Why You Should Stay Away from Generic Interview Questions
Generic interview questions have no place in smart hiring processes because they are so predictable that anyone can come up with answers. Furthermore, the answers are often so cliché or rehearsed as to be meaningless. Instead, the trick is to ask questions that aim to demonstrate a job candidate’s ingenuity. Take the time to review your hiring processes and update them so that you avoid asking generic questions.
Examples of generic questions to avoid:
1. Tell me about a situation in which you worked in a team.
The aim with this question is to analyze a person’s ability to work with other people and your appreciation of goals or targets.
An initiative-based question goes more like: “If you led a team here, how would you handle it?”
2. What are your best strengths and weaknesses?
Bypass this question because the canned answers mean you get nothing of value. Plus, the answer all but calls for elaboration, if not outright lying.
A better way to approach this issue is to ask: “How would your greatest rival describe you?”
3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is a question to which there seems to be no right answer. The candidates usually do not know your company well enough yet to venture even a competent guess, and if they reply honestly, like they plan to be working elsewhere, they feel like their chances of getting hired implode.
A better question to ask is: “When you retire, what would your ideal job title be?”
4. “Why do you want this job?”
This question is good in that it allows a job candidate to show his knowledge of your company and of the position. However, the question is still too vague.
Rephrase it to something more like: “What is it about our business and the position that made you apply?” This version significantly narrows the scope of the question while keeping intact the spirit and intent of the question.
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