In April, we asked our readers to pick the least helpful interview questions and with 40% of the votes, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” was the top choice followed by “What is your greatest strength/weakness?” in second with 24%. The rest of the results came in as follows:
- Can you walk me through your resume? – 17%
- Why do you want to work for this company? – 10%
- Can you tell me a little about yourself? – 9%
Another 1% of respondents chose the “Other” option and submitted their own cliché interview questions, including:
- If you were an animal, which animal would it be?
- Why are you more qualified than others?
- What are your hobbies?
- Are there any companies you DON’T want to work for?
Cliché questions aren’t necessarily a bad thing
The purpose of the poll wasn’t necessarily to say these questions are completely meaningless, but rather to point out that it’s important to carefully consider the type of questions you ask job candidates during interviews.
Experienced interviewees prepare for many of these standard questions, so their answers can sound like they’re reciting well-polished, memorized lines. Such answers may not give you genuine insight into their true character or tell you whether or not they are the right fit for the job.
In addition to the cliché questions, it’s important to ask questions that are more specific to the type of behaviors or performance you expect from a new hire. Challenge them a little and force them to think on their feet about how they would handle certain situations that may arise in their new position.
And don’t forget to ask questions that help you assess whether or not a job candidate will be a good cultural fit for your company. In some cases, the most qualified person for the job in regard to skills and experience might not mesh well with your culture. So, there’s a stronger chance they will leave, forcing you to start the hiring process from the beginning once again.
Turnover is costly, so the more real-world insight you can extract from a job candidate, the better chance you’ll have at hiring someone who will be a true asset to your company.
What are some of your favorite interview questions to ask? What kind of answers do you look for? Let us know in the comments section below.
How do you respond to new and/or unexpected learning opportunities?
How do you respond to challenges thrust upon you (not chosen)?
What would prompt you to request (or decline) a new challenge?
How do you best learn and retain new information?
What steps do you take when you know you need assistance?
What types of communication styles/formats work well for you?
How do you come to understand and adapt to the communication and behavior styles of new managers and co-workers?
These can apply to work and non-work life, be similar or different in response, are open ended, not “yes/no” questions. I request example(s) to the question(s) asked.