Interview Questions About Political Views - To Ask or Not to Ask!


Interview Questions About Political Views - To Ask or Not to Ask? Intepeople Human Resource Consultants NZ

Interview Questions About Political Views - To Ask or Not to Ask?

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has recently come under fire for asking prospective candidates their opinion on the controversial Ruataniwha Dam.

An unsuccessful candidate has subsequently claimed that his oppositional stance to the dam was a contributing factor in him not securing a role.

I found the whole scenario alarming - it got me thinking about what questions are appropriate when interviewing potential employees. Is it appropriate to ask interview questions about political views?

When planning any interview questions you need to stop and think:

  • Why am I asking this question?
  • What information am I hoping to gather from the answer?
  • What am I going to do with this information?


So what information was the Hawkes Bay Regional Council hoping to gather when they asked for opinions around the dam? And what were they intending to do with the information?

They claim that they were just wanting to find out if candidates had done their “homework”. Well there are lots of ways of finding out if candidates have done their homework that don’t involve probing political views so that sounds a little farfetched.

The Council also vigorously denied that they used the information for vetting candidates. This stance is either quite cunning or very naive. The reality is that as soon as you ask a question you expose yourself to the perception that you are using the information from the response to inform your decision.

What I found most alarming about this line of questioning was the thought that any public sector organisation could potentially be vetting employees on political views. Surely we want the employees in our public sector to represent the diverse and varied community that they work for and for them to work in an environment that encourages debate and critique.

By Emily Coe

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