Interview questions: be remembered for the right reasons

Katie Barillaro
By: Katie Barillaro
Categories: Discrimination Interviews Recruitment

There are many common questions that are asked at interviews:

  • “Tell me about yourself…”
  • “What are your strengths?”
  • “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

I’m sure you’ve all heard them and used them. But what about the interview questions that really get you thinking… We asked our community of mums what were the best and worst interview questions that they’ve ever heard or used and there were some surprising results. Firstly, people seem to remember bad interview questions more than they do good ones. And it can really do damage to you, and your organisation’s reputation in the market if you ask discriminatory or unnecessary questions in an interview.

Let’s start with the worst questions our mums have heard:

Who is going to look after your son if you get the job?”
“What are your plans for having a family?”
“Are you married?”
“What’s your religion?”
“We work really long hours here; do you think you can handle that?”
“We don’t take lunch breaks, is that an issue for you?”
“Do you like to have a drink? It’s social here…!”
“How often do your kids get sick?”
“I don’t have a job for you, but would you like to go out on a date?”

As you can see, most of these questions that have been put to our mums at interview are downright discriminatory. You should NEVER be asked about your personal circumstances around family, religion, age, gender or race. You should certainly not be asked how you are going to fit the job around your family, unless of course it is framed in a more positive question around flexibility.

Unfortunately, our list of the best questions our mums have heard is a lot shorter, but there are a couple of great ones:

“If you were successful, what can we do as an employer to make your job better?”
“What work days/hours suit you and your family’s needs?”

These are absolutely the kind of questions that we’d all want to hear in an interview. It shows that the employer thinks about their employees as people and wants to do what they can for them to succeed (and in turn for the company to be successful).

We’ve thought of a few more questions that you can add to your good list for interviews:

“What attracted you to this role?”
“What excites you most about this position?”
“What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?”
“What kind of work environment do you like best?”
“What has worked well for you in previous positions in terms of flexibility?”
“Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?”
“If you got the job, what is the first thing you would tackle in this position?”
“What one skill would you like to improve and what’s your plan for doing so?”
“What questions do you have for me?”
and last but not least… “How can we ensure that we’re supporting you as a working mum?”

For further advice on interviewing, contact our experienced team via our website.


Katie Barillaro
About Katie Barillaro
Katie joined JustMums in July 2018 as our Marketing Consultant and brings more than 20 years traditional and digital marketing experience to the team. Katie has previously worked for large recruitment brands and is a busy working mother balancing career and family.

More from Katie Barillaro