Job Interviews

How to conduct fair job interviews to get the right candidate for your job.

What Is a Fair Job Interview

Fair job interviews focus on merit-based and non-discriminatory interview processes and questions.

Why It Matters

Holding a fair interviewing process and asking fair questions can help you:

  • Get the right candidate for the job.
  • Ensure there is no bias in the process.
  • Be open about specific requirements, such as the need for overseas travel.
  • Position your organisation as a forward-thinking, progressive employer.
Note: Interviewees can report unfair or discriminatory interview processes to TAFEP.

What You Must Do to Be Fair

The following Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (job interviews) state what you must do as an employer:

  • Create a list of selection criteria and apply this consistently for all candidates.
  • Create a list of interview questions that are directly related to the selection criteria. You may refer to TAFEP's list of non-discriminatory interview questions for more guidance.
  • Create a proper record of the interview, assessment process and job offer made, and keep these documents for at least one year.
  • Avoid asking discriminatory questions. If you must ask questions that may be perceived as discriminatory, explain these reasons to your interviewee.
  • Be transparent on your job requirements. For example, you should inform your interviewee if the job has irregular working hours or requires frequent overseas travel.
  • If you require a specific dress code, bring up the request in a clear and sensitive manner.
  • If you are unable to accommodate religious practices due to operational reasons, share your concerns in a clear and sensitive manner.
  • If tests are to be used for selection purposes, ensure that they are related to the job requirements, and review them regularly for relevance and bias in content or scoring.

For example, for the job of a Project Manager:

You can ask You should not ask
  • How did you handle some of your past projects?
  • How did you contribute to the outcomes achieved?
  • Why do you think you are suitable for this position?
  • How old are you?
  • What is your race and religion?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you planning to have children soon?
  • Do you have any disabilities?
 

Tripartite Guidelines

Refer to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices to ensure that you abide by the guidelines on all the relevant practices.

How to Be Progressive

Here are some progressive employment practices you can consider. These are based on the Tripartite Standard on Recruitment Practices, which you can adopt to distinguish your organisation.

Train Hiring Staff to Conduct Fair Interviews

Encourage hiring managers and staff who have recruitment responsibilities to attend on-the-job training, workshops, courses, or briefing sessions on how to conduct fair interviews.

The training should cover:

  • The Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.
  • Common pitfalls in interviews (e.g., stereotyping and making non-job related comments).
  • Interview and selection procedures (e.g., how to develop and use objective criteria; the importance of using the same criteria consistently; and how to rate and rank candidates for selection objectively).

You may approach TAFEP or the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) for workshops on how to conduct fair and unbiased interviews.

Use an Evaluation Form to Remember Your Interviewees

To minimise bias, use an interview evaluation form instead of photographs to remember your interviewees. This would allow you to document their strengths and weaknesses more effectively. If possible, try to have more than one interviewer in every interview.

Download a sample interview evaluation form (Word document).

You can prevent misunderstanding and disputes by keeping a proper record of the interview, assessment process, test (if any) and job offer made for at least one year.

Manage Expectations on Salary and Communications

Be open and discuss the interviewee's career aspirations and salary expectations during the interview. It will give you an opportunity to clarify or negotiate the terms.

As a courtesy, you should also inform candidate on how the interview results would be communicated, and inform them, even if they are unsuccessful.

For more information on these practices: