Tired job interview questions that you should avoid

Job interviews are the centerpiece of any recruiting effort. Nothing can replace face-to-face interaction when it comes to getting a feel for prospective employees, how they will fit in to your company, and whether or not they will bring the level of productivity to the position.

And while being on the receiving end of a job interview can be one of the more stressful undertakings for a searching professional, they’re no cakewalk for the employer either. Coming up with the right questions to pose to your interviewees — ones that will elicit informative and truthful responses, without veering into inappropriate or clichéd territory — can be like walking a tightrope. So what are some questions you should steer clear from when interviewing someone?

Jeff Haden of Inc.com and Alison Green of US News list some of the worst in recent pieces, and possible alternatives that could garner the kinds of responses you’re looking for:

  • “What is your biggest weakness?”: This is one of the most overused queries, so much so that those being interviewed will almost inevitably have a tailored reaction that’s so rehearsed that it lacks anything genuine. Haden instead suggests that you ask when the last time candidates experienced conflict in their workplace, which will force them to them to recount something that actually happened.
  • “Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?”: This is just begging for buzzwords like “commitment, desire, passion,” and so on. If you want to learn something of substance, tell them they can amend an answer to a previous question if they’d like, and see how they fare.
  • “So, what’s your background?”: “Interviewers shouldn’t need to ask this question, because they should have reviewed the candidate’s résumé before the interview,” says Green. Having a good sense of the potential hire’s previous exploits, and demonstrating that, will instill confidence in the interviewee and lead to a better overall experience.

Thinking about these things takes time, something that HR software systems can grant you through automation of administrative tasks. Give us a call at HR Software Solutions to learn more about how those systems can help you.

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