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Candidate's answer during an interview disqualifies them. Is it unprofessional to immediately inform them of this?

Interviews General Queries
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Jai Khanna

User

( 7 months ago )

 

As a senior software developer (based in the UK), my manager has me conduct interviews for junior developers alongside either himself or another senior developer. For the most part, he gives us a free rein to ask whatever questions we want to help judge a candidate's skills and personality. He has however provided a few questions for us that if the candidate gives us a "wrong answer", we cannot recommend them for a second interview, even if their strengths in other areas vastly outweigh these "wrong answers". This is the manager's decision and for now, I have to assume I cannot change his mind on being flexible with this process.

Some of these are obvious and can be answered from CVs or cover letters, such as "Are you planning any really long trips abroad in the next few months?". Others I personally feel should not instantly disqualify a candidate, such as "Do you write any blogs or do programming outside of work?", but that's another topic. Regardless of how well they impress us in other aspects, if they give a single answer the manager won't like, we aren't allowed to proceed them to the next stage. We have to just continue the interview as normal and inform them later that we have decided not to continue with their application.

Many candidates have to make special preparations to come meet us, such as sneaking away during a long lunch break or getting out of the office early. As I have been in their situation many times before, I would feel guilty about taking up more of their time than necessary, as well as leaving them waiting for a decision that has effectively already been made. On the other hand, I fear some may not react well to being told this so quickly.

My question is: would it be unprofessional to inform a candidate during the interview that we won't be able to give them further consideration?

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Alice Davidson

User

( 7 months ago )

First off, if a question or two is so critical, it should be asked before an interview is scheduled.

Candidate's answer during an interview disqualifies them. Is it unprofessional to immediately inform them of this?
Would it be unprofessional to inform a candidate during the interview that we won't be able to give them further consideration?

Is it unprofessional? That will depend on how you do it more so than what you do. It would be unprofessional to have them fall through a trap door or to start shouting at them to get #*@% out, but to inform them plainly that they do not meet the job requirements and that keeping them would be a disingenuous waste of their time would be professional though maybe not what they want to hear.

Digression: You may not want to inform them immediately since that would essentially give them a partial "answer key" that they could pass on to others. It would be better to ask a few questions to wind down the interview, keeping it shorter than usual, but not giving away that a particular question sank their chances.

Many candidates have to make special preparations to come meet us, such as sneaking away during a long lunch break or getting out of the office early.

I think that this underscores why perhaps you should end early, they may be taking a risk to interview and if they cannot gain employment then it cannot be worth the risk.

Candidate's answer during an interview disqualifies them. Is it unprofessional to immediately inform them of this?

Another digression (for completeness): Questions like "Are you planning any really long trips abroad in the next few months?", or Do you write any blogs or do programming outside of work?" may be foolish as disqualifying, but permissible. However if the questions that would disqualify were more along the lines of "do you plan on having children?" or "what year were you born?" then that would not only be unprofessional, but illegal and you would probably be getting an interview yourself with the relevant labor departments.

what's your interest


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