An article written by Vanessa Pepper – Director at Gravan Business Solutions.

Connect with her on LinkedIn

So, I’ve been asking myself this question over and over and over again…People want to know the truth. They want the answers, but no one wants to (or has the guts to) ask the questions that will get them to the answers that they desperately seek.

What is it that people are so scared of? I’m not sure, but I think if I were to take a wild guess, people, in general, are scared of finding out the truth, or rather, what to do with the truth when they find it.

In my profession, recruiting has become a game where if I am not careful, I become the bull’s eye in someone’s target practice. Recruiting is an industry where you pretty much hold the key to a person getting the job or not.

I encourage my candidates to be totally honest and not to lie about anything. I would rather be told the truth instead of having to find out later on that I was lied to. With that being said, one cannot really know anyone fully. Instead, we have to base our decisions on trust and believe that we have been given the whole truth and nothing but.

There are some things that we, as recruiters, or as possible employers want to know, but if we ask the questions, we are entangled in ugly legalities.

Some of the questions that I would love to ask (because of previous experience with candidates who haven’t been completely honest) are things like:

  • Are you pregnant? – Yes, that’s right, you cannot ask this question because, (a), it’s illegal and (b), if the woman isn’t pregnant, you’re insulting her and calling her fat. Some woman don’t like to disclose this as they feel that it will be the deciding factor between getting the job or not, but I personally feel that it should be disclosed so that the potential employer doesn’t think that woman just wants maternity leave or whatever logic goes behind the thinking of non-disclosure. This speaks volumes when it comes to the question of honesty and integrity.
  • Are you addicted to any illegal substances? – If you can’t smell alcohol or have actual evidence, again, you cannot ask, and I doubt that many people who are addicted to anything will have the honesty to tell you if they are.
  • Do you have any mental health or other health issues that could hinder your working abilities? – For me, this is a very invasive question to ask the candidate as their state of mind or health in general shouldn’t have too much bearing on a job. Employers (Generally speaking) however, are worried that they will take too much time off from work or impact other staff members negatively. I would prefer again, that candidates disclose their health in confidentiality to their boss as a precaution, so should anything happen, you know what you are dealing with.
  • Do you have a history of theft? – People want to ask, but no body ever does. Understandably, this is rather forward and can be rude as the candidate might feel that you don’t think that you are trustworthy.

My list of questions could go on, but in all honesty, an Employer just wants to know what they are getting before they get it. Gone are the days where you could get a job based on the will to work..