4 Clichéd Questions You Need to Stop Asking in Interviews

by Chris Rhatigan on Aug 5, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Cliched interview questionsYou want to find the absolute right person for the job. Someone that fits your organizational culture and will stay with the company in the long term. It’s difficult to find the exact right questions to ask. You’re looking to go beyond the surface level and get a better idea of each candidate’s personality.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into established patterns. Asking clichéd interview questions will tell you nothing useful about a candidate. Here are some frequently asked questions that you should nix from your recruitment strategies:

01. Tell me about your background

You demonstrate that you haven’t done your research by asking this question. If you’ve read the candidate’s resume and cover letter, you know what their background is. If you haven’t, then why are you interviewing them? You’re liable to immediately turn off a potential candidate who thinks that you aren’t taking them seriously.

02. Why do you want this job?

paycheck.gifSOURCE: giphy.com

This question makes sense from the perspective that you want someone who is a good fit for your company, as it gets directly at the candidate’s motivation. However, a candidate whose motivation is that they’re unemployed and need a steady paycheck might be the best fit. Try not to put the candidate in a situation where you’re encouraging them to be dishonest.

Instead, ask specific questions about the candidate’s prior experience. Find out how they’ve dealt with challenges in the past and how they’d deal with challenges in your organization.

03. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is a very difficult question for a candidate to answer. The fact they’re at a job interview means they’re at a crossroads — things could be very different in the immediate future if they get the job. The candidate can only provide vague platitudes about where they’ll be in five years, so don’t waste your or their time.

04. What is your greatest weakness?

Just like question two, this is almost begging the candidate to lie. Everyone knows the trick for this one — dress up a weakness so it looks like a strength. “My greatest weakness is that I work too hard and I care too much.” Does anyone buy this?

Look for more specific ways to address a candidate’s weaknesses. If the candidate hasn’t held a job for more than six months in a row, ask them about that.

Finding the right people for your organization is tough. Staying focused on the objective — whether the candidate is able and willing to do the job and whether they’re a good fit with your company’s values — is crucial to hiring an excellent team. TINYpulse



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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.