are employees whose performance is lacking. It can be traced through their behaviour and performance history in the organisation.

In today’s competitive business market, you cannot be reluctant on non-performing employees as this could have severe consequences on your business and even normalise under-performance in your company.

What You Need To Ask About Non-Performers Within Your Organisation

The age-old issue of non-performers needs to be looked at differently. The reality is that a person’s CV becomes outdated within 3 months of them joining your organisation – so you need to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you know enough about your current staff?
  2. For those that have been with the organisation – are they now feeling “stuck”’ within the same role that they have performed for year upon year?
  3. Are you doing enough to keep staff engaged?
  4. When last did you run a company engagement survey?


Underlying Reasons Why Employees Underperform

There are many reasons for non-performance, and more often than not, people are underperforming because they feel the lack of reward and recognition for what they are doing. It could also be that they do not understand the bigger strategic picture of the organisation so they feel disconnected from its core.


If you believe you have real non-performers, ask the questions above to be able to address them effectively. Perhaps start by asking your staff if they feel connected.  Do they have a voice? Are they on the same ’’boat’’ regarding the strategic intent of the company – what do they want?

How To Handle Non-Performers

Once you have identified the cause of your employees’ non-performance, apply measures to deal with the problem. Here are some techniques you can use to handle non-performers.   


  • Assess employee’s performance behaviour, identify areas that need improvement and provide training accordingly.
  • Communication and feedback on where they need to improve are vital. Refrain from generic feedback, customize the solution to solve the problem – be clear and specific.
  • Sometimes a non-performer needs to be mentored or coached or upskilled. Have a conversation with them – don’t avoid it.  By engaging first – you may be able to turn a non-performer into a top performing staff member.
  • Keep tracking their performance. When poor performance is not addressed for a long period, it can turn into a major issue so regular tracking helps you to look out for areas that need improvement and you can address them sooner than later.


Final Thoughts On How To Manage Non-Performers


It is key to have a regular transparent feedback system and stay eagle-eyed at all times. You should not wait for the scheduled company performance reviews as the issue might require urgent attention, and failure to do deal with it efficiently may affect your business. Having regular checks and addressing them immediately will help you understand, and look at managing non-performers not as a challenge but as an opportunity to coach, mentor and develop your employees.


What mechanisms are you using to manage non-performing employees within your organisation? Share with us in the comment section.

Comprehensive Ways To Ensure Effective Training And Development

Training and development are fundamental for both your employees and organisation as they impact performance and growth. It is one of the most effective and practical ways of investing in your employees; and if done correctly, it leads to employee empowerment, employee engagement, and high employee retention to name a few.

Training refers to the process designed to acquire knowledge, enhance skills and improve performance. It can be done in numerous ways such as the traditional classroom style or in a more experimental form and virtually.

Development is described by Allen Comm as more expansive and focuses on employee growth and future performance, rather than an immediate job role.

It is crucial for your training and development to have context, and be aligned with where your employees are lacking, or where they need to upgrade their skill set. It should either address a performance gap or expand their knowledge and better their skills.


Effective Skills Training & Development Methods

To improve effectiveness in your employees and your organization, always remember that how you execute training and development matters.  Let us take a look at training and development methods to learn how to use them effectively.

Experimentational Learning

Experimenting as a form of learning allows for mistakes and improvement without affecting performance.  For example, if you are a technology company, experimenting, and testing products before they’re released into the job market is an experimental learning exercise, and can be used to better understand how your product works, whether it’s user-centric or not and how to improve it.

A research report about millennials in the workplace by ROAM Jobs consisting of BrighterMonday (East Africa) and Jobberman (West Africa) portals, found that most millennials prefer experimentational learning as a medium of training.

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is a medium that involves more than one individual in the process of acquiring knowledge. It is effective as it enables your employees to be more engaged and interactive as they share ideas and maximise on each other’s skills.


Mentoring is a process where employees with more experience and knowledge share their expertise and guidance with less experienced employees in the form of structured advice. It involves advising, guiding, supporting and teaching. An effective mentoring program is invaluable as it allows employees to share knowledge and skills which helps foster career growth. For example, you can use mentorship programs within your organization where you pair experienced employees with junior staff on a continuous basis like monthly or bi-monthly.



Employee coaching is a scheduled process that comprises of on-going sessions with a focus on your employees’ strengths and performance. Coaching plays a pivotal role in maximizing employee potential because it empowers them to be the best performers they can be through transparent feedback mechanisms that inform employees’ of their contribution to the company. This in turn helps to inspire and motivate them to acquire knowledge, polish their skills and improve their performance.

