The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that more than 4.1 million employees suffer from illness or injury in the workplace each year. Additionally, 12 workers die in accidents and illnesses in the workplace every day. Some employers use safety-related interview questions to determine if a job candidate recognizes the importance of workplace safety or if the candidate poses a risk to the organization.
OSHA estimates that workers’ compensation payments cost employers about one billion dollars per week. Workplace injury also has indirect costs, such as loss of productivity and the cost of training someone to replace the injured employee. Asking security-related questions during an interview can help employers avoid hiring employees who engage in risky behaviors or ignore security policies.
Interviewers regularly ask open-ended questions when addressing candidates for a job on security issues. Open-ended questions encourage candidates to give detailed answers instead of answering “yes” or “no.” Some interviewers also use the STAR approach (situation, task, action and results, by name in English) to interview. This type of question requires candidates to describe specific situations or tasks that they are asked to complete. Then they must explain the actions they took and the results produced by these actions. For example, a candidate can describe a situation when I report to a co-worker for failing to follow safety procedures. Then, I could explain what happened as a result of your report.
Examples of interview questions
Job seekers should prepare for security-related interview questions by reviewing the sample questions and formulating detailed answers. An interviewer can ask candidates if they have had any specific safety training or if they have served on workplace safety committees. Candidates should provide details about the training events they attended and describe what they learned in each one. Some interviewers ask candidates to explain how they followed the safety rules at work. This gives candidates the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of basic security practices.
Candidates should show interest in workplace safety by asking interviewers things related to safety. Ask the interviewer if you will receive any safety training or if there is any danger in the workplace that you should know before being hired. Candidates should also ask about the safety responsibilities involved with the job. If the interviewer takes you on a guided tour of the facilities, ask about the places where the first aid kits and extinguishers are located. These questions help demonstrate your commitment to safety in the workplace.
Security-related questions help interviewers gather information about candidates, but they are not foolproof. Well-prepared candidates can provide excellent answers that do not reflect their true feelings about security policies and training programs. When hiring managers, other tools (such as anti-doping tests before hiring, background checks and checking references) should be used to fully evaluate each candidate. Interviewers should also adhere to federal and state employment laws when asking questions related to accidents and injuries in the workplace an interviewer should never ask candidates if they have submitted workers’ compensation claims or have been damaged in the workplace.