sushma mathew
Abusing the panel by the candidate during the interview. Is it a punishable offence? If yes, what punishment we can give to them. Is blacklisting possible? Please guide.
From India, Bengaluru
Dinesh Divekar
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Sushma Mathew

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Dinesh Divekar

Dear Sushma Mathew,

The company authorities are empowered to punish the employees who are on the rolls of the company. Since the candidate is not an employee, no action can be taken. However, if you have irrefutable evidence of bad behaviour, then you may lodge a police complaint.

Your recruitment team may blacklist the candidate. However, you cannot circulate the candidate's details so that others also can blacklist him/her. This is because you have given your version. Unless both sides are heard properly, no opinions can be made.

The rude behaviour of the job candidate is unheard of. At least during the job interview, the candidates wear a mask of politeness. If the candidate has gone to the extent of abusing the panel members, then please assess what was the provocation. Why have things come to such a pass? Politeness and professional behaviour is not one-way street. Both sides are expected to demonstrate it. Therefore, also check whether there was a flaw from the interviewers' side as well.

Anyway, I recommend you move on. We should take bad experiences in our stride and not be stuck with them. However, taking precautions to avoid repetition of situations is also professionalism.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Babu Alexander

My feeling is that with an open mind you look / focus on the candidate’s disturbing behaviors, not the individual as a person. That is, don't assume that the person / candidate have bad intentions and he's abusing the system on purpose.
Treat interview like an exact science, and you are disappointed and learn the wrong lessons. An interview is simply two human beings with biases and constraints asking questions and sharing information in an imperfect setting. A rejection in one interview may be because of misjudgment or mis-communication about the real requirements and limitations of the interviewer.
Businesses often fail to clearly communicate the recruiting process to candidates. Many companies might have a candidate turn down a job offer purely out of disappointment with a lengthy recruitment process.
Candidates must focus on establishing a connection with the interviewer rather than simply coming up with compelling answers to likely questions.

From India, Madras

As our senior member, Mr Dinesh suggested, if you have some irrefutable evidence, you may
proceed with a police case. Also like my colleagues opine, please make an analysis regarding
what went wrong, while conducting the interview? Which question of interviewer was able to
provoke the candidate for abusing the panel.

Please consider installing CCTV/ video surveillance in the interview room, as,for any untoward happenings, CCTV footage can be a concrete evidence. Please also deploy one Security guard
outside the room of interview, for security reasons, as, if a candidate coming for interview can abuse the interview board, some other candidate will be able to manhandle the interview panel.

From India, Aizawl

You've already punished him - as I assume you are NOT going to hire him.

Examine your internal processes as the others have said, such actions by a candidate are generally provoked by some sort of issue from the interview panel.

To avoid such things in future, ensure that all staff empowered to serve on interview panels are properly trained, demonstrate appropriate behaviour at all times, and that there is a set procedure for conducting all interviews that everyone must follow. None of this is rocket science, and will assist in protecting the company from claims by aggrieved candidates in future.

From Australia, Melbourne

without any sufficient evidence you cannot reach to a conclusion as i have seen interviewers also behave badly and try to downgrade a candidate either if they have any language issue like English not fluent or interviewer try to downgrade a person who is not technically good and giving incorrect answers so they demean them.
You can check recording if its a online interview mostly nowadays they are recorded. based on that either you can blacklist him from hiring process in organization or email to ask for apology.
other than its not worth the hassle.

From India, Bhopal

Many a times, the panel members ask personal questions, questions unrelated to profession which may cause a candidate to become very rude or violent. I know personally, most of the line managers are NOT trained in the art of interviewing. There are methods, procedures, conventions while interviewing candidates, what kind of questions should be asked and what should not be. I conduct such training for line managers. Even today I conducted a Webinar on How to overcome challenges in Hiring ! Untrained panel members conducting interview is like a cleaner of a truck becoming a driver. By virtue of their experience and qualification, they are given panel member role. HR Department plays a crucial role in training line managers on the Interview process, and in panel member role. One more example, how many times, a panel member picks up a mobile call during an interview, go out and come back after 10 minutes. Till then nobody can move forward with questioning or stay where they are. When we discourage a candidate from using mobile during interview, the same is applicable to panel members also. During interview, panel members should avoid entertaining even team members and colleagues dropping in for minor issues like signatures on vouchers, gate passes etc. Basic objective is that the interview process goes on smoothly, without any hindrance, without digression. It is possible something might have provoked the candidate to become rude. Some panel members, without experience, might have provoked the candidate by asking questions in the name of stress test or interview - how the candidate withstands pressure ! In the absence of any credible evidence, better to ignore and move on. However HR should ask the panel members and go deep into the situation and if panel members were responsible, they should be trained properly. Some managers, do exhibit rude behaviour with their team members. The same people might have provoked the candidate also. Company's brand image is most essential and negative comments by candidates can tarnish the image. Every candidate may become your employee in the future. They are not in your company seeking alms or favour. It is a mutual requirement. Hence, treat the candidate with dignity, avoid provoking by asking too many unrelated personal question so that his good experience will be carried in his mind, even if he is not selected.
From India

At times, the questioner rather than the question has to be answered. It becomes true in interviews when any one of the interviewer behaves in such a manner treating the candidate as if a simpleton. The purpose of any job interview is to ascertain what the candidate knows and his potentiality to perform the job applied for and nothing more. A job seeker will not become rude unless he is provoked with questions affecting his self respect.

A job interview is not a domestic inquiry or a Court proceedings. In the absence of employer-employee relationship, no organization has the locus standi to punish a candidate for his alleged rude behavior in the interview. As Aussiejohn has observed, the organization is not going to hire the said candidate. With this, things are over and let not insult be added to the injury.

From India, Salem

Dear CiteHR member Ms Sushma M.,

It is very kind of our senior moderators/members to impart advice on your query, but at the same time it is painful to observe that you have not extended even a word of thank you to seniors.

2. It is my request to all members, raising a question, to demonstrate courtesy and exhibit thankfulness to the members who devote their time and give appropriate advice.

With due regards to all,
Chandramani Lal Srivastava
Master Consultant
New Delhi/15.05.2022/9 am

From India, New Delhi

Hi Sushma
Before jumping the gun, evaluate the conditions under which the situation went out of hand. Maybe the panel was at fault...?? then? Yes, the company can take action against the culprit member of the panel. However, if the candidate is at fault, it is at best, to politely show him the door, with utmost courtesy (unless he has allegedly committed an offence under the Indian Legal system.

From India, Rohtak

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