The 5 Common Questions You Shouldn’t Be Asking an Applicant
1. Why are you interested in working here?
Instead, say something like: “I would enjoy hearing about what you might like to do here.” This statement is more practical and relevant. “Why are you interested in working here?” is more likely to bring up stock answers, while the alternative forces the candidate to think and prove her value.
2. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
As an alternative to this, ask something along these lines: “What is a challenge you had at a previous job, and how did you successfully solve it? What is a challenge you were perhaps not as successful in, and what/how did you learn from it?”
The strengths and weaknesses question has become trite and clichéd. Answers are often generalized to fit any company, but you need to know if this person is a good fit for YOUR company. Asking candidates to pinpoint and explain specific challenges does the job.
3. What makes you want to do well?
You should instead ask: “What would you need in this job to be successful?” This alternative question gives you an idea of how the employee might interact with others and whether her expectations are in line or unrealistic.
4. What were your previous jobs like?
Most probably, the applicant’s resume and cover letter has answered this question. Instead, ask: “We have X project going on right now, but we are having issues because of YZ. If you were to jump in the middle of the project, how would you resolve these issues?”
5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Instead, ask: “Where do you see the company in five years?” This question still lets the candidate prove she has done her research and gives you insight in her opinion of the company and what value she can bring.
If you find that you have more than a few of the above questions, then it may not just be interview process that is out of date; your general hiring process may be as well.
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