The 5 Worst Interview Questions

When it comes to interview questions, they aren’t all created equal. Some allow the candidates to reveal critical information about themselves while others are fairly ineffective approaches when you need to assess a job seeker’s capabilities.

An effective interview allows hiring managers to discover important details about a candidate’s skills, experience, and personality, making it easier to determine whether the job seeker might be a great fit for a role. By eliminating certain questions, you create more time for those that will actually make a difference.

If you aren’t sure which ones to cut, here are the five worst interview questions and why you should reconsider using them.

1. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

In most cases, candidates know this question is coming. This means they spend time crafting an answer that showcases them in the best light, and not necessarily one that actually discusses their genuine shortcomings.

The vast majority of job seeker answers are going to be canned, vague or otherwise only slightly revealing. While additional follow up may allow you to derive more value from their response, the question itself isn’t always helpful on its own.

2. Tell Me About Yourself

This prompt is typically used as an icebreaker, allowing candidates to provide a short summary of what they have to offer. However, since it is an incredibly vague question, it might not be particularly useful.

Instead of asking something so general, consider replacing it with a question that actually helps you assess whether they are a good fit for the role. Ask them how they relate to the company’s industry or something else more pertinent if you want to make the most of your interview time.

3. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Since this question is also highly anticipated, most candidates have an answer based on what they think hiring managers want to hear. For example, they may express they want to stay with their next employer that long, even if that doesn’t genuinely reflect their goals.

Another issue with the question is no one knows what life will toss their way, so most job seekers don’t really have a definitive idea of where they will be in five years. If you want hints about longevity, look at their work history to gauge their potential. If you want to measure their aspiration, ask what kind of professional development opportunities may intrigue them. Unless you can ask something more specific, this is a question that may be better left unasked.

4. What Is Your Current Salary?

First and foremost, this question is actually illegal in some states now, so asking it can land your company in the hot seat. Second, most candidates aren’t going to provide you with a straight answer, especially in early interview stages.

If you simply must learn something about their salary expectations, consider seeing if they will provide their desired salary range. However, don’t be surprised if the candidate still resists, delaying their response until further into the hiring process.

5. Why Should We Hire You?

In most cases, this question doesn’t actually add anything meaningful to the conversation. Instead, you’re going to get a canned and thoroughly rehearsed response that reflects them in the best light.

Additionally, in very few cases will this question separate the top candidates from anyone else, making it largely a waste of everyone’s time.

By rethinking using the interview questions above and selecting replacements that actually speak to facets of the role, you’ll be better equipped to identify the best candidate for the job. If you are interested in learning more, the team at CPS Recruitment can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced and knowledgeable staff members today and see how our interviewing expertise can benefit you.

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