"How Is This Relevant?" — Job Interviewer Asks Malaysian What Race She Mixes With The Most
Arguably one of the most taxing parts of the job-searching process is the interview portion, where candidates battle it out to give the best answers to the hiring manager(s) in pursuit of a role
Nevertheless, are there some questions that are strictly inappropriate, and shouldn't be considered "normal" or suitable to be asked?
In a conversation with this writer, SAYS reader Monica shared a story about a job interview she recently attended for an administrative role at an eye-specialist organisation.
Completely taken aback by the questions that soon came her way, Monica, who is Malaysian-Indian, revealed that a few of those questions were awfully unfitting for any person who was merely applying for the role at said company.
Beginning the conversation, Monica disclosed to SAYS that she had been searching for a job for a while now, and recently came across a role she felt would be suitable for the time being
"I studied mass communication for my undergraduate degree and I've been looking for a job for a while now. So, I applied for this administrative role and they were asking me pretty regular questions at first," said Monica to this SAYS writer.
Revealing that the company is an eye-specialist organisation, she continued by stating that they had asked her questions such as what she thought about their company and the role at hand.
However, one of the questions that caught Monica off guard came around the middle of the interview, when the interviewer simply asked, "Which ethnicity and racial group do you mingle with the most?"
Initially stunned, Monica proceeded to ask the interviewer to repeat the question, assuming that she may have heard the query incorrectly — to which she didn't
The interviewer proceeded to ask Monica the same question once more: Which racial group do you mingle with the most?
"In my head, I was like, what the hell? Why would they ask me that question and how is that relevant to this job?" she added.
Attempting to gauge the question fairly and answer it in respect to the job, Monica told the interviewer that since the role was for an administrative position, she would interact with people regardless of their race or ethnicity, as that is what the job would entail.
Despite remaining calm and unbothered by the question, Monica stated that while a couple more questions came her way, this was enough to seal the deal in her books of not wanting to take the job.
"After that, they asked me whether I'd be likely to leave the job if I were to land something else closer to my field of study. It was a perfectly fine question to ask, but the follow up queries to my response felt very intrusive."
In response to their question, Monica stated that while she would definitely keep an open mind to the role if she were to discover other careers, an offer in her field of study would not bring an automatic acceptance on her behalf, as she'd need to logically balance this role, too.
"To my surprise, they proceeded to ask me how long I would take to make that decision. I don't know, but the way they were being so picky, it just seemed like they were trying to get an answer out of me for questions that were not fair to ask me as a potential candidate for this role," said Monica.
Once her interview concluded, Monica also stated that when they asked her how long she would need to decide if she were to receive an offer, she had requested anywhere between three to five days to make her decision, to which the company agreed. Despite this, the company proceeded to offer her the role shortly after the interview, and demanded a response from her within 24 hours.
"It seemed strange to me that they asked such invasive questions, and how they looked like they really needed to fill the role as quickly as they could. Something was off and many red flags came up, so I made the decision to turn them down," she added.
In concluding her conversation with SAYS, Monica stated that her hope is for future employers and hiring managers to not ask questions that are not tied to the role at hand
"Honestly, I just think interviewers should ask questions relevant to the job. I mean, who comes to an interview prepared to ask a question like what ethnicity or race of people do I mingle with the most?
"When it comes down to it, there's nothing wrong with interviewing potential employees about their ability when it comes to the role, or anything that may ensue once they start their tenure there — but asking something that does not define how good I am or will be at my job, or how I will face that role, is just wrong," shared Monica.
Do you think it's inappropriate for a job interviewer to ask candidates what race of people they mingle with? Let us know!
On the flip side, this employer claimed that younger employees are selfish and only care about their salaries:
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