Final Thoughts On Effective Training & Development

Training and development should not be a mere buzz phrase in your organization but an on-going process hence how you execute it is crucial. A comprehensive skills development plan as part of your strategy is imperative in ensuring that effective methods are used to empower your employees with new knowledge, skills, and overall development.


What effective ways is your organisation using to manage training and development? Tell us in the comment section below.




Employee Development: Are You Investing In Your Staff?

Employees are your most valuable resource, and investing in your talent is crucial for sustainable business growth and success. Without your talent, even the most sought after modern technology would not function. This is why it is essential to invest in them.  Your employees’ contribution reflects on the failure or success of your organisation.

Employee development is a process that enables employees to acquire knowledge and enhance their skills.  It can be conducted in the form of online courses, feedback sessions, fellowships, mentoring and coaching, workshops among others. Employee development builds employee morale, potential and drives performance.

In order for employee development to work effectively, it needs to be a continuous process within your organisation, and generally part of your company culture.  

Your Staff Are Your Biggest Asset

On any given day, your staff remains your biggest asset. In order to grow your staff’s capabilities and skills, you need to invest in them.

One CFO once asked the CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us? The CEO responded: “what happens if we don’t and they stay?’’

Your biggest monthly expense in any company is the cost of staff. If you owned an asset, equal to the salary bill monthly – you would most certainly keep that asset painted, serviced, etc – yet why is the development of staff seen differently? The answer most HR professionals give is,  “we are not sure what to spend our money on – we also need to see a return on the investment we put into our staff’’ – and this is the conundrum most employers face when they talk about developing our staff.


What You Need To Understand

  • You first need to understand what needs to be developed. Holding one-on-one meetings or surveys to understand where your employees are lacking is a great start as opposed to waiting for performance reviews.   
  • Do you actually have a clear view of this? Once you receive feedback from your employees, identify and prioritise what needs to be addressed.
  • Do you actually know the impact it would have on your business if your employees’ skills are lacking? Understanding the impact allows you to draw up a tailor-made plan to address the problem.

Understanding and unpacking these elements gives you an overview of what you need to look at first.

Final Thoughts On Employee Development

Employee development is a continuous process. Think of it as a lifestyle or culture within your organisation; this is why you should create a development-friendly environment that encourages your staff to continue developing their skills.


What are you doing to invest in your employees’ development? We would like to hear from you.  

Growth Culture vs Performance-Obsessed Culture: Which One Is Ideal?

Recently on our reading desk, we found an informative piece of work by the Harvard Business Review about growth culture vs performance-obsessed culture; proposing that it is essential to create a growth culture, not a performance-obsessed one – and we couldn’t agree more.

Growth Leadership Network describes growth culture as one where each interaction and every moment is seen as an opportunity for presence, learning, contribution and excellence.

Performance-obsessed culture focuses on high performance, business goals, ratings and results. It is all about the outcome and less attention to the process of how people get to perform.

However, a serious issue that continues to plague the workplace is the obsession with performance and this often subdues your growth culture. You need your employees to perform but what measures have you put in place to ensure that they grow as expected? Let us take a look at growth culture vs performance-obsessed to learn which may be ideal for your organisation.


Why Performance Culture May Not Be Ideal

Creating a performance-obsessed culture may not be the best option as it is neither healthy nor sustainable.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a true growth culture focuses on deeper issues connected to how people feel, and how they behave as a result. HBR further adds that such an environment allows people to build their capacity to see through blind spots; acknowledge insecurities and shortcomings rather than unconsciously acting them out; and spend less energy defending their personal value so they have more energy available to create external value.

For any culture to thrive, there ought to be underlying factors that enable it to materialize effectively. The same goes for growth culture. HBR identifies four components of growth culture and emphasizes that building a growth culture requires a blend of individual and organizational components such as:

  • An environment that feels safe,  where leaders take responsibility for their shortcomings.
  • Dedicated focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity and transparency.
  • Time-limited manageable experiments with new behaviors.
  • Continuous feedback across the organization through shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.

What Culture Should Your Organisation Focus On?

You should strive to have a growth-oriented culture as the foundation of your organisation.

A well developed growth culture fosters a conducive environment that allows every employee regardless of their job level to flourish, which in turn drives performance.  Growth and performance should not be mutually exclusive. They work simultaneously when well-balanced.

How is your organization managing growth culture?

© 2022 TATC Africa. All rights reserved