Whether professionally trained as a hiring manager or not, employers know there are fairly standard interview questions to ask, and some to steer clear from completely (i.e. the illegal ones – those regarding age, disability, religion, etc.). But there are also some interview questions still frequently asked today that won’t do you any favors with your candidates. Here are some interview questions you should consider retiring if you are currently using them.
1. What is your greatest weakness?
I’m always personally perplexed by this question, as it is difficult to answer well and often trips candidates up. What’s more than that, it often doesn’t tell you anything very valuable about the candidate. Usually, it’s a common interview question that is practiced by candidates beforehand to turn their weakness into a strength. Instead of receiving a canned and possibly not even genuine answer, try asking a behavioral-based interview question or a competency question that will give you better insight about the candidate.
2. I have several interested candidates; why should I hire you?
This creates unneeded competition for your candidate. They’re already likely aware that you have other candidates interested. It also will make you sound like you’re bragging. You should be able to tell everything you need to know about your candidate through other less intimidating questions. Rather, try just asking, “Why should I hire you?” or “Based on what you know about us, how do you think you would be a good fit at this organization?”
3. What didn’t you like about your previous job?
Don’t encourage your candidate to bad-mouth their previous employer or workplace. They’ll likely feel uncomfortable as well. If you’re curious why they are changing positions, try asking, “What are you looking for in this role?”
4. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is a bad, overrated interview question, because candidates will normally only tell you what they think you’ll want to hear anyway: “I see myself here!” Let’s be honest, candidates can tell you where they hope to be in five years, but no one really knows. If you’re curious about whether they plan to stay with your organization, just be upfront about it: “We are looking for someone to remain in this position long-term.” Curious about their desire to advance with your organization? Just ask! “Are advancement opportunities intriguing to you?” Or see if they will ask about it when it’s their turn to ask questions.
If you’re not sure if you have a solid list of interview questions, just ask yourself: what do I really want to know about my candidates? You’ll find that sometimes being blunt is best, and other times, behavior-based questions will reveal what you really want to know anyway